Using Tomorrow's Headlines for Today's Training: Creating Pseudo-reality in Conflict Resolution Simulation Games


  • Noam Ebner, LL.M., is an attorney-mediator and codirector of Tachlit Mediation Center in Jerusalem. He is on the faculty of Sabanci University's Graduate Program on Conflict Analysis and Resolution in Istanbul, Turkey, and also teaches negotiation and mediation at Tel-Hai College, Israel. His e-mail address is

  • Yael Efron, LL.M., is an attorney-mediator and codirector of Tachlit Mediation Center in Jerusalem, Israel. She is a mediation trainer at various institutions and teaches conflict resolution and law at Tel-Hai College, Israel. Her e-mail address is


This article introduces the “pseudo-reality” method of constructing and conducting conflict resolution training workshops. This method focuses on creating a backdrop against which participants engage in building negotiation and mediation skills using real-life events and facts — but only to the extent that these events and facts promote the learning process. By creating pseudo-reality, trainers can overcome strong preconceptions or biases that can interfere with the learning process while at the same time preserving the advantages of working within a familiar, realistic environment. This method is meant to be used when the main goal of a workshop is skill building rather than imparting substantive knowledge of a specific conflict. The article illustrates this method by describing its use at a workshop conducted recently in Cyprus, in which the Israeli–Palestinian conflict served as a backdrop for conflict resolution skill building. Finally, the article describes a model designed to help conflict resolution trainers create pseudo-reality in their own workshops.