In October 2010, Charles Bailey paid a visit to the Spark M. Matsunaga Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution. Bailey led a two part program dedicated to exploring an innovative approach to addressing the long-term impact of Agent Orange in Vietnam: Track II diplomacy.
Students at the Matsunaga Institute simulated the first meeting of the U.S.-Vietnam Dialogue Group on Agent Orange/Dioxin. Each student was assigned a member of the Dialogue Group to represent and the group discussed critical elements of neutrality, trust-building and framing issues important to working on the long-term impact of Agent Orange in Vietnam.
The simulation lasted for two hours and all who participated asked to continue the dialogue over the following week.
Out of that inspired program came a new approach to teaching Track II diplomacy. The Matsunaga Institute worked with the Aspen Institute and Active Voice to develop the Make Agent Orange History Track II Diplomacy Instructor Module and Simulation.
Through a simulation with a series of lessons and exercises, students learn the essential elements of Track II diplomacy such as active listening, decision making and the ability to understand and embody differences.
“Track II diplomacy is unofficial meetings between parties who are not acting on behalf of a government,” says Anne Marie Smoke of the Matsunaga Institute. “This approach is especially useful in circumstances where governments or official organizations are at an impasse due to protocol or political concerns.”