Up Close & Personal: Kuramia

Kuramia was recently elected, uncontested, as President of Europeia. With the Executive Split reform recently passing into law, Kurama will be the last president of Europeia before the role is split into the roles of Chief of State, focused solely on External Affairs, and a First Minister, focused solely on internal affairs. With the split coming into force on 1st March, Kuramia will also serve as Europeia’s first Chief of State, with First Minister elections to be held on the day the law comes into force. With this in mind, I sat down to talk to Kuramia on a wide range of issue, from her early years on NS to her future plans for Europeia

Kuramia has had a varied career in NationStates, slowly transitioning from RolePlay to Gameplay:

I began playing Nation States in 2012. I started as most people do, casually answering issues, finding a place to roleplay as the people in my nation – made difficult by the fact that I preferred fantasy and medieval roleplay to the more modern warfare that occurs, and coming up with a pretty factbook for the region that still lies incomplete. I stopped playing for a couple years due to real life and not finding the kind of political roleplay I enjoyed. When I came back, I made a new nation, Kuramia, and began to look through the forums. That’s when I found the Game Play forum. I quickly became engrossed in the political soap opera that lovely section of our forums has always been. I liked this kind of politics, and I grew comfortable with how R/D played out. When I received the invite to join Europeia, I didn’t know I was getting into a political simulator unlike any other. I absolutely loved it. I had next to no experience with law or actual government structure other than what little education I’d already absorbed and a Business Law class in college. I decided what I wanted to accomplish in Europeia: Senator and Minister of Foreign Affairs, and I worked toward those accomplishments. Neither were easy to get, but that’s what made getting them even better. President has never truly been on my agenda, so reaching this pinnacle of Europeian politics is shocking…and humbling. I hope I never get used to the feeling.

Despite having been in Europeia for nearly 4 years now, Kuramia felt that this time, everything came together perfectly for a run at the presidency:

The most important thing to a successful campaign is having everything lined up for that campaign. I felt like everything came together perfectly. I was ready, the region felt ready, and the timing aligned. I realized I had the time and energy necessary for the job’s full scope. I had people who could step into needed roles for my cabinet. Also I had a great person to act as a support and advisor in Pierce, who ran with me as Vice President. I approached people for my cabinet and as people accepted positions, I became more solid in my decision. My campaign finally formed in my mind and I set to writing my platform. I guess the biggest reason I ran was because it was finally an exciting prospect for me and not something to be unsure or scared of.

With the new reforms taking effect on the 1st of March, Kuramia’s role will become that of Chief of State. This role will be solely focused on Foreign Affairs. Kuramia feels that the position will be just perfect for her and her passion for Foreign Affairs:

I am most excited for the shift in the role of President to two separate positions: First Minister and Chief of Staff. I came into the role of President fully aware I would then transition to Chief of Staff. As a long-time lurker of NSGP, I know a lot of names and seen a lot of action from regions and people alike. My passion in Nation States has always been Foreign Affairs, and coming into Europeia and seeing an entire portion of it devoted to FA just makes sparkles shine in my eyes. I am quite excited to see what an Executive position devoted entirely to Foreign Affairs can do, and I am eager to test it. I’m just overall really excited! I think so much can be done, and the pressure to as much as possible is encouraging.

Kuramia is a strong supporter of the executive split as a whole. She feels that it will halt the decline in individuals willing to lead the region:

Before the split was being discussed, I didn’t want to step up to become President. It took so much time and energy that was split between two focuses. Even with help it was becoming apparent that being President either left one focus ignored or caused a critical crash in the system, so to speak. It felt like no one wanted the job anymore, and the effect was being felt throughout the entire region, especially in ministries where participation trickled to a stop. When the idea of the split was proposed, it felt like the region sighed with relief. This split is going to allow two people, working together for the good of the region, to focus on what the region needs to be successful inside and out. I think it’s just the beginning of what we can do with this system, and it’s going to be a thrilling start.

One of Kuramia’s main goals are Chief of State will be re-establishing Europeia’s presence in Gameplay:

I well remember an article that came out, declaring us as a great region to play politics in. I want to remind people we are still that kind of region. We have been developing tools to use outside our region that will continue to be used, but I also want to revisit tried and true  methods that have fallen to the wayside, though not through a lack of effort. To that end, the Europeian embassy will step back into the Game Play forums spotlight. I also wish to explore Independence in this new age of social media and a constant need to balance it with forum activity. I want to reach out to our Independent allies and figure out where we’re going. I think we’ve grown comfortable with where we were in the past, but I also think there is awareness that the new way people are forming connections has also shifted what Independence can be. I want to see if that shift is something to pursue. It seems like it should be. I also just want to be present in Game Play among other people and regions. I think former President Sopo did a great job of opening that door, and now that I’m allowed total focus there, I see no reason to let it shut.

