International Affairs

IAFF 6101-6119; IAFF 6501

IAFF 6101 International Affairs Cornerstone
The International Affairs Cornerstone is required for all incoming students in the Elliott School's International Affairs graduate program. It's two, inter-related parts introduce students to ways of thinking about international affairs, apply these different perspectives to concrete policy areas, and strives to provide a greater appreciation of the range of issues future practitioners in international affairs will grapple with in the 21st century.

IAFF 6102 Global Gender Policy
This seminar provides an analytical review of policies and programs aimed at improving the lives and status of women and girls in four general areas: health, education, rights, and security. The focus is on developing countries, especially fragile states and post-conflict countries. Specific issues explored include access to health-promoting resources such as food and clean water, providing for girls' education in post-conflict situations, the feasibility of conditional cash transfers in fragile states and humanitarian crises, cell phones for women's empowerment and protection, strengthening women's political participation, gender justice, and preventing gender-based violence. Two cross-cutting issues are how international aid (at the global level) and gender capital (at the local level) can be better mobilized to improve the lives of women and girls.

IAFF 6118 Special Topics in International Affairs

Africa in World Politics / Politics of East Africa and the Horn
The objectives of this course are, first, to enable students to understand the fundamental contours of politics in the countries of East Africa and the Horn; and second, to discern what is distinctive about the basic fabric of politics in each country and what each shares in this regard with other countries in the region, with sub-Saharan Africa as a whole, and more generally with the countries of the Global South. The third objective is to deepen students' awareness of a range of critically important, theoretically significant, policy issues, common to the countries of sub-Saharan Africa, as they have manifested themselves in East Africa and the Horn. These include, but are not limited to, the challenges of
1) weak or failing states,
2) advancement of democratization and human rights,
3) socioeconomic development with equity,
4) mediation of ethnic conflicts that are both cause and effect of state weakness and skewed or weak development, and
5) effective engagement with a rapidly changing international political and economic order on each of these challenges.

International Organizations and International Norms
This course is designed to provide students with a clear understanding and appreciation for the normative role of international organizations in establishing international law and a rule-based global system for the conduct of international relations. It examines the historical, institutions, and functional/programmatic development and evolution of contemporary international organizations (IOs) and selected regional organizations (ROs). The course will examine the principles, organizational characteristics, functions, constraints, activities and central role of the United Nations system, as well as the role of other selected IOs and ROs in the global political and security architecture; and will highlight some of the institutional, structural, and operational issues which have a bearing on their level of effectiveness. Throughout the course, United States interest in advancing the norm-setting roles and agendas of IOs will be highlighted.

Pakistan and the Radical Islamic Threat
This course takes an in-depth look at contemporary Pakistan and how it came to be that way, with particular emphasis on the rise of radical Islam and the potential threat this poses to U.S. interests. In explicating Pakistan we will concentrate on three key factors: its obsession with India, the feudal nature of the political system, and the overarching role of the Army. These factors explain both why Pakistan has never become a truly functioning democracy and why political Islam had never caught on as a mass movement, despite the recent rise of radical Islam. That rise can itself be explained in terms of the same dynamic, through a feudal-Army consensus to use the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistani-based jihadists in Kashmir in their zero sum competition with India. The course will draw on contemporary events and personal experience of the instructor.

Reinventing the United Nations
In light of the failures of the United Nations in the management of global affairs, the purpose of this course is to explore what must be done to develop the next generation of international institutions, capable of addressing the global problems of the future. In answering this question, this course will investigate the scope of collective international action, rate the functionality of existing institutions and propose changes and processes that might make the international system more effective.

Research Methods in Global Gender Issues
This course uses a gendered perspective to examine research pertaining to global development. Students will critically consider the best research approaches for different circumstances and will conduct analyses with existing data sets and relevant methods of data collection. 

Rising China & Africa
This course looks at the totality of the China-Africa relationship both historically and looking to the future. There is a special emphasis on the security interests of China in Africa's 54 countries. The course includes both North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa. The key text is China and Africa: A Century of Engagement by David H. Shinn and Joshua Eisenman (U Penn Pr, 2012). There are supplemental readings. Each student is asked to write a research paper on an approved topic and make a five to ten minute oral presentation on one of the seminar class topics beginning with the third week.

Women, War and Peace

This course thematically examines gendered aspects of the peace-conflict-peace continuum, with a critical examination of approaches to international peace and security adopted at international levels. Focuses on how the conceptual lens of gender, gender relations and gender equality is critical to understanding the dynamics of war and promoting peace-building and post-war recovery. Covers issues such as: masculinities, femininities and militarization; global laws, policies and normative approaches to international security such as the UN Security Council women, peace and security resolutions; gender issues related to combatancy and demobilization of armed actors; wartime gender-based violence; the post-war context and transitional justice. It will focus on a number of case study contexts globally and will draw on feminist and gender theory while also examining policy and practice approaches to addressing the gendered aspects of war and peace.  Active participation of students in discussion-based classes is expected.

