Since 2017, CIR has designed and hosted our innovative NextGenSim. This annual policy simulation for high school students across northern New Mexico, from Los Alamos to Albuquerque, thrusts students into role-playing stakeholders tasked with achieving consensus on a complex global issue. Now in its fifth year, NextGenSim has served thousands of students. With the ongoing support of PNM, NextGenSim has become one of CIR’s flagship educational programs.

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We're digital!

NextGenSim 2021 is 100% digital and any high school student in New Mexico is invited to participate. 

CIR is committed to bringing our education programs to students across New Mexico. We have transitioned NextGenSim 2021 to a digital format suitable for approximately 40 students per session and lasts ~4 hours (times can be tailored, depending on the needs of classrooms). Our education programs are free and there is not pre-work or homework.

If you are a student or teacher interested to participate in NextGenSim 2021, please send an email to CIR’s Director of Education, Tacarra Lake at tacarra@sfcir.org

How does it work?

Once again from the perspective of a fictitious developing country, NextGenSim 2021 is divided over three time periods, as students weigh the pros and cons of transitioning to renewable energy over the high costs of maintaining existing energy infrastructure. Students will assume the role of national political figures, energy company officials, and local community leaders over three distinct rounds: the year 2000, 2025, and 2026. At the end of each round, students must reach a consensus on options related to national policy, energy infrastructure, and environmental policies.

Though fictional, the scenario will draw upon various real-world examples related to wildfires, including recent fires in the Brazilian Amazon, Australia, and California. The choices students make at the conclusion of each round will have direct consequences for the next round. 


There is no homework or preassigned readings for students.

During the simulation introduction, CIR will provide an overview of the scenario and review the simulation schedule. 

Days before the scheduled simulation, registered students will receive access to a digital character card. Students will play their assigned character throughout the entire simulation. In NextGenSim 2021, characters include Firenzia government officials, energy company representatives, and members of local communities.

The simulation is divided into three rounds:

  • Round 1: Set in 2000, students will work in stakeholder groups and select energy development goals Firenzia will adopt as part of its ambitious Vision 2020.
  • Round 2: Set in 2025, students will work in stakeholder groups as they contend with a wildfire that breaks out and quickly spreads. Students will need to work quickly to make decisions that ultimately affect the severity of the wildfire.
  • Round 3: Set in 2026, one year after the devastating wildfire, students learn the affects of the fire in Firenzia. A national commission has been assembled, to reevaluate energy goals set in Vision 2020 and determine steps to prevent another devastating fire in Firenzia. 

Scheduled nextgensim 2021

Click on the session of interest below, to expand details of that scheduled simulation and whether it is still open for registration. 

The first simulation will be hosted with CIR’s High School Fellowship 2020-21 cohort. There is space for additional students! If you are interested in participating in this simulation, please email Tacarra at tacarra@sfcir.org to sign up. 

Registration OPEN.

past participating schools

CIR hosted NextGenSim 2020 at three high schools: Los Alamos High School, Sandia High School, and Santa Fe Preparatory. A total of 275 high school students participated in NextGenSim 2020.

In addition to the three hosting schools, several high schools sent delegations of students to participate. Those high schools included: 

  • Desert Academy
  • East Mountain High School
  • La Cueva High School
  • Los Alamos Middle School
  • Mandela International Magnet School
  • Menaul School
  • Moriarty High School
  • Santa Fe High School
  • The ASK Academy

A total of 275 high school students participated in NextGenSim 2020! There were five additional simulations planned for spring 2020, but cancelled due to Covid-19. 

Available material

Coming soon!


We thank PNM for their generous support of NextGenSim 2021!