Classroom Simulation: Debating the Creation of a UN Parliamentary Assembly


Aims: This simulation lesson gives students the opportunity for active engagement with dialogues on more participatory international institutional development. It should deepen student understanding of existing international organizations and lead them to think more critically about accountability issues in global governance.


Course Applicability: this lesson is well suited for tutorials/quiz sections in large undergraduate lecture courses, or for standard sessions in upper-division courses. It can be used in or adapted for a wide range of courses in International Relations, political theory, political sociology, political economy, human geography, and other fields. Versions of it have been conducted in IR and political theory courses, with very positive student engagement and feedback.


Simulation Design:

a) Students will come into the class session having done the assigned reading on the creation of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (see link below).

b) Students are divided into two groups. Each group represents a team of national lawmakers in a debate on whether the country should support the development of a United Nations parliamentary assembly (Overseas students can be encouraged to take part as national lawmakers, while also being encouraged to share any insights from their own state context).

c) One team takes the Yes position, the other the No position. After the delegates debate the issues, all of the students independently vote on which option they would themselves choose, and votes are tallied and discussed.

d) At the end of the session, students can be invited in class to go online and sign the actual UN Parliamentary Assembly petition, if they choose to do so. They can then discuss why they did or did not do so. This helps to ‘bring home’ the topic for each student and has stimulated thoughtful dialogue in trials of the exercise.


UNPA student instructions

UNPA Readings

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