Presentations on 'model diplomacy and virtual negotiations' mark the end of IR 4118

After a semester long of intensive collaborative work and virtual online meetings between Bilkent University students and Montclair State University (MSU) students, the IR-4118 course -‘Turkey and United States: Common Concerns and New ICT Instruments’- came to an end on Tuesday 30 April 2013. In the last joint session between Bilkent and MSU, students gave their presentations concluding their second and final course assignment on model diplomacy and virtual negotiations. For this assignment, students were divided into four groups negotiating a solution to two of the most complex contemporary issues: Iran\'s nuclear program, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. At the first stage, students were asked to investigate the topic in depth and write a position paper. The team members then met online with their colleagues in the United States for virtual negotiations using innovative communication technologies (ICT). Under the guidance of the course instructors, Dr Nida Shoughry (Bilkent University) and Dr Zsolt Niyri (MSU), the teams held rigorous negotiations resulting in the signing of two protocol agreements in a symbolic ceremony.

The students reflected on their negotiation experience and on acting as diplomats. They highlighted the difficulties embedded in the negotiating process, however, they hoped that the treaties they signed in this course might inspire real diplomats to pave the way for peace and reconciliation. Students were also satisfied with IR 4118 course experience. Selay Siperoglu, senior IR student, said: \"the course improved our research and communication skills as a result of the joint work we did with MSU students. It was a great experience for us to be part of such a course in which we all worked interactively. We also had a chance to gain new friends from thousands of miles away.\" Yigit Mahmutoglu, third year IR student, said: \"this course was completely different compared to other courses that I have taken before. I would recommend this course to other students if they want to have an unusual experience in which academia and technology merge.\"

By Alp Eren Başer (IR/IV), İlkin Ismayilov (IR/IV), Çağla Kılıç (IR/III), Selay Siperoğlu (IR/IV), Bora Akbay (IR/IV), Yiğit Mahmutoğlu (IR/III), and Pınar Köksal (IR/IV).