LEAP Events

Speaker Series

Ambassador Bill Taylor speaks with Dr. Chris Kojm at a LEAP event
Dean Alyssa Ayres with Chris Kojm and three other 9/11 Commission members
Tino Cuellar speaks with two people

The Leadership, Ethics, and Practice Initiative at the Elliott School sponsors two speaker series: “Why Ethics Matter” and “Leadership in International Affairs: Lessons Learned." Poignant speakers have included Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch(former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine), Ambassador Prudence Bushnell (former U.S. Ambassador to Guatemala and Kenya), and Mr. John Roth (former Chief Federal Corruption Prosecutor at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C.). These speakers impart candid leadership advice, tell of ethical challenges they have faced in their careers, and describe the practical skills Elliott Students require for professional success.

Upcoming Events

Please email [email protected] if you would like your organization to partner with the Leadership, Ethics, and Practice Initiative.

Past Events (Last 2 Semesters)

Fall 2022

  • Wednesday, November 2nd, “The Movement and the Madman.” A private screening and Q&A on a film that reveals how two antiwar demonstrations in the fall of 1969 helped prevent a massive escalation of the U.S. war in Vietnam, including the threatened use of nuclear weapons. 
  • Thursday, October 27th, “Are We Safer Today?” with Jason Grumet and members of the 9/11 Commission, including Commissioners Richard Ben-Veniste, Fred Fielding, John Lehman, and Tim Roemer. Following an exclusively premiered 60-minute Director’s Cut, members of the 9/11 Commission reunited to reflect on the largest investigation in US history and to assess our nation’s progress over the last 20 years. 
  • Tuesday, October 18th, “A Diplomat of Consequence: Ebenezer D. Bassett: America's First Black Diplomat” with Christopher Teal, Stacy Williams, and Celeste Robertson. A screening and discussion about Bassett's leadership and how it opened pathways for other African Americans into careers in U.S. diplomacy. 
  • Thursday, October 13th, “The Only Latina in the Room” with Tahina Montoya, Leonor Tomero, Dr. Fabiana Sofia Perera, and Maj. Gen. Linda R. Urrutia-Varhall. A panel discussion with national security experts who reflected on their careers in the National Security and Security Policy fields and what it means to thrive as Latinas in a male-dominated industry. 
  • Wednesday, October 12th, “America's Great-Power Opportunity: Revitalizing U.S. Foreign Policy to Meet the Challenges of Strategic Competition” with Ali Wyne. A discussion with Ali Wyne, senior analyst with Eurasia Group's Global Macro-Geopolitics practice, on his new book on how United States foreign policy should respond to the critical challenges of our time, including China’s rise, Russian disruption and the increasingly close relationship between these two authoritarian powers. 
  • Tuesday, October 11th, “OUT in International Affairs Roundtable.” A roundtable discussion with scholars and practitioners, undergraduates, graduates, faculty, staff, alumni, and allies from GW and across the national capital region on resilience, authenticity, and pride and advancing LGBTQI+ equality both in the university and in the field. 
  • Tuesday, October 4th, “Dialogos Hispanos” with Dr. Manuel "Tino" Cuellar. A discussion with Dr. Cuellar, the first president of the Carnegie Endowment of International Peace of Hispanic/Latin heritage, on his journey and life experiences with students and what it meant for him to be a Hispanic legal scholar and International Affairs Practitioner in the United States.  Tuesday, October 4th, “Voices from Exile” with Carlos Berenstein, Elvira Maria Restrepo, Cristina Espinel, Diana Fula, and Humberto Garces. A discussion on the Final Report of the Colombian Truth Commission with a commissioner on the commission, survivors of exile, and GW Professor of International Affairs. 
  • Monday, October 3rd, “Lessons From the Edge” with Ambassador (Ret.) Marie Yovanovitch. A discussion with Ambassador Yovanovitch as she explores her career as an Ambassador, her leadership, and the ethical challenges she faced as U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine (2016-2019).
  • Thursday, September 15th, “Book Launch: The Young Black Leader's Guide to a Successful Career in International Affairs” with Aaron S. Williams, Taylor A. Jack, and Jennifer M. Brinkerhoff. A book launch and discussion with the three coauthors of “The Young Black Leader’s Guide,” which gives practical advice on the many challenges that often deter young people of color from considering, pursuing, and succeeding in careers in international affairs. 
  • Monday, September 12th, “Creating an Ethical Culture in the Real World” with John Roth. A discussion with John Roth, Vice President for Ