Leadership, Ethics, and Practice (LEAP) Initiative

About LEAP

Ambassador Reuben E. Brigety II, former Dean of the Elliott School of International Affairs, established the Leadership, Ethics, and Practice (LEAP) Initiative with the hope that every graduate would become a capable and effective international affairs practitioner. The goal of LEAP is to equip students with the professional skills – in addition to academic coursework – that they will need for career success.


Leadership is a critical component of professional success at each stage of a career in international affairs.

The Elliott School’s Leadership, Ethics, and Practice initiative aims to prepare students for those leadership challenges. The school will design new courses on leadership and the revise existing ones to emphasize leadership themes and topics.

Through coursework, guest speakers, internships, and other learning opportunities, the school’s goal is to prepare students to become successful leaders from the moment they enter the workforce.

Every student entering the world of international affairs will confront ethical challenges. Difficult and complex legal and moral questions will come up early and often.

The Leadership, Ethics, and Practice initiative will integrate the exploration and analysis of ethics topics throughout undergraduate and graduate education. In the classroom, the goal is to identify ethical issues appropriate to every subject and course and explore them through case studies or other instructional means.

The school will also design and offer courses specifically intended to address ethical issues, host speakers on ethics topics and establish a retreat on ethics issues for both incoming undergraduate and graduate students.

The Elliott School is already the leader among Schools in International Affairs, offering a unique and comprehensive set of skills courses designed to prepare graduate students for the workplace.

Nearly 40 skills courses encompassing Leadership, Teamwork, and Ethics; Policymaking and Policy Management (for example, Congress & Foreign Policy, and the Role of An Embassy Country Team); Analysis (including Red Team analysis, Gaming & Simulations, Project Management & Evaluation) and Communication (including Writing for Policymakers, Formal Briefing, Grant Proposal Writing, Speechwriting, & Editing) are already on offer.

Under the guidance of a new Advisory Group on Professional and Practitioner Skills, the Leadership, Ethics and Practice initiative will carry out a course review. Its aim will be to build upon the school’s record of success to devise the most effective skills program for the future work environment and to extend skills offerings to undergraduate students.

Advisory Committee

The Leadership, Ethics, and Practice Initiative Advisory Committee consists of alumni and friends of the Elliott School.

The group’s first meeting in March 20 and second on Nov. 15, 2018, provided insights into skills course analysis, freshman initiatives, crisis simulations, and direction to the LEAP Initiative.


LEAP Student Advisory Council

The LEAP Student Advisory Council held its inaugural meeting on July 24, 2020. LEAP Director Chris Kojm emphasized the importance of moving from a top-down to a bottom-up model, with students themselves taking on leadership roles. The 30 student participants in the Council – representing Elliott School undergraduate and graduate students, including mid-career students and recent alumni – put forward ideas on speakers and programs, with a strong emphasis on diversity and inclusion of a wide range of foreign affairs professionals. The Council looks forward to holding monthly meetings.