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Education Without Borders 2020:

The Briefing Room

The Higher Education Sectors Travel Risk Management Event

The 6th Annual Education without Borders Conference
November 5, 2020 – University of Oxford, England

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The Days Crisis Simulation: Attacks on Barcelona

“This is Crisis Simulation and Stress Testing at it’s best”

Coordinated terror attacks hit Barcelona during the morning rush hour. Westchester University have students, staff and academics affected. You join their Crisis Management Team. There are decisions to be made, implications to be considered and outcomes to accept.

Our electronic voting system will enable our briefing room to make individual and collaborative decisions in real time as our scenarios unfold. Join us for a day that will help you to assess how your university would manage a day like this.

*Each of our crisis situations end with clear summery review, relevant policy guidance, training recommendations, communications plans and audit tools, these will be presented to each delegate as our day progresses.

What do we know as our day begins?

Our 3 Crisis Simulations:

Crisis simulation 1:


Westchester University has an undergraduate geography field trip in Barcelona during the morning of the attacks. 18 students and 4 staff are in the proximity of the third blast at the Residencia Hotel.

All accept 2 students are quickly accounted for and are physically unhurt and whilst the teaching staff are unsure what to do for the best, as the city fears further attacks, they choose to move to the centre of a local park away from built up areas and are able to contact the university within 30 minutes of the third blast.

Their own hotel has been cordoned off and they are informed they will not be allowed access to their rooms for the next 24 hours. Therefore emergency accommodation is required and travel options are restricted due to passports and travel documents being left at the hotel during the morning excursion.

It is not known if the 2 unaccounted for students were stood with the wider group at the exact time of the blast or if they were closer to the scene. It is also not know if they are together.

The staff leading the group are looking to the university for advice on what their actions should be and on where they will be staying that night. Parents of the students are immediately in touch with the university and looking for information.

Several of the students are extremely distressed and one of which, the boyfriend of one of the unaccounted for is refusing to remain with the group any longer and is going to search for his girlfriend.   

Crisis simulation 2:


A senior member of teaching staff from the Psychology department is staying at the Santa Maria Hotel. She has extended a business trip to Barcelona and for the last 2 days has remained in Barcelona on leave.

Her boyfriend of the last 6 months has flown into Barcelona to surprise her and both are in the lobby of the Santa Maria at the time of the explosion. Dr Nicholas is unhurt but her boyfriend, Mark Roberts is in a critical condition and has been admitted to the Hospital Del Ray. He does not have travel insurance. 

It is quickly assessed that Mr Roberts head injuries require a medical movement to a centre of neurological excellence and Dr Nicholas is calling on her employer, Westchester University for full financial support, including flying family members out to Spain, to be extended to him in this case.

The Universities Medical Assistance partner, accessible to Westchester only via its insurance policies is currently managing the case on an informal basis, but as this is not covered by the insurer or policy in question and as no formal relationship exists between the university and the medical assistance firm, the situation quickly unravels.

The questions as to whether financial support and medical assistance should or should not be extended to Mr Roberts is immediately compounded by the lack of any contractual or formal mechanism by which they can do so as his condition rapidly deteriorates.

Crisis simulation 3:


Following the events of the morning and the first hours of media coverage, a Muslim man waving a copy of the Quran is arrested on the university campus during a ‘religiously charged, emotional and distressed confrontation’ with staff and campus security.

As police arrive the man attempts to flee the scene at which point he is very forcibly detained.

Due to the number of witnesses and the length of the altercation much of the scene of disruption is caught on camera phones and shared on social media, with speculative suggestion that a ‘4th attack’ had been prevented at the university.

Many of the witnesses heard the man, Professor Fahd, stating he was an academic with Westchester University and his identity is quickly confirmed by the media.

‘Westchester University Professor detained amid fears of further attacks in Barcelona’

What was in actual fact personal emotions running high during a traumatic morning, the context of Professor Fahd academic research, the proximity of the confrontation to the first bomb and the footage being shared globally, means that what should have been a simple situation to resolve escalates into a high profile and confusing media story.

Given the events of the day the local police resources are both exhausted and on high alert which not only leads to the aggressive physical detention of the Professor, which is shared via social media but to the long and ‘closed off’ investigation into the events of his arrest. 

How to take part

Your Registration Options

Individual Delegate Pass: £349


University Delegate Pass: £599

Designed to encourage participation from across your university, 3 delegates attend for less than the price of 2 individual places. Please note this registration option is limited to 20 University Pass’s and are secured on a first come first serve basis.

Distance Delegate Pass: £299 (Join via ‘LiveLecture’)

This is a Digital Pass to extend our event to those who cannot join us on this date and also to our global followers. Each distance delegate will have access to the ‘Live Streaming’ of the day and will also receive full recorded footage and supporting learning collateral to run these scenarios on your own campus. (local delegates will also receive recordings and learning collateral)

Register today

Feel free to reach us if you need any assistance.

Interested In Sponsoring?

Sponsor and Exhibitor opportunities are available, please contact for further information on availability.

The Venue

Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford, Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6GG, United Kingdom