Global Capstone

 

Global Capstone is the culminating experience and signature project for Elliott School graduate students from the International Affairs, Security Policy Studies, Global Communication, and Asian Studies programs. Every year, approximately 250 students in 13 different thematic sections collaborate with client organizations to identify policy solutions to current global challenges. Capstone teams conduct in-depth policy analysis, often involving field-research trips to foreign countries, and present policy recommendations to some of the most prestigious institutions in Washington, DC. Previous Global Capstone clients have included the US Department of State, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), The World Bank Group, and other exceptional private, public, and non-profit organizations.

 

Global Map of locations students have travelled for their Global Capstone

 


Learning Outcomes

Capstone projects will employ academic knowledge, original research, and professional skills in a culminating project. Over the duration of the capstone, students will:

  • Enhance their knowledge of a policy issue and identify the key actors and dynamics involved

  • Design and execute a policy-oriented research project

  • Identify and utilize appropriate quantitative and qualitative research methods

  • Cultivate effective teamwork and work-related negotiation skills

  • Strengthen time-management skills to meet target dates

  • Develop project management, formal briefing, and analytic skills

 


Requirements

The Capstone program is usually completed in the second year of graduate study at the Elliott School.

During the fall semester, students register for the IAFF 6898 Capstone Workshop; in this course, students form groups, select topics, and develop client partnerships and project proposals.

In the final semester, students register for the IAFF 6899 Capstone Course; in this course, the majority of the policy research is completed. In late April, students present their findings to peers, faculty, and clients in a culminating Global Capstone event.

 



Project Examples

Cutout of George Alexandre RaskovicGeorge Alexandre Raskovic

What was the name of your capstone project?

Regulation, E-Commerce, and MSME Growth in Indonesia

 

Briefly describe your project and findings.

We produced a policy proposal for the US-ASEAN Business Council outlining strategies that intermediary companies can have in digitalizing the MSME sector of Indonesia.

 

How might the work you did on your capstone project apply to your employment/career?

We performed field research in Indonesia, meeting with representatives of the Indonesian government, US embassy, MSME associations and local business owners. This experience provided the team with a unique insight into Indonesia’s rapidly expanding MSME sector, and the role that intermediary companies can play in catalyzing their digitalization.  

 

Who was your client organization?

US-ASEAN Business Council

 

What was your program?

International Affairs and Development

 

What is your current position and employer?

Recent graduate looking for opportunities in Government Relations and Sustainable Development.

Cutout of Briana SuarezBriana Suarez

What was the name of your capstone project?

Media and Movements: Media Consumption and Political Activism in Venezuela

 

Briefly describe your project and findings.

Our capstone explored Venezuelan media consumption from January to December of 2017. It sought to define a correlation between media consumption and political unrest to better inform policymakers on the impetus of increased civic engagement, protest, and violence.
 

How might the work you did on your capstone project apply to your employment/career?

The communication skills and flexibility I developed during the project are ones in high demand, especially in the international affairs realm.

 

Who was your client organization?

Washington Office of Latin America (WOLA)

 

What was your program?

Security Policy Studies

 

What is your current position and employer?

Diversity and Inclusion Fellow at the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs (APSIA)

Cutout of Sara BautistaSara Bautista

What was the name of your capstone project?

Electing Women: Transnational Populations and Gender Electoral Quotas

 

Briefly describe your project and findings.

Explores the intersectionality of gender and immigration within candidate pools for legislative elections. In general, a voluntary party electoral gender quota appears insufficient as a method to increase the representation of transnational women candidates in national elections. Further- sex, age & ethnicity disaggregated data on national electoral candidates is needed.

 

How might the work you did on your capstone project apply to your employment/career?

The technical and theoretical skills that applied my capstone project directly relates to my career as an international professional. Technically, I performed in-depth, analytical research on international practices; interviewed a member of parliament; and co-authored the final report. Theoretically, I applied a gender lens to a broader issue.

 

What was your program?

M.A. International Affairs; Global Gender Policy

 

What is your current position and employer?

Director of Social Media at Women Enabled International

Riker Pasterkiewicz

Riker Pasterkiewicz 

Briefly describe your project and findings.

My project assessed whether there were active disinformation campaigns and the potential weaknesses in Caribbean countries.

 

How might the work you did on your capstone project apply to your employment/career?

Every day I use digital methods to amplify the work that my organization does. As the world moves quickly to having everything digitized it is critical that we ensure that people in the United States and around the world are able to discern fact from fiction on digital platforms.

 

Who was your client organization?

U.S. Department of State

 

What was your program?

Global Communication

 

What is your current position and employer?

Communications Manager, New America


Faculty


 

Client Information

Working with clients is a fundamental aspect of the Capstone. The principal client deliverable is a report that identifies a clear policy action for the client, an argument for the policy action, or a policy-based deliverable that can be implemented by the client.

Working with an Elliott School Capstone team offers clients:

  • Research and analysis on a timely policy issue

  • Professional consulting from a team of diverse professionals

  • Innovative thinking from graduate students of a world-class international affairs program