Community Dispute Resolution Role-Play:

Guatemala Role Play, The Workable Peace: Indigenous Rights and the Environment in Latin America


Michael Maturo, Kate Mahoney, Francisco Ingouville and Anthony Wanis St. John, under the direction of David Fairman

Six-person mediated negotiation among representatives of the Guatemalan government, military, rebel groups, indigenous people, and U.S. government to address post-armed-conflict human rights, land claims, and cultural and political rights issues


Please note: you must order a copy (a.k.a. license/usage fee) for every person participating in the simulation in your course. This simulation has multiple roles, so you will be unable to complete your purchase without meeting the minimum quantity requirement of copies per role.

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PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center

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Soft copy vs. hard copy

You may order this role simulation in either soft copy (electronic) or hard copy (paper) format. If you select the soft copy option, you will receive an e-mail with a URL (website address) from which you may download an electronic file in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. You will have one week to download your materials from when you receive the email. You are then only authorized to use, print, or share the materials as many times as the number of copies you purchase. The TNRC charges for use of this simulation on a per-participant basis. Therefore, you must purchase a separate copy of this simulation for each person who will be participating, regardless of the number of roles in the simulation. You will only receive a link to one electronic file, which includes all general instructions, confidential instructions, and any teaching notes for the simulation. You should separate out the instructions before distributing to participants.

If you select the hard copy option, you will receive paper copies of this role simulation via the shipping method you select.

For additional information about the soft copy option, please visit our FAQ section, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at or 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.) or 301-528-2676 (outside the U.S.).

Please note: At the present time, Teaching Negotiation Resource Center soft copies are compatible with the following versions of the Adobe Acrobat Reader: English, German, French, Spanish, Swedish, Portuguese, Japanese, and Korean. If you have a different version of the Acrobat Reader, you may wish to download one of these at, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at, 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.), or 301-528-2676 (outside the U.S.) for further assistance. This restriction does not apply to the freely available Teacher’s Package Review Copies.

Ordering a single copy for review

If you wish to review the materials for a particular role simulation to decide whether you’d like to use it, a PDF, or soft copy, version of the Teacher’s Package for the simulation is available as a free download from the description page of most role simulations and case studies. All Teacher’s Packages include copies of all participant materials. In addition, some Teacher’s Packages (but not all) include additional teaching materials such as teaching notes or overhead masters.

Ordering copies for multiple participants

To order multiple copies of a role simulation for use in a course or workshop, simply enter the total number of participants in the box next to “Quantity.” There is no need to calculate how many of each role is required.

If you are ordering hard copies, the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center will calculate the appropriate numbers of each role to provide, based on the total number of participants. For example, if you wish to order a 2-party role simulation for use with a class of 30 students, you would enter “30” in the box next to “Quantity.” You then would receive 15 copies of one role and 15 copies of the other role, for use with your 30 participants. As another example, if you ordered 30 participant copies of a 6-party role simulation, you would receive 5 copies of each role.

In the event that the number of participant copies you order is not evenly divisible by the number of roles in the simulation, you will receive extra copies of one or more roles. Participants receiving the extra roles may partner with other participants playing the same role, thus negotiating as a team. So, for instance, if you ordered 31 copies of a 2-party role simulation, you would receive 15 copies of the first role and 16 copies of the second role. One of the participants playing the second role would partner with another participant playing that same role, and the two would negotiate as a team.

Bulk Pricing Discount

For bulk orders, we offer the following pricing discounts. Please note that these only apply to bulk orders of the same simulation.

  • Between 100-250 copies – 10% discount
  • Between 251-500 copies – 25% discount
  • More than 500 copies – 50% discount
Log In or Register to download the free Teacher's Package Sample.

The Guatemala Role Play is a simulation from the Workable Peace Curriculum Series unit on Indigenous Rights and the Environment in Latin America.


Guatemala has been an ethnically, economically, and politically divided society for over 450 years. In the early 1960s, some army officers who opposed the military government organized small guerrilla rebel factions. Soon, these rebel factions organized into a larger military force known as the URNG. As the URNG began to defeat government forces in the countryside, the government decided to put pressure on the URNG and their supporters. Thousands of indigenous people were killed and their villages destroyed.

After years of negotiations, the Guatemalan government and the URNG signed an "Accord for a Firm and Lasting Peace" in 1996. Despite the peace accord, several issues remain to be resolved. This follow-up negotiation takes place in 1998. The Guatemalan Minister of the Interior will chair a negotiation that includes representatives from the Guatemalan military, the URNG, and the ethnic Mayans living in Guatemala, as well as the U.S. Ambassador to Guatemala. The three issues on the table are how to protect human rights, how to deal with Mayan land claims, and how to recognize Mayan cultural and political rights.



  • This role play underscores the relevance of general lessons about "basic" negotiation skills as they apply to multi-party, multi-issue negotiations: e.g., active listening, improving one's BATNA, focusing on interests rather than positions, inventing options for mutual gain, etc.
  • Provides a means for exploring the political dynamics and economic issues likely to emerge during an actual negotiation
  • Imparts an understanding of the processes of international treaty negotiations as they are currently conducted
  • Highlights the importance of understanding the human dimension in ethnic conflict and the difficulty of proposing solutions without grasping the complexity of the relationships.
  • Emphasizes the importance of understanding the interests of internal constituencies and designing negotiation strategies which manage the link between internal and external negotiations, as well as the importance of creating external coalitions without letting internal coalitions crumble.
  • Demonstrates how members of groups in conflict can take steps toward a workable peace by negotiating truces, recognizing each others' right to meet basic needs, and making rules for settling their conflicts and meeting their needs without violence.


Teacher's Package Includes:

  • Participant materials
  • Teaching Note
  • Master List of Player Goals
  • Framework for a Workable Peace
  • Workable Peace Self-Assessment Form
  • Overheads
  • Observation/Assessment Instructions


If you would like additional information about the Workable Peace framework and teaching materials, including information about teacher training and support, please contact Workable Peace Co-Directors David Fairman or Stacie Smith at:

The Consensus Building Institute, Inc.
238 Main Street, Suite 400
Cambridge, MA 02142
Phone: 617-492-1414
Fax: 617-492-1919

Guatemala Role Play, The Attributes

Time required: 3-5 hours
Number of participants: 6
Teams involved: No
Agent present: None
Neutral third party present: Mediator
Scoreable: No
Teaching notes available: Yes