About Policy and Research Programs

As part of the Center for International Development and Conflict Management at the University of Maryland, College Park, the ICONS Project utilizes its cadre of world-class trainers and simulation developers -- including practitioners, academics, and subject matter experts -- to design and deliver engaging programs that consistently receive top-rated evaluations.


Founded in 1982 by University of Maryland professors, Dr. Jonathan Wilkenfeld and Dr. Richard Brecht, ICONS has grown through the years to include thousands of simulation participants and clients throughout the United States and the world. We continue to be based at the University of Maryland where ICONS is part of the highly-regarded Center for International Development and Conflict Management. High demand for our simulations from government agencies led to the development of an ICONS professional training division in the early 2000s. This division is committed to delivering outstanding professional training in negotiation, crisis leadership, and conflict management to government, private sector, and academic clients. Utilizing a world-class team of facilitators and our trademark simulations, our offerings are engaging, relevant, and focused on building skills and results.


Jonathan Wilkenfeld

Jonathan WilkenfeldJonathan Wilkenfeld is currently the Associate Provost and Associate Vice President, International Programs at the University of Maryland, as well as an affiliate and professor and prior chair of the Department of Government and Politics.

He is a specialist in foreign policy decision making and crisis behavior, as well as in the use of simulation in political science. Since 1977, Wilkenfeld has served as co-Director (with Michael Brecher) of the International Crisis Behavior Project, a cross-national study of international crises in the twentieth century. The project has served as the basis for systematic research into a range of crucial foreign-policy issues, including state motivations during times of crisis, conflict management practices, and protracted conflict trajectories.

He also guides CIDCM's training initiative, which provides decision-makers with interactive training experiences in the fields of conflict behavior, negotiation, and crisis management. The development of the International Communication and Negotiation Simulations (ICONS) Project grew out of his long-term interest in integrating technology and simulation techniques into the teaching of negotiation and international politics. Under his direction, the ICONS Project won numerous awards for innovation and excellence, including in 1994, the Distinguished Program Award presented by the Maryland Association for Higher Education for the ICONS instructional model, and in 2001 the University of Maryland Award for Innovation in Teaching with Technology.

His most recent books include A Study of Crisis (1997 and 2000, with Michael Brecher); Negotiating a Complex World (1999 and 2005, with Brigid Starkey and Mark Boyer); and Mediating International Crises (2005, with Victor Asal, David Quinn, and Kathleen Young). This latest work focuses on the use of experimental techniques to study the mediation process in international crisis negotiations and how decision makers learn from previous crisis experience.


Devin Ellis

Devin EllisDevin Hayes Ellis is a faculty research associate in the Department of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland, and the Policy & Research Program Director for the ICONS Project as well as the lead simulation developer. Ellis is a policy analyst by training. His expertise is in the use of simulations for training and policy research, crisis management, U.S. national security and intelligence policy, and Chinese national security policy. He has published research on crisis communication, and has an active interest in understanding and improving the way governments and non-governmental actors understand and manage conflict.

Mr. Ellis's academic background is in U.S.-China security policy, and he has lived and studied in China. Over the past decade he has been privileged to participate in several groundbreaking Track II dialogues on U.S.-China crisis management. Mr. Ellis has designed or consulted on successful crisis management and negotiation simulations for a range of clients including: the National Security Agency, USAID, the World Bank, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Brookings Institution, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the National Defense University Af&Pak Fellows program, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, Ford Motor Co., ABInBev, the Fletcher School of Diplomacy, and the Kennedy School of Government.


Victor Asal

Victor AsalVictor has worked as a conflict resolution trainer in a variety of settings, most notably as a trainer for army officers. In addition to his years of training professionals, Dr. Asal has taught courses in conflict resolution, crisis management, terrorism, and the strategy and tactics of bargaining and negotiation. He is an investigator for the START Center (Center for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism) and Director of the Public Security Certificate at Rockefeller College, SUNY, Albany.

He holds an Advanced Training Certificate in Conflict Management and a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland's Department of Government and Politics. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the State University of New York, Albany. He is a co-author of Mediating International Crises (Routledge, 2005). He is also the author of The Sword of Justice: Ethics and Coercion in International Politics (Praeger, 1998), as well as numerous studies and articles on foreign policy issues.

Egle Murauskaite

Egle Murauskaite is a Nonresident Fellow and Researcher with the ICONS Project. She is an expert in international security issues specializing in unconventional threats, particularly those related to CBRN weapons and materials. Her interdisciplinary research projects cover issues of urgent relevance across the academic-policy divide. Ms. Murauskaite has worked extensively on projects modeling transfer patterns of dual-use materials and nuclear technologies among state and non-state actors, behavioral patterns of the persons involved in such trade, and innovative ways to secure dangerous materials. Her research has also delved into a broad spectrum of regional security issues, including assessing EU nonproliferation measures and evaluating NATO's security assurances in the changing geopolitical context. She is the co-editor of a volume Regional Security Dialogue in the Middle East: Changes, Challenges, Opportunities (Routledge, 2014), and the author of several publications exploring global WMD-related challenges. Ms. Murauskaite has developed courses, workshops, and other training curricula (online and in person) for professionals and academics, exploring different aspects of CRBN related threats.

To learn more, contact:

Devin Ellis
Policy and Research Program Director
& Lead Simulation Developer

Or submit an on-line information request.

ICONS Project