Community Dispute Resolution Role-Play:

Seoul Food in Urbana


David Eun and Bruce Patton

Three-person mediation involving representatives of local Korean and African-American communities over racial tensions arising from an alleged shoplifting incident; a city representative serves as the mediator


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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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.

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Tensions between the African-American and Korean communities in economically depressed Urbana, where Koreans are the sole providers of groceries in the area, have been building for some time. Many African-American customers have long complained that the grocery store owners are unfriendly and unfairly accuse customers of stealing, while Korean store owners contend that many of their African-American customers use racial slurs and shoplift.

A recent incident involving an elderly African-American woman and a Korean grocery store owner has caused tensions to explode into a massive boycott, led initially by the woman's family, but gaining support throughout the community. The recently elected African-American mayor was initially neutral on the issue, but as the boycott grew, the mayor decided to intervene. Korean grocers do not wish to be driven out of business, and while African-Americans would prefer to support the establishment of African-American owned grocery stores, they have no convenient, immediate alternative to the existing Korean-American grocery stores.

Legal representatives of the local African-American and Korean-American communities are now meeting with the mayor's Chief Aide for Urban Affairs in an effort to try to resolve the conflict. During the discussions, a newsflash will inform the parties that the boycott situation has worsened and that an urgent solution is necessary.



Participant Materials include:

  • General Instructions for all parties
  • WURB Channel 13 Newsflash: Crisis in Urbana


Confidential Instructions for:

  • African-American Communities for Action Representative
  • Korean Merchants Association Representative
  • Mayor's Chief Aide for Urban Affairs (mediator/ facilitator role)


Teacher's Package includes:

  • All of the above
  • Teaching Note


NOTE: The fact pattern of this simulation is similar to that of Grocery Store; the latter is a two-party negotiation between community members rather than a mediation involving legal representatives.

Seoul Food in Urbana Attributes

Time required: 1-2 hours
Number of participants: 3
Teams involved: No
Agent present: Lawyer
Neutral third party present: Mediator,Arbitrator
Scoreable: No
Teaching notes available: Yes