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Forage Center News

From Simulated Disaster, Real Understanding

11/7/17, 3:03 PM

The Mason Spirit on Spring Break in Costero

This article appears in the November 7, 2017 issue of The Mason Spirit. Read it in its entirety here.

By Buzz McClain, BA '77 on November 7, 2017

In March, while many college students were enjoying Florida beaches, George Mason University graduate student Anna Laura Grant, also in Florida, was dining on rice and beans, and sleeping—when she could—on the concrete floor of an airplane hangar.

Spring break from hell? Not exactly. For four days, Grant and other graduate students from Mason’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution took part in a mentally and physically challenging field exercise designed to show them what it was like to be peace practitioners in an active conflict zone.

“You keep reminding yourself it’s only a simulation, but it wasn’t always easy,” says Grant, who is working on her master’s degree in conflict analysis and resolution. “I would tell myself, ‘We just got yelled at by the director of the humanitarian project, but it’s OK.’ ”

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