Kuramia believes that WALL(World Assembly Legislative League) is far from the evil monster it is portrayed as by some people of NS. Kuramia feels that WALL provides an excellent opportunity for like minded people to project their opinion into one large voice that can be  heard across NationStates:

I actually first learned of this “flak” in new political party that I helped found in Europeia. That party first had some anti-WALL feelings in it. I didn’t know much about WALL at the time or why it was given so much grief, and my first move, if we were going to be some kind of Anti-Wall political party, was to find out exactly why it was so bad. The only thing I’ve gotten out of the discourse is that it’s a voting block, and voting blocs are bad. We did retract our position as well, unable to settle on a good argument against WALL.

I just disagree that voting blocs are bad. It’s natural for people to gather around, discuss options and opinions, and collate those opinions into a singular voice. Now not everything natural is necessarily good, but I haven’t yet seen a argument against WALL that hasn’t just been ‘voting blocs are bad’. Maybe I’ve missed the detailed analytics occurring in the WALL debates, but so far I’ve seen nothing that convinces me WALL is an evil menace. What I do see is a group coming together, discussing the issues, and agreeing on a path forward. Seeing regions work together for a single cause is a great benefit and worthy of any “flak” Europeia might be getting – from people who’d still give us flak without WALL in all likelihood. It just shows that something like this can work, especially when someone wants to argue how groups like these usually fail.

As the new President and then Chief of State many regions who are allied to Europeia are anxious to know who Kuramia feels Europeia is closest to as a region. However Kuramia believes that Europeia has many close allies, not just one:

Anyone we have a treaty with is going to be a closest ally. Treaties aren’t the only thing that make allies close though, even if that closeness comes in just a moment. We have the The Bealtaine Accord, an agreement between different regions to just hold cultural events together and share cultural events in our regions with other regions in the accord. Also close allies are those that work with us toward a common goal. In that sense, we have a multitude of close allies in organizations such as WALL and the Anti-Pacific Coalition as well. Especially where it concerns APC, there are some different ideologies rubbing elbows together. Even if, as it has been said, that effort might have different specific goals for how to complete our shared task. I think it’s a wonderful show of what more we can do together in Nation States, even at different ends of the R/D spectrum.

As Kuramia doesn’t see a closest ally, neither does she see a greatest enemy, in terms of regions, for Europeia. Rather she feels that ideologies such as Francoism are Europeia’s greatest enemy:

When I think of how enemies applies to Nation States, I don’t actually list regions or people. Those tend to shift and few people who play this game stay with one persona throughout their career. While at the moment there are specific people and groups who work against what Europeia works towards, I would rather focus on the ideas that are the enemies of Europeia and a lot of Nation States regions and players. Anti-UCR thought is a constant plague now that I don’t really recall seeing so much when I first played the game. Francoism is not only a call-out to real life atrocities, but is a concept in Nation States that makes my eyebrows twitch whenever I read about it. Nazism is definitely an enemy of everyone, and I’m proud to be a part of a region that actively fights against even someone thinking it’s “cool” to pretend to be part of. Those are everyone’s enemies in Nation States and definitely Europeia’s.

Kuramia believes that the thing Europeia does best is welcoming and integrating new arrivals to the region:

“I feel we’re the best at being welcoming. When someone new comes into the region with questions, not only do our citizens step up to greet them, but we guide them towards their interest, answer their questions, provide mentorship, and even reward them quite quickly when they show initiative to do a job or come up with an insight or idea themselves that shows they’ve taken the time to research our culture and laws. We’re love to give second chances too. They don’t always work out, but many people have broken our laws or just trolled too hard and have come back to rejoin us and get right back into the political game. I just feel like our community is a really good one – supportive and intelligent – and we work hard to keep it that way.

However, Kuramia is also aware that Europeia does have areas it can improve on, namely its habit of getting tangled up in its own internal politics:

Sometimes we get tangled up in our own politics. There’s an easy solution and we have to consider our current laws. Now we can be innovative, come up with solutions, but sometimes the political game will supersede those solutions. As a political region with a lot of people well versed in legalese, we can have some big egos. The debates can be infamous and well worth a read or getting involved in, but sometimes they can get heated, and it can be hard to draw back from them. I always advocate not being glued to the region 24/7. It’s okay to say ‘I need a break’ and stepping away from your computer or phone screen for a bit. The debate isn’t going to vanish in that amount of time.

