University Hosts Public Policy Simulation Competition

Ryan Wolfe Staff Writer

The University recently acted as a host for the 2019 Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration’s annual Student Simulation Competition. The NSPAA has worked alongside the University of Virginia Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy for the past three years to conduct this simulation for graduate students in the area of public service. This was the fifth year of the event. 538 students participated in the event from places near, such as the team of Villanova University Master of Public Administration students, and far, such as Mexico City, Cairo, and Dhaka. The University acted as a host for 40 graduate students from 11 universities. Some of the other universities who Villanova hosted were the University of Pennsylvania, Cornell University, Pennsylvania State University, Bowie State University and West Virginia University. 

The competition tackles policy issues through computer-based simulated gameplay developed by the University of Virginia Batten School’s Center for Leadership Simulation and Gaming. This year’s event was focused on acting as host nations during a refugee crisis. Students took on roles in the simulation such as Prime Minister, Ministers of Health and Human Services or other jobs with specific policy focuses. Students were encouraged to weigh human rights and economic growth versus political resistance and budget restrictions. 

The winner of the competition was determined by “super judges” and awarded $5,000 as a prize. The “super judges” at Villanova’s site were Rebecca Feldmann, JD; Carla Pendino Fall, MPP; Michele Pistone, JD; and Eileen Doherty-Sil.The Villanova University Master of Public Administration team, made up of Nicholas Valla, Morgana Falabella, Toluope Omadara, Tyler Walls and Fatima Rezaei, won the competition at their site, which was held in the St. Augustine Center for Liberal Arts. 

“We are honored that Villanova was selected as a global host site for the 2019 NASPAA-Batten Student Simulation Competition and this year’s topic of global migration couldn’t be more timely or relevant,” Catherine Wilson, Associate Professor of Public Administration and Chair of the Public Administration department, said. “We are looking forward to meeting MPA students from across the region and to observe their negotiation and decision-making skills in action on such an important policy matter.” 

The other hosting sites included the University of San Francisco, the University of Michigan, the United Nations University, the University of Texas at Austin, the American University in Cairo, Rutgers University, North South University, the KDI School of Public Policy, Georgetown University and el Centro De Investigacion y Docencia Economicas Division De Administracion Publica. The teams who won their site will advance to the Global Super Judge Round where they will compete for the 2019 NASPAA-Batten SIM Competition winner.