Data Analytics for Policy Professionals

Bridging Data Science with International Affairs and Public Policy


Professors Emmanuel Teitelbaum and Laila Sorurbakhsh discuss data visualizations with Elliott School graduate students and International Affairs practitioners (left to right) Chris Markiewicz, Chiara Evelti, Uugangerel Bold, and Briana Doyle.

Data Analytics for Policy Professionals (DAPP) is an executive education program that aims to bridge the gap between data science and traditional analysis in international affairs and public policy. Broadly speaking, our goal is to take the lead in providing our current and future policymakers with the modern analytic tools they need to revolutionize policy in information-rich environments. By empowering policy professionals to harness their organization’s data, we can help them to improve the flow of their daily operations, deepen their understanding of policy, and provide evidence-based recommendations for best policy practices.


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Data Literacy

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Data Proficiency

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Data Fluency

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Data Mastery

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Policy Excellence


We offer a range of upskilling courses designed to complement rather than supplant traditional policy analysis. We aim to empower policy professionals in their current roles and promote policy excellence through mastery of basic data science skills. But we also understand that the definition of “mastery” is relative. For some, mastery may entail simply understanding the basic intuition behind a given technique or skill, whereas for others it will involve developing a fully functional model or application. We therefore strive to be inclusive by offering courses targeted at learners with different skill sets while ensuring that every student in every course learns something new.





Our Mission

To bridge data science with international affairs and public policy

To upskill domestic and foreign policy practitioners from data literacy to proficiency, fluency, and mastery to achieve policy excellence

To revolutionize policy through evidence-based approaches that combine content expertise with analytic skills





How it works: 

All workshops feature:

  • Elliott School-affiliated faculty
  • Live, synchronous sessions and hands-on projects
  • Feedback on assignments and discussions
  • Credit-bearing options for lifelong learners
  • Guest speakers and collaborative opportunities
  • A culminating keynote and networking event
How to Apply

Online Application

To apply, go to the application portal and select 'I am a graduate or non-degree student.' You will be prompted to create a username, confirm your email address, and then create a password. Once these steps are completed, you will be able to log in and start a new application.

On the first page of the application, choose the following options (each field must be selected before the following field options will populate):

  • What type of program are you applying to? Non-Degree
  • School: Summer & Non-Degree Programs
  • Field of Study: Data Analytics for Policy Professionals
  • Degree: Non-Degree
  • Concentration: Not Applicable
  • Term: [Whichever term the course you wish to take is in; currently accepting applications for Fall 2023]

Required Information

In addition to basic demographic information, the application asks for the following:

  • Campus (on campus or online)
  • Transcripts from all completed and in progress degrees
  • If you have earned or are earning a graduate degree
  • Resume (upload as PDF)
  • Statement of interest asking, "In a brief paragraph, please explain which course(s) you're interested in and what skills you hope to develop." (upload as PDF)

There is no application fee for this program.

Courses Starting Fall 2023

Applications will open soon. In the meantime, you can express your interest by reaching out to [email protected]

The Elliott School will potentially start offering credentials based on these workshops. More information coming soon!

Start your application

IAFF 6505 Visualizing and Modeling International Politics

Level: Beginner/Intermediate

Dates/Times: Friday 10/27, 5-9pm; Sat 10/28, 8am-4pm; Sun 10/29, 9am-12pm; Networking event Friday, 12/1 from 5:30-8:30pm

Credits: 1.5 credit

Professor: Emmanuel Teitelbaum, ESIA 

Skills learned: R, Tidyverse


Description: The ability to visualize your data is a fundamental skill increasingly required in virtually every professional or academic context. Data visualization is a key first step of any compelling statistical analysis, but frequently a good visualization can be in and of itself enough to persuade your audience of your main point. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then how many regression tables is a well-crafted plot worth? In this class, we will learn to create a variety of visualizations including line charts, bar charts, scatter plots and maps with the Tidyverse group of packages in the R programming language. We will use ggplot2 to create bar charts, line charts, scatter plots, and choropleth maps. The class will explore how to make interactive maps with popups and markers using the leaflet package. Along the way, we will learn to utilize a number of Tidyverse packages including dplyr and tidyr to wrangle data into the correct form for visualization. Examples will be pertinent to the field of International Affairs and we will learn to use packages that enable us to download data from social science APIs like the Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) dataset and the World Bank.  We will also host a guest lecture connecting the work you do in this class to the work you do as an international affairs or public policy practitioner.


