Leadership, Ethics, and Practice (LEAP) Initiative

About LEAP

Photo: LEAP Director Chris Kojm

Dean Brigety’s vision for the Elliott School is for every graduate to become capable and effective international affairs practitioner.

He has established the Leadership, Ethics, and Practice (LEAP) Initiative to equip students with the professional skills – in addition to academic coursework – that they will need for career success.

The school has appointed Professor Christopher A. Kojm as Director for this Initiative.

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 opens its Speaker Series to student participation, and inaugurates the Student Panel 2019

The Leadership, Ethics, and Practice Initiative at the Elliott School sponsors two speaker series “Why Ethics Matter,” and “Leadership in International Affairs: Lessons Learned.”  Outstanding recent speakers have included former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former Ambassador Prudence Bushnell, and former Vice Chief of Naval Operations and Admiral Michelle Howard (ret.), who is now the Shapiro Visiting Professor at the Elliott School.

Now it is your turn! The LEAP initiative is pleased to announce that we will be opening our Speaker series to student participation. We invite Elliott School students, both graduate and undergraduate, to participate in a Spring 2019 Student Panel that will take place Wednesday, April 17.  

Please submit statements describing insights and experiences from your academic and professional path that inform your understanding of leadership and ethics in international affairs. Faculty and student peers are also welcome to nominate students whom they believe would be excellent candidates for the panel. This will be exciting!

Please fill out this form to apply and this form to nominate a peer by March 15th. Any submission received after this date will not be reviewed. If you have any questions, please email us. 

Human rights expert joins Elliott School faculty

The Elliott School of International Affairs recently appointed a visiting Associate Professor of Ethics and International Relations, Dr. Noam Schimmel. His areas of expertise include reparative justice in Rwanda, the politics of human rights at the UN Human Rights Council, rhetoric, and human rights.

He has published on a range of human rights topics including reparative justice for survivors of genocide, the rights of children, indigenous people, and genocide survivors as well as on development efforts to alleviate poverty and engender and sustain human security. He currently teaches "Human Rights Narratives."

Elliott School adds 2 new gender-related courses

The Elliott School is pleased to announce the introduction of two new gender-related professional skills courses: Gender Monitoring and Evaluation, and Gender Responsive Budgeting.

At the fall 2018 Advisory Committee Meeting, Dr. Shirley Graham, Director of the Gender Equality Initiative in International Affairs, spoke to the importance of gender analysis in international affairs. She highlighted its critical role in peacekeeping operations and international development, and the employment opportunities for Elliott School graduates with these skills.