Kuramia thinks the best way to combat this is for individuals to step up to the plate and make things happen, rather than squabbling about it:

When I ran my Star Wars Roleplay Guild, we had the same problem. Discussions would turn into debates and then arguments and then nonsensical, just plain mean words would be said. The other person would respond in kind, and before I knew it, the conversation started with the intent to improve things left people upset and taking LOAs for days at a time. I see the same thing with Europeia. The best way to show that something can work is to step up and do it. The President’s role in Europeia, and indeed any role that has Foreign Affairs at its center, is tense. That’s why the Executive Split has occurred. Still things are going to happen. I want to show that you don’t have to always be calm. You can have a situation in front of you and just want to smack the ‘oh gods no button’. What I was taught was that being ‘always on’ is not healthy. You need to step back. If you’re having to take LOA’s to step back, maybe teaching yourself how to step away in the moment is important for you.

Kuramia sees herself similar in style to hands on Presidents like HEM, Sopo and Writinglegend. However she also feels she differs, mainly in the fact that she took her time to finally make the step up to the presidency:

I started out slower than a lot of past presidents. People have been asking me for a couple terms now to step up to the Executive in this role, and I just didn’t feel ready at the time.  I was needed elsewhere or the specific needs of the role weren’t something I was strongly suited for at that time. I believe a lot of past Presidents stepped into the role as soon as it was a clear upward step for them.

It’s hard to say right now how I’m similar. I’ve never been President before. I’d say I’m similar to those Presidents like Sopo, Writinglegend, and  HEM in communicating directly with my staff. I want to be in the mix and have them feel comfortable speaking to me.

Kuramia believes that the biggest threat to regions across NationStates in general and Europeia specifically is anti UCR sentiment and the growing regionalism throughout the game:

This idea that UCRs and their members are an invasive species is one of the most ludicrous and appalling ideas I have read. Francoism stinks of fascism, and like fascism is a true threat to the game. They cannot seriously and effectively reason that UCRs and their people are a threat to them. Not when, in truth, UCRs and GCRs are the same. We both put governmental systems in place. We both worry about the security of our region. We both have established cultures. How are we different? It’s the same argument that fascism and Nazism brought forth to further their causes. As said by Hermann Goering at the Nuremberg Trials: ‘The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.’”

I found this a highly engaging interview with Kuramia. Kuramia seemed highly knowledgeable on a range of topics throughout. I see a bright future for Europeia, with the new reforms coming into force in the coming weeks and with Kuramia at the helm one cannot fail to see a renaissance for Europeia on the horizon. I wish to thank Kuramia for giving up so much of what must surely be a hectic schedule to give me this interview and hope you, the readers, find it as engaging and informative as I have.


Wymondham:

Hi Kuramia, Wymondham here from NationStates today. You have recently been elected as President of Europeia, what made you decide to run for president?

Kuramia:

The most important thing to a successful campaign is having everything lined up for that campaign. I felt like everything came together perfectly. I was ready, the region felt ready, and the timing aligned. I realized I had the time and energy necessary for the job’s full scope. I had people who could step into needed roles for my cabinet. Also I had a great person to act as a support and advisor in Pierce, who ran with me as Vice President. I approached people for my cabinet and as people accepted positions, I became more solid in my decision. My campaign finally formed in my mind and I set to writing my platform. I guess the biggest reason I ran was because it was finally an exciting prospect for me and not something to be unsure or scared of.

Wymondham:

Your job will become that of Chief of State on the 1st of March, what are your thoughts on the new role?

Kuramia:

I am most excited for the shift in the role of President to two separate positions: First Minister and Chief of Staff. I came into the role of President fully aware I would then transition to Chief of Staff. As a long-time lurker of NSGP, I know a lot of names and seen a lot of action from regions and people alike. My passion in Nation States has always been Foreign Affairs, and coming into Europeia and seeing an entire portion of it devoted to FA just makes sparkles shine in my eyes. I am quite excited to see what an Executive position devoted entirely to Foreign Affairs can do, and I am eager to test it. I’m just overall really excited! I think so much can be done, and the pressure to as much as possible is encouraging.

Wymondham:

    And you thoughts on the executive split as a whole?