IAFF 6505 Expert Policy Decision Making Using Data

Level: Beginner

Dates/Times: Thursday, 11/9, 5-9pm, Friday, 11/10, 5-9pm, Saturday 11/11, 8am-4pm; Networking event Friday, 12/1 from 5:30-8:30pm

Professor: Leonardo Antenangeli, ESIA;  Dan Spokojny, CEO of fp21

Skills learned: R/Posit


Description: This course blends the “how” with the “why”: Why do we need to learn data analysis for the practice of foreign and domestic policymaking, and how do these skills add value to the quality of policy we produce and implement?  This course will not only help you familiarize yourself with the R programming language and R Studio integrated development environment (IDE), but it will also discuss how these skills can be used to benefit strategic policy thinking and expert-level decision making.  Statistical analysis is critical for effective, evidence-based policy making, and R counts itself among the highly sought after skills in the policy realm. R is an open source, analytic tool that benefits from several contributions (“packages'' or “libraries”) made by independent researchers. In this class you will learn the fundamentals needed to create effective R scripts, run basic analyses, and troubleshoot (or debug) your code.


Future Courses in the Series, Starting Spring 2024:

Creating and Automating Data-Rich Reports

Learn to use Quarto for integration of narrative text with code to create compelling reports, articles, books, presentations, blogs, websites, and knowledge repositories.

Communicating Your Data with Interactive Apps and Dashboards

An introduction to interactive web apps with Shiny, an open-source web application framework that enables you to create interactive web-based visualizations and dashboards directly from your code.

Monitoring and Evaluation for Public Policy and International Affairs

Learn to evaluate the effects of a policy intervention with modern social scientific tools.

Ethics, AI & Machine Learning

Learn to mitigate bias and maximize ethical approaches to predictive modeling while learning the fundamentals of ML and AI using Python.

Forecasting with Time Series

Learn to predict trends and the likelihood of future events using intervention analysis and forecasting models like exponential smoothing and ARIMA.

Survey and Experimental Design for Public Policy and International Affairs

Learn to develop surveys and run experiments the right way to maximize the accuracy of your research.

Mapping Data: GIS for Presentations

An introduction to the processes of geospatial analysis and map making.

Storytelling with Your Organization’s Data

Learn to create Tableau dashboards to display and analyze your data.

Faculty Biographies

Laila Sorurbakhsh; Assistant Dean of Academic Programs; Assistant Professor of International Affairs; Director of Online Education; Co-Founder/Co-Director of the Data Literacy Initiative
Laila Sorurbakhsh

Laila Sorurbakhsh holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Houston (2012) with specializations in Comparative Politics, American Politics and Quantitative Methods. Her dissertation, entitled “Feedback in the EU Advocacy System,” studies how institutional, environmental, and structural changes to the European Union have impacted interest group populations via their levels of competitiveness and survivability, and was nominated for the Ernst B. Haas Best Dissertation Award. Her current research focuses on NGOs, particularly the integration of risk, research, innovation, and uncertainty in policymaking.  She is an Assistant Professor of International Affairs at George Washington University’s Elliott School, where she also holds positions as Assistant Dean of Academic Programs and Director of Online Education.

