In an effort to raise awareness about international humanitarian law (IHL) and the laws of conflict, the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees (MVRCR) held a “Raid Cross” simulation for students from the University of Michigan on Tuesday, March 1, 2016. The simulation was one of several educational components in the students’ Alternative Spring Break program, which also incorporated multiple community service projects.

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“Raid Cross” is a role-playing simulation activity designed by the French and Belgian Red Cross that helps young people understand the basic rules of IHL and recognize that even war has limits. Students explored the humanitarian issues involved in armed conflict, the basic rules of IHL – such as preventing harm to civilians, and the importance of these rules in conflict situations. During the seven-hour simulation, participants played the roles of civilians, soldiers, prisoners of war and humanitarian aid workers. By taking on different roles, participants were able to experience conflict situations from several key perspectives.

“The Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees is pleased to be able to partner with the Red Cross to offer programs that encourage people to think critically about international humanitarian law. By focusing on the protection of life and human dignity in wartime, we hope to educate people about the basic rules of war and build respect for IHL especially among the next generation.”

-Jennifer Cieslewitz, volunteer coordinator
Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees

The simulation project was a collaborative effort of the Mohawk Valley and Central New York chapters of the American Red Cross, who were grateful to be able to work with MVRCR to offer such a program.

“Respect for IHL can help contain escalations of violence and hopefully limit the destruction and suffering caused by armed conflict. Partnerships like this help to fulfill the Red Cross mission not only in our community but around the world.”

-Mallory Scheve, executive director
American Red Cross of the Mohawk Valley

To learn more about the Red Cross and International Humanitarian Law, visit or contact your local Red Cross Chapter.