European Union Crisis Simulation at the Hertie School - Countering the COVID-19 Infodemic

During the weekend of 10th-11th of October, Hertie School students had the chance to participate in a pilot version of a European Crisis Simulation exercise, designed for the The Lusíada Research Center on International Politics and Security (CLIPIS). The main objective of this pilot was to test the functionality of such a simulation, in a controlled environment. Participants had the opportunity to test how decision making processes take place in Brussels and to experience crisis management strategies from the perspectives of the European Commission, European Parliament, European Council and lobbyist groups. The topic for this crisis simulation was the battle against misinformation, disinformation and the spread of fake news by foreign actors in the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and "infodemic."

The event turned out to be a successful focus group and students engaged in insightful discussions with regard to the possible ways in which the European Union could tackle the ongoing infodemic. Of note, the damaging role that Russian actors play in propagating the ongoing infodemic was an important theme that was debated among participants. During the first day of the event, participants provided insightful feedback regarding how the simulation could be improved, this feedback being a critical component for improving the existing mechanisms within the simulation.

During the second day, participants engaged in an insightful and passionate discussion with his Excellency, Ambassador Antonio Martins da Cruz, who shared his robust professional insights with aspiring future shapers of International Affairs. After learning about his professional opinion in regards to how the European Union could tackle the current digital challenges in the context of the coronavirus crisis, participants had the opportunity to ask questions, engage in dialogue and to exchange ideas with the Ambassador regarding how the European Union could better counter the aforementioned challenges.

The design and implementation of this EU Crisis Simulation was led by Hertie School student Letitia Roman (MIA 2021). Her keen insights and motivation were critical to the success of this timely and innovative initiative.

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