International Affairs Capstone – IAFF 6119

During their last semester, students apply the analytical frameworks, and professional writing, research, and leadership skills acquired during their M.A. International Affairs curriculum in a one-credit capstone course analyzing a contemporary policy issue.
Previously held Capstones include:

The Arctic: New Frontier for Energy, Environment, and Development
Global warming is melting ice caps and icebergs at various Arctic sites at a higher rate than elsewhere on the planet. This warming is having a major impact on the exploration of additional sources of offshore petroleum and natural gas, as the discovery of new mineral resources, the opening of new Arctic shipping channels, and most importantly the life of indigenous populations and the survival of animals from polar bears and seals to all the creatures in the food chain of Arctic waters. In groups, students will examine the interdisciplinary problems that are emerging due to climate change and its affect on the Arctic region.

The Conduct of American Foreign Policy Abroad: Authorities of the Ambassador and the Roles and Presence of Multiple U.S. Government Agencies Abroad
In recent decades the conduct of American foreign policy abroad has become more complicated and complex with the proliferation of U.S. Government agencies abroad. This expansion of an overseas presence comes both as a consequence of global interest in an expanding array of critical transnational issues (terrorism, security, the environment, international crime, human rights, for example) and as a result of legislation that granted new authority and responsibilities to agencies to operate globally. The expansion of interests and legal authorities challenges the traditional conduct of U.S. diplomacy abroad — historically led by the U.S. ambassador (and the Department of State). This Capstone course will provide students the opportunity to examine challenges to the conduct of U.S. foreign policy by the proliferation of U.S. Government agencies abroad with their new authorities. Specifically, the focus will be on the interface between the Ambassador and the representatives of other (non-State) US executive branch agencies, such as the CIA, the military, law enforcement agencies, and in the economic arena: Treasury, USTR, Commerce, and USAID.

Corruption and its Impact on Economic Development
This capstone project will focus on the issue of corruption in developing countries. Students will work in teams to select one country and examine their experience with corruption, its level and type (state capture vs. administrative), efforts by the government to control corruption, and success/failure in these efforts. The country papers will look at the role of foreign donors and the World Bank in assisting the government, and other factors pushing on the government to exert control (or not) over corruption. The paper will also look at measures of corruption, and how the country ranks vs. other countries as well as the impact of corruption on economic growth, investment, and foreign trade.

International Sanctions: Design, Implementation and Enforcement
The central theme of this capstone course is to explore economic and social development issues faced by global city-regions worldwide, as relevant elements for policy formulation at both a national and supra-national levels. The objective of the course is to stimulate students on critical thinking about key development constraints and policy areas oriented to foster social and economic performance of global city-regions. The course will compare city-region cases in developed countries, examining social and economic characteristics and policy challenges. The students will also study the approaches, instruments and evaluation techniques for development policies. Working in 3-person teams, the students will analyze a city-region case (or city-region major policy theme) and prepare a policy paper addressing key development problems and solutions of the chose city-region case.

Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Capacity Building
International donors have begun to focus post-conflict reconstruction efforts on capacity building. One key actor whose capacity is crucial to a stable country is the institution which supports and administers and, hence, enables the delivery of government services. Capacity is not only about training individuals, but also about building institutions. This process is ridden with internal and external challenges- particularly those perpetrated by regional dynamics. In this Capstone, students will conduct research that identifies the key components of regional challenges in the building of security institutions.

Topics in International Finance
With the advent of financial globalization and the evolving global economic and financial crisis, developed, developing and transition economies have experienced major changes in both domestic and external environments. The profound transformation in international and domestic political and economic scenes have redefined country relations and financing from international finance institutions (e.g., the IMF and the World Bank) as well as the access of countries to international capital markets and aid flows. Post 9/11, security concerns affecting international finance have reinforced efforts to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism. The financial market upheavals caused by global financial imbalances and asymmetric information between lenders and borrowers calls for stiffer regulation and supervision and for cross-border banks, a global "early warning" system, and an overhaul of the IMF.

U.S.-Pakistan Relations: An Examination of U.S. Policy Creation on Pakistan
The relationship between the United States and Pakistan over the past few decades can best be described as complicated. This capstone will provide students the opportunity to discuss challenges to the U.S. policy and decision-making process on Pakistan and the inherent tensions between the agencies in the Executive Branch and Congress. Students will examine the process within the U.S. government for developing Pakistan foreign policy and make executive level policy recommendations on the way forward on Pakistan.

IAFF 6501 Quantitative Analysis for International Affairs Practitioners
This course is designed to further the understanding of the assumptions that underlie quantitative analysis, to disentangle proper and improper uses of statistical evidence, and to ask intelligent questions about the validity of quantitative measurement and statistical methods. The student will become competent in using SPSS to manipulate data sets, graphically represent data and analyses and perform statistical computations such as probability calculations, comparing samples to populations and sample distributions to other sample distributions (use of z-scores and t-tests). Multiple linear regression will also be covered. This course assumes a minimal mathematical background, but will involve little difficult math, despite fairly abstract material.