A game where players interact to solve a complex issue facing the world today…

Since 2017, CIR has designed and organized NextGenSim, an annual policy simulation, for high school students across New Mexico. Each simulation explores complex and critical global issues, with students as stakeholders actively deliberating towards consensus. The first annual policy simulation was hosted at one school, Santa Fe Prep, and involved over 70 students. In 2018, CIR’s second simulation was expanded to include Santa Fe High School as well as Santa Fe Prep, involving over 100 students. In 2019, CIR expanded to three schools, Capital High School, Mandela International Magnet School, and Santa Fe Prep, engaging 175 students. In 2020, CIR hosted simulations at Los Alamos High School, Santa Fe Prep, and Sandia High School, engaging over 275 students.

In 2021, NextGenSim is digital. This year’s simulation focuses on how a natural disaster will affect the fictional country of Firenzia’s transition to renewable energy. Learn more about NextGenSim 2021 here!

Learn more about CIR’s past NextGenSims below.

NextGenSim 2020: On or Off?

NextGenSim 2019

NextGenSim 2018

NextGenSim 2017

Character Cards

NextGenSim is a unique policy simulation because students receive individual character cards they are expected to play throughout the scenario. Depending on the host school, students are either randomly assigned a character or they can sign up for particular roles in advance. Character cards in NextGenSim 2021 include members of an executive branch, legislative officials, mayors, energy company representatives, and leaders in local communities.

Students receive their character card profiles during Round 1. It is important students put themselves into their character’s shoes and discuss the scenario. In Round 2, students receive a corresponding “Insider Info” card that is unique to their character. With this new information, students must re-discuss the scenario and note how their Insider Info changed their perceptions and decisions.

Example Character Card from NextGenSim 2019

Character card from NextGenSim 2019

Want to host NextGenSim 2021?

If you are a teacher or student interested in participating in NextGenSim 2021, please send CIR’s Program Officer for Education, Brooke Minnich, an email at At this time, NextGenSim is designed for high school students, although 8th graders are welcome to participate!