POLITICAL RE-ENACTMENTS

Project led as part of Columbia University's Model United Nations students organization (CIRCA)

From 2012 to 2015, over 4 years within the Model United Nations students organization at Columbia University, I worked with different teams to create simulations of historical events. My work was at the intersection of geopolitical research and theater improvisation.

The organized simulation would unfold over 3 days where 20 students, called delegates, from all over the world would play the roles of political figures improvising through a great historical event.

My first important piece work was a simulation of the Moroccan Royal Cabinet during the 1963 Sand Wars with Algeria where each of the so-called delegates improvised actions and played the roles of one of the members of the cabinet. That is how, within theater-like negotiations, Ahmed Balafrej, illustrious Minister of Foreign Affairs in the 1960s, came back to life in New York in 2014.

My other important research project was a simulation of the GSPC, the Group for Salafist Combat and Preaching (former Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb) in 2003, in a fictional meeting in Mauritania, prior to the Madrid and Casablanca attacks. After leading research for a year to produce a corpus of background information as well as a starting scenario for the meeting, I led with a team what is called a crisis committee, where we interrupted the delegates’ improvisation with our own fictional changes of event. These crisis interruptions could take any form: video, photo, sound, bodies, etc. all to influence and shift conversations within the committee room. The writing/re-writing of history as well as the execution of the simulations take great influence from speculative narration and aim at shifting perspectives and points of view, allowing for a displacement of the young liberal - often western - student to rethink what a “terrorist” group is for example.