Kuramia:

Before the split was being discussed, I didn’t want to step up to become President. It took so much time and energy that was split between two focuses. Even with help it was becoming apparent that being President either left one focus ignored or caused a critical crash in the system, so to speak. It felt like no one wanted the job anymore, and the effect was being felt throughout the entire region, especially in ministries where participation trickled to a stop. When the idea of the split was proposed, it felt like the region sighed with relief. This split is going to allow two people, working together for the good of the region, to focus on what the region needs to be successful inside and out. I think it’s just the beginning of what we can do with this system, and it’s going to be a thrilling start.

Wymondham:

Can you give our readers a brief summary of your time on NS

Kuramia:

Sure! I began playing Nation States in 2012. I started as most people do, casually answering issues, finding a place to roleplay as the people in my nation – made difficult by the fact that I preferred fantasy and medieval roleplay to the more modern warfare that occurs, and coming up with a pretty factbook for the region that still lies incomplete. I stopped playing for a couple years due to real life and not finding the kind of political roleplay I enjoyed. When I came back, I made a new nation, Kuramia, and began to look through the forums. That’s when I found the Game Play forum. I quickly became engrossed in the political soap opera that lovely section of our forums has always been. I liked this kind of politics, and I grew comfortable with how R/D played out. When I received the invite to join Europeia, I didn’t know I was getting into a political simulator unlike any other. I absolutely loved it. I had next to no experience with law or actual government structure other than what little education I’d already absorbed and a Business Law class in college. I decided what I wanted to accomplish in Europeia: Senator and Minister of Foreign Affairs, and I worked toward those accomplishments. Neither were easy to get, but that’s what made getting them even better. President has never truly been on my agenda, so reaching this pinnacle of Europeian politics is shocking…and humbling. I hope I never get used to the feeling.

Wymondham:

    What will your foreign policy goals as Chief of State be?

Kuramia:

I well remember an article that came out, declaring us as a great region to play politics in. I want to remind people we are still that kind of region. We have been developing tools to use outside our region that will continue to be used, but I also want to revisit tried and true  methods that have fallen to the wayside, though not through a lack of effort. To that end, the Europeian embassy will step back into the Game Play forums spotlight. I also wish to explore Independence in this new age of social media and a constant need to balance it with forum activity. I want to reach out to our Independent allies and figure out where we’re going. I think we’ve grown comfortable with where we were in the past, but I also think there is awareness that the new way people are forming connections has also shifted what Independence can be. I want to see if that shift is something to pursue. It seems like it should be. I also just want to be present in Game Play among other people and regions. I think former President Sopo did a great job of opening that door, and now that I’m allowed total focus there, I see no reason to let it shut.

Wymondham:

What Allies in particular do you feel are closest to Europeia?

Kuramia:

Anyone we have a treaty with is going to be a closest ally. Treaties aren’t the only thing that make allies close though, even if that closeness comes in just a moment. We have the The Bealtaine Accord, an agreement between different regions to just hold cultural events together and share cultural events in our regions with other regions in the accord. Also close allies are those that work with us toward a common goal. In that sense, we have a multitude of close allies in organizations such as WALL and the Anti-Pacific Coalition as well. Especially where it concerns APC, there are some different ideologies rubbing elbows together. Even if, as it has been said, that effort might have different specific goals for how to complete our shared task. I think it’s a wonderful show of what more we can do together in Nation States, even at different ends of the R/D spectrum.

Wymondham:

WALL has come under some fire recently, for a variety of reasons from a variety of sectors, what is you opinion on it as an organisation? Do the benefits outweigh the flack Europeia receives from certain quarters?

Kuramia:

I actually first learned of this “flak” in new political party that I helped found in Europeia. That party first had some anti-WALL feelings in it. I didn’t know much about WALL at the time or why it was given so much grief, and my first move, if we were going to be some kind of Anti-Wall political party, was to find out exactly why it was so bad. The only thing I’ve gotten out of the discourse is that it’s a voting block, and voting blocs are bad. We did retract our position as well, unable to settle on a good argument against WALL.

I just disagree that voting blocs are bad. It’s natural for people to gather around, discuss options and opinions, and collate those opinions into a singular voice. Now not everything natural is necessarily good, but I haven’t yet seen a argument against WALL that hasn’t just been ‘voting blocs are bad’. Maybe I’ve missed the detailed analytics occurring in the WALL debates, but so far I’ve seen nothing that convinces me WALL is an evil menace. What I do see is a group coming together, discussing the issues, and agreeing on a path forward. Seeing regions work together for a single cause is a great benefit and worthy of any “flak” Europeia might be getting – from people who’d still give us flak without WALL in all likelihood. It just shows that something like this can work, especially when someone wants to argue how groups like these usually fail.

Wymondham:

Who do you see as Europeia’s greatest enemy at the present time?

