Lynne Rienner Publishers Logo

International Relations in Action: A World Politics Simulation

Brock F. Tessman
International Relations in Action: A World Politics Simulation
ISBN: 978-1-58826-464-0
ISBN: 978-1-58826-901-0
2006/138 pages/LC: 2006030142
7" x 9" format

"A thoughtful pedagogical tool through which students can become actively involved in the tough decisions and dilemmas that policymakers face today."— Timothy D. Sisk, University of Denver

"International Relations in Action stands out as a successful example of stimulating student curiosity through active learning. I would highly recommend it for any course on international relations."—William Muck, University of Arkansas at Little Rock


This hands-on exercise allows students to relate the concepts and issues at the foundation of global politics to the realities of international politics today.

As influential leaders in the fictional world of Politica, each team of students governs a country with a unique history, geography, and culture. The teams must use strategy and negotiation to succeed and survive seeking to achieve specific territorial, security, and economic objectives. In the process, they grapple with a range of complex challenges: energy security, ethnic conflict, humanitarian intervention, environmental disaster, terrorism, nuclear proliferation, and more. Students also pursue individual objectives based on the governmental post they hold and quickly learn that self-interest and national interest are not always compatible.

Teams are judged on their effectiveness in meeting stated objectives, but must also relate their practical experience to the academic content of the course. Toward this end, the book provides summaries, analysis, study questions, and additional sources of information for each of the theories and issues encountered during the simulation. Guidelines for instructors are also included.

International Relations in Action has been tested in multiple courses of various sizes, with students and instructors unanimously agreeing that it makes abstract theories practical and accessible, evokes an appreciation for the complexity of international politics, and generates enthusiasm for the study of international relations. In the representative words of one student, "It was the best learning experience I've ever had."


Brock F. Tessman is deputy commissioner for academic, research, and student affairs in the Montana University System.


  • Individual and Team Objectives.
  • History and Geography.
  • Resource Factors.
  • Diplomacy.
  • Trade.
  • Conflict.
  • Alliance Politics.
  • Territorial Disputes.
  • Nuclear Proliferation.
  • Ethnic Conflict.
  • Free Trade vs. Protectionism.
  • Natural Resource Politics.
  • Currency Crises.
  • Foreign Aid.
  • Global Security Organizations.
  • International Criminal Courts.
  • Collective Action Problems.
  • Environmental Challenges.
  • Appendix A: A Note to the Instructor.