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The Fletcher School Joins LeadX Change, Brings SIMULEX to Future Global Leaders

Fletcher professors and alumni leverage unique skillset at leadership accelerator workshop in Georgia.

The founding of a global initiative to serve as a multinational leadership accelerator kicked off this summer in Tbilisi, Georgia with Fletcher School Professor and Director of the International Securities Studies Program Richard Shultz there to mark its launch.

LEADx Change, founded by Fletcher grad Zviad Adzinbaia (F18), brought together The Fletcher School’s International Security Studies Program (ISSP), the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR), and the United Nations Association of Georgia to unite emerging and mid-career leaders from around 10 European and North American countries with the stated goal of bolstering “leadership and crisis response capacity” to foster cooperation among and between states, across agencies, and across disciplines within the region. 

The workshop featured a recreation of Fletcher’s longstanding, simulated crisis management exercise, SIMULEX, which is conducted here, on campus, each fall semester. The exercise sees students and practitioners from different branches of government, the armed services and academia convene over a weekend to work through a new and complex global crisis that is partially scripted, but meant to draw on skills such as negotiation and conflict management and the principles of international relations that are taught across disciplines at The Fletcher School.

The SIMULEX exercise that took place as part of the LEADx Change workshop brought together a group of 100 globally-minded young leaders from public, private, civil society and media fields to game-out management of an international crisis in real time. One of the key objectives for the LEADx team was promoting public-private, interagency and cross-border partnerships to minimize likelihood of conflict, promote lasting security and the notion of Europe whole, free and at peace. Recent Fletcher grad Evan Foggo (F’19) drafted a plausible, regionally-specific SIMULEX scenario that involved a crisis in the Black Sea and the Middle East for LEADx Change. ISSP’s Military Fellow from the U.S. Air Force, Col. Brenda Oppel led the control room, a main coordinating body to manage the exercise.

“The Fletcher School was delighted to bring SIMULEX to LEADx Change,” said Shultz, who traveled to Tbilisi to lead a session on hybrid warfare. “We would be happy to partner in next editions. We see such exercises as crucial opportunities for future leaders to think through very real international security situations and practice the skills and collaboration that would be needed in a similar real-life emergency of unraveling international tensions.”  

Alongside the Fletcher-affiliated professors and graduates, speakers and mentors from Harvard, Cisco Systems, the Atlantic Council, the BBC, and other world-class institutions joined the masterclasses which were specially tailored to cover a wide range of topics in security, tech and governance, as well as leadership and negotiation.

Another Fletcher alum, former Ambassador and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza (F88), was also on hand to mentor participants sharing some highlights from his extensive diplomatic career, with tips and guidance providing helpful feedback on negotiation strategies and insights into the complex geopolitics of the region.