by Shalva Dzidziguri, Republic of Georgia.

While talking about the simulation “Unsettled Channels” over the conflict between Georgia and Abkhazia during the introduction of the IPSI program on the first day of the symposium, Cameron announced that they would give me a role of the Russian representative. I did not know that he meant it seriously. Truly, the trainers decided that I had to act against the interests of my actual country –Georgia. I accepted this decision without protest, because I thought it was just a game and it would not be difficult for me to “simulate”. I was completely wrong! Even though, yesterday and today, I did my best to defend fervently the Russian position (according to the tasks given by the trainers), in the bottom of my heart I was always sympathizing the Georgian side. Knowing that it was a game, I still felt a little pang when blaming the Georgians for aggression, violation, massacre and sabotage.

Nevertheless, this assigned role had also a positive impact on me. Firstly, it helped me to understand how important it is to discover the genuine underlying interests of your rival, which in turn enables you to prepare better for a negotiation with him. Secondly, it reaffirmed in me that the world’s big powers are often manipulated by the fates of small states and use them as bargaining chips to achieve their own goals. Thirdly, it is essential to know that you might have to give some things up in order to achieve overall positive results during the negotiations, no matter how powerful you are and how painful it must be to make a concession.