Cuhadar, E., & Kampf, R. (2014). Learning about conflict and negotiations through computer simulations: The case of PeaceMaker. International Studies Perspectives, 15(4), 509-524.

Tuesday 13 June 2023

This article introduces the videogame PeaceMaker which has been used in addressing the Israeli-Palestine conflict. In the first part of the essay, the authors introduce the game which simulates realistic Israeli-Palestinian interactions, with the player assuming the role of either the Israeli Prime Minister or the President of the Palestinian Authority. In each case, the leaders attempt to make effective policy choices leading to peace, while having to respond to external events like suicide bombings, army raids, and the demands of public opinion. The goal of the game in either role is to establish a stable two-states solution to the conflict. In the second part of the game, the authors argue that PeaceMaker provides players with an opportunity to resolve the conflict. Students in an Arab-Israeli history course played PeaceMaker from the perspectives of the Israeli and Palestinian leaders at the beginning and end of the semester. In this context, the PeaceMaker improved intergroup understanding, potentially leading to reconciliation.

This article provides a fresh perspective on the role of gaming in peace-building. PeaceMaker contains both war- and peace-related content, unlike some other peace games. Other library entries such as ‘The ethnography of peace education: Some lessons learned from Palestinian–Jewish integrated education in Israel‘ and ‘No Justice Without Peace, But What Peace Is on Offer? Palestine, Israel and the International Criminal Court’ offer different perspectives on peace-building in the context of Israeli-Palestinian conflict, via peace education and legal routes.

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