Kuramia:

When I think of how enemies applies to Nation States, I don’t actually list regions or people. Those tend to shift and few people who play this game stay with one persona throughout their career. While at the moment there are specific people and groups who work against what Europeia works towards, I would rather focus on the ideas that are the enemies of Europeia and a lot of Nation States regions and players. Anti-UCR thought is a constant plague now that I don’t really recall seeing so much when I first played the game. Francoism is not only a call-out to real life atrocities, but is a concept in Nation States that makes my eyebrows twitch whenever I read about it. Nazism is definitely an enemy of everyone, and I’m proud to be a part of a region that actively fights against even someone thinking it’s “cool” to pretend to be part of. Those are everyone’s enemies in Nation States and definitely Europeia’s.

Wymondham:

What do you feel Europeia is best at as a region?

Kuramia:

“I feel we’re the best at being welcoming. When someone new comes into the region with questions, not only do our citizens step up to greet them, but we guide them towards their interest, answer their questions, provide mentorship, and even reward them quite quickly when they show initiative to do a job or come up with an insight or idea themselves that shows they’ve taken the time to research our culture and laws. We’re love to give second chances too. They don’t always work out, but many people have broken our laws or just trolled too hard and have come back to rejoin us and get right back into the political game. I just feel like our community is a really good one – supportive and intelligent – and we work hard to keep it that way.

Wymondham:

And what is Europeia’s greatest weakness?

Kuramia:

Sometimes we get tangled up in our own politics. There’s an easy solution and we have to consider our current laws. Now we can be innovative, come up with solutions, but sometimes the political game will supersede those solutions. As a political region with a lot of people well versed in legalese, we can have some big egos. The debates can be infamous and well worth a read or getting involved in, but sometimes they can get heated, and it can be hard to draw back from them. I always advocate not being glued to the region 24/7. It’s okay to say ‘I need a break’ and stepping away from your computer or phone screen for a bit. The debate isn’t going to vanish in that amount of time.

Wymondham:

    How would you combat that weakness?

Kuramia:

When I ran my Star Wars Roleplay Guild, we had the same problem. Discussions would turn into debates and then arguments and then nonsensical, just plain mean words would be said. The other person would respond in kind, and before I knew it, the conversation started with the intent to improve things left people upset and taking LOAs for days at a time. I see the same thing with Europeia. The best way to show that something can work is to step up and do it. The President’s role in Europeia, and indeed any role that has Foreign Affairs at its center, is tense. That’s why the Executive Split has occurred. Still things are going to happen. I want to show that you don’t have to always be calm. You can have a situation in front of you and just want to smack the ‘oh gods no button’. What I was taught was that being ‘always on’ is not healthy. You need to step back. If you’re having to take LOA’s to step back, maybe teaching yourself how to step away in the moment is important for you.

Wymondham:

In what ways do you consider yourself similar to past presidents and in what ways do you differ

Kuramia:

I started out slower than a lot of past presidents. People have been asking me for a couple terms now to step up to the Executive in this role, and I just didn’t feel ready at the time.  I was needed elsewhere or the specific needs of the role weren’t something I was strongly suited for at that time. I believe a lot of past Presidents stepped into the role as soon as it was a clear upward step for them.

It’s hard to say right now how I’m similar. I’ve never been President before. I’d say I’m similar to those Presidents like Sopo, Writinglegend, and  HEM in communicating directly with my staff. I want to be in the mix and have them feel comfortable speaking to me.

Wymondham:

Final question, what is the greatest threat to regions across NS today in general and Europeia specifically

Kuramia:

This idea that UCRs and their members are an invasive species is one of the most ludicrous and appalling ideas I have read. Francoism stinks of fascism, and like fascism is a true threat to the game. They cannot seriously and effectively reason that UCRs and their people are a threat to them. Not when, in truth, UCRs and GCRs are the same. We both put governmental systems in place. We both worry about the security of our region. We both have established cultures. How are we different? It’s the same argument that fascism and Nazism brought forth to further their causes. As said by Hermann Goering at the Nuremberg Trials: ‘The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.’”

Wymondham:

Thank you very much for this interview Kuramia, I hope our readers enjoy this as much as I have

Kuramia:Oh, I hope so too! Thank you for interviewing me, Wymondham! It was an honor.

Wymondham

Wymondham has been in NationStates for over three years, and Osiris for most of that time. He is currently the Minister of Home Affairs in Pacifica, and previously served as the President in that region, as well as Chief Scribe of Osiris. He particularly enjoys interviewing influential people in NationStates, being the author of the Up Close & Personal series.