Pirates, policy and academics
Can academics help or hinder the fight against piracy?
Modeling Piracy: A Bridge Between the Academic and Policy Communities
This January, the Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy hosted the local non-profit organization Oceans Beyond Piracy (OBP) as a part of the Carnegie Corporation of New York-funded effort to “bridge the gap” between policy and academics. Based in Colorado, OBP works with public and private stakeholders to find solutions to global maritime piracy. The OBP team is developing an agent-based model to accurately forecast the resources and commitments needed from international stakeholders to continue combating piracy off the Somali Coast for the foreseeable future. Students and faculty from the Sié Center, and members of the University’s global forecasting research center, the Pardee Center for International Futures, joined the presentation to provide constructive feedback on the efficacy and accuracy of the model for policymaking applications.
This event underlines the importance of cross-pollination between the academic and policy communities. Academia helps identify the spectrum of feasible policy tools available to the policy community. Agent-based models are one such example. Agent-based models are a class of models that seek to simulate interactions between autonomous agents (individuals or organizations) and explore the impact of those interactions on the system as a whole. These models simplify the real world and help inform strategic decision-making. These models are critical for framing future uncertainties around a particular policy space in order to produce realistic expectations or targets for policy outcomes. Moreover, agent-based models are important advocacy tools capable of telling a particular narrative. They provide empirical evidence that can be used to support or argue against a particular policy decision.
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