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Defending Ukraine SIMULATION

Source: Getty/Katherine Cheng

Grade Level Grades 9-12, Higher Education
Resource Type Activity


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Use the following hypothetical simulation from Model Diplomacy to spark discussion and help students to think through what they would do if they were decision-makers.

Learning Goal

  • Students will understand that military intervention, especially against a nuclear-armed country such as Russia, carries huge risk, but so, too, does the decision not to intervene directly.

The Situation

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is the biggest test to European stability and, more broadly, of the liberal world order since World War II. The war has the potential to widen to Ukraine’s neighbors, many of whom are members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) alliance. NATO members have so far avoided direct military involvement in the war, choosing to limit themselves to sending military and economic aid to Ukraine, providing intelligence, and supporting refugees.  Yet as the conflict continues, calls for NATO to intervene directly are likely to grow. The United States will have to weigh whether and, if so, how to become more directly involved in the war.


Model Diplomacy is a free simulation program that invites students, educators, and professionals to step into the roles of decision-makers in the U.S. National Security Council (NSC) or UN Security Council (UNSC). Model Diplomacy simulations help students develop critical thinking, persuasive speaking and writing, and collaboration skills, all while giving them hands-on experience grappling with the challenges of our modern, globalized world.

CFR Education is an initiative within the Council on Foreign Relations that aims to make complex foreign policy and international issues accessible for middle, high school, and college students through its educational products: World101, Model Diplomacy, and Convene the Council.


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