Politics & Bargaining – Simulation “Our Community“ from 28th to 30th October 2022 in Erivan, Armenia

Around 20 participants from NGOs and political parties in Armenia came together in late October to learn about democracy from various perspectives. The first part of the seminar revolved around exploration of democratic negotiation processes. In one sequence the participants’ task was to agree on one of many symbolic pictures on democracy. The discussion contained various aspects of democracies: But what part of democracy is the most important? Rule of law, participation, freedom of speech and assembly, voting rights – or something entirely different? In the end the participants faced a difficult decision to reduce democracy to just one of its many aspects. They took their liberty to also choose how they are going to decide on one picture in the end – and ended their struggle to come to a common ground by a voting process. Just above half of all involved then decided on one picture. Afterwards a discussion ensued: Was it right to just vote by majority? What is with the minority being left out? These and other methods invited the participants to question what democracy is and what it should look like. Many of these thoughts were transferred into the main part of the three-day seminar: The political simulation “Our community “.

The simulation drew the participants into a fictional world – It is placed in the town “OUR TOWN”. All participants switched into roles of politicians of different fictitious parties and lobby groups. They had to decide on a coalition of two or more parties to form the new city government of „OUR TOWN“ – and which project of one of the lobby groups to support.

After heated negotiations they came to a decision: The lobby groups agreed on a common effort to build a stadium for sports and events and three parties formed the new government which supported the cause.

After almost two days of negotiations and bargaining all participants felt great as they arrived back in reality – and left their roles behind. Many of their thoughts of democracy were put into practice in the simulation. But can they go on to make them a reality?

The seminar was conducted in cooperation with the Konrad Adenauer Foundation South Caucasus office.