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Forage Center News

“Coastal Promise” Field Exercise Returns to Garrett County, Maryland

4/12/23, 4:00 PM

Graduate Students, Volunteers, Forage Center Staff to Spend Three days in Swanton

“Coastal Promise” Field Exercise Returns to Garrett County, Maryland

Graduate Students, Volunteers, Forage Center Staff to Spend Three days in Swanton

ROCKVILLE, MD (April 12, 2022) – The Forage Center for Peacebuilding and Humanitarian Education, Inc., (Forage Center) returns to Swanton, Maryland, USA next week with its annual “Coastal Promise” immersive field exercise. The exercise runs April 21-23, 2023.

Designed for individuals with an interest in conflict resolution, peacebuilding, disaster management, or humanitarian assistance, “Coastal Promise” participants act as members of a non-governmental organization and engage in intensive negotiations, humanitarian need evaluation, peacebuilding assessment, and human rights advocacy as part of a scenario based on a realistic conflict and humanitarian crisis. Over 500 U.S. and international undergraduate and graduate students have participated in the exercise since 2000.

This year’s exercise will include graduate students from George Mason University (Virginia) and American University (Washington, DC).

In addition to the graduate students, volunteer roleplayers from the region (including a group of students from Allegany College of Maryland) will join virtual roleplayers from Canada and the U.S. to represent various displaced persons, community leaders, military and law enforcement, and other individuals experiencing a humanitarian need.

Forage Center staff, most past field participants themselves, have educational and professional backgrounds in international peace studies; conflict analysis and resolution; humanitarian history, issues, and law; and emergency management. Forage Center staff create and manage the three-day experiential exercise, while also joining as role-players.

“As a former participant, I understand how impactful visiting Costero is to both education and career paths. My goal as 2023 Exercise Director is to help create an immersive experience in a safe learning environment that feels very real and stays with them long after they leave Costero,” said Logan Varker, Forage Center Program Specialist.

“Immersive programs like ours empower emerging humanitarians with hands-on knowledge in an environment where mistakes are learning opportunities for further discussion. It’s an unparalleled experience,” said David J. Smith, Forage Center President. “With so many natural and geopolitical crises around the world, our participants are uniquely armed to provide humanitarian assistance.”

The Forage Center is appreciative of support from local colleges, schools, businesses, and residents in Garrett County and look forward to sharing the county with our students, volunteers, and staff. If you are interested in sponsoring a student or supporting the event in any other way, please contact the Forage Center at

Photo: 2022 Coastal Promise participants at the Swanton, Maryland field site.


About the Forage Center: The Forage Center, a 501c3 not-for-profit entity, provides educational opportunities and experiential-based training for students, educators, and professionals working in peacebuilding and humanitarian environments. For more information, visit

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