University News

University of New Haven Virtual Conference to Feature Innovative National Security Simulation

The upcoming "Spies, Lies, & Diplomats" program will enable prospective and incoming students to explore all facets of national security and other potential career opportunities, while learning from experts in the field.

July 9, 2020

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications

photo of Italian delegation
Paige Niswonger (third from left) is a member of the University’s award-winning Model United Nations program.

Paige Niswonger '22 is grateful for the opportunities she has had as a national security major to apply what she has learned in the classroom, and she wants to help prospective and incoming Chargers learn more about the career paths available in her major and how the University can prepare them for success.

Niswonger is serving as the simulation director of “Spies, Lies, & Diplomats: Sino-American Relations,” a national security simulation the University will hold via Zoom. She is planning the event and creating the material that participants will use.

“I hope students gain a greater understanding of national security through this conference,” she said. “It is important because it gives participants an opportunity to experience the national security field and the work they have the potential of doing.”

The event will be offered to prospective and incoming students interested in all facets of national security, including professions such as intelligence collectors, analysts, and diplomats. It will simulate a real-world national security crisis and response from the U.S. national security community and enable students to learn from experts in the field.

"This simulation will expose students to the complexities of U.S.-China relations and tradeoffs that American policy makers consider."Carolyn Brehm '96 MBA

Students will hear from Howard Stoffer, Ph.D., an associate professor of national security who served as a senior foreign service officer with the U.S. Department of State for 25 years; Carolyn Brehm ’96 MBA, founder and CEO of Brehm Global Ventures, an organization that provides advice on global government relations and public policy strategies; and Andy Morgan, M.D., a former medical intelligence officer with the CIA and a national security professor at the University of New Haven.

"The simulation will give students a chance to have fun while learning principles about how spies and diplomats work," said Dr. Morgan. "They will have to decide how to collect information, find out if someone is lying to them, and determine how to use information in diplomatic negotiations. This experience teaches them how to think critically and how to use intelligence."

Hartford Foundation logo
Paige Niswonger (center) with the Model United Nations security council.

The event, which is free of charge, will be offered at two different times on July 15, from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and again from 3 to 7 p.m.

Brehm, a member of the University’s Board of Governors, says the conference’s focus on the U.S. and China is critical.

"Relations between the U.S. and China, the world’s two largest economies, are reaching a crisis point and the outcome will impact the globe,” said Brehm, a former vice president of governmental relations for Procter and Gamble. “What are the economic and national security costs and benefits of decoupling versus finding alternatives to maintaining a working relationship with China that addresses security, climate, and public health concerns? This simulation will expose students to the complexities of U.S.-China relations and tradeoffs that American policy makers consider."

Participants will be assigned to groups in which they will assess the situation presented, identify key targets, gather information, create a plan, and decide how to move forward. Each group will have a foreign policy objective to work toward. Current students and faculty members will serve as their guides.

“There are so many opportunities for students at the University who are interested in working with the federal government and in national security,” said Niswonger. “I want prospective and incoming students to see these opportunities.”

To learn more about “Spies, Lies, & Diplomats: Sino-American Relations,” please visit the event website.

Students who would like more information should email Paige Niswonger at