DLI courses: Ethics, AI & Machine Learning; Forecasting with Time Series and Interventions; Data-Driven Diplomacy; Expert Policy Decision Making Using Data


Emmanuel Teitelbaum; John O. Rankin Professor of International Affairs; Director of the Masters of International Affairs (MAIA) program; Co-Founder/Co-Director of the Data Literacy Initiative
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Emmanuel Teitelbaum is the John O. Rankin Professor of International Affairs at George Washington University. Professor Teitelbaum serves as a managing editor for the Journal of Development Studies. His writings examine class politics and political violence. His academic articles have appeared in leading journals such as the American Journal of Political Science, World Politics, Comparative Political Studies, Political Research Quarterly, Politics and Society, and the Journal of Development Studies. His book, Managing Dissent: Democracy and Industrial Conflict in Post-Reform South Asia (Cornell University Press), explores the dynamics of state-labor relations and industrial conflict following the implementation of neoliberal economic reforms in India and Sri Lanka. Professor Teitelbaum’s research has received support from the United States Institute of Peace, the National Science Foundation, the Fulbright Foundation and the Social Science Research Council. He was the recipient of the 2007 Gabriel Almond Award for Best Dissertation in Comparative Politics. He holds a Ph.D. from Cornell University and a B.A. from John Carroll University.

DLI courses: Visualizing and Modeling International Politics; Creating Data Rich Reports; Communicating Data with Web Apps

Explore more of his work!


Eric Kramon; Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs
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Eric Kramon received his PhD in political science from UCLA and was a post-doctoral fellow at the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law at Stanford University. His research focuses on clientelism, ethnic politics, electoral accountability, and judicial politics in new democracies, with a regional focus on Africa. Professor Kramon’s book on clientelism during elections, Money for Votes (Cambridge University Press), was awarded the African Politics Conference Group’s award for the best book published in 2018. His work has received funding from the National Science Foundation, the International Growth Centre, and the Evidence in Governance and Politics (EGAP) Metaketa initiative, and has been published in outlets such as the American Political Science Review, the American Journal of Political Science, World Politics, Comparative Political Studies, the British Journal of Political Science, the Quarterly Journal of Political Science, and Science Advances.

DLI courses: Monitoring & Evaluation for PPIA; Survey and Experimental Designs for PPIA


Leonardo Antenangeli; Professional Lecturer, ESIA
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Leonardo Antenangeli received his PhD in Political Science from the University of Houston in 2018. His research focuses on anti-corruption and transparency in political institutions, with a special focus on the US and Brazil.  He has previously held positions at the Hobby School of Public Policy at the University of Houston, and as a Statistician in the Office of Justice Programs at the Department of Justice.  He is currently serving as a Statistician in the Department of Labor’s Chief Evaluation Office.

DLI courses: Expert Foreign Policy Decision-Making Using Data



Dan Spokojny; CEO and Founder of Fp21; Professional Lecturer, ESIA
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Dan Spokojny has served in government for over a decade as a U.S. Foreign Service Officer and a legislative staffer in Congress. He served on the governing board of the American Foreign Service Association. Dan is finishing his Ph.D. in political science at the University of California, Berkeley, focusing on the role of expertise in foreign policy. He lives in Washington, D.C.. 


DLI courses: Expert Foreign Policy Decision-Making Using Data




Adam Wunische; Professional Lecturer, ESIA & CCAS
Headshot of Adam Wunische

Adam Wunische received his Ph.D from Boston College and has written on topics ranging from pedagogy, U.S. foreign policy, and military/security affairs. Previously, Adam was a researcher for the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft in Washington D.C. and the International Institute for Strategic Studies. He also was a Sergeant serving in the U.S. Army from 2005 to 2010, completing two deployments to Afghanistan.

DLI courses: Mapping Data: GIS for Presentations







Paul Albert; Professional Lecturer, ESIA
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Paul Albert has spent over 30 years helping large public organizations do more with their data.  Since retiring from Tableau in 2017, he has been offering workshops on how to analyze and visualize data to make better evidence-based policy recommendations.  He has taught more than 200 workshops to over 2,000 students on ways to achieve a greater professional impact using data. He is currently an Appointed Board Member of Tableau’s Tableau for Teaching Worldwide Advisory Board and holds a Master of Public Management degree from University of Maryland.

DLI courses: Storytelling with Your Organization’s Data



Submit your application by November 1st to qualify for a special introductory scholarship for the fall 2023 class: $1,500 per 1.5 credit workshop*

*Reduced from $2,080 standard 1-credit non-degree rate


There is no application fee for this program.


Contact Us

Call: (202)-994-9315

Location: 1957 E St. NW, 501-J, Washington, D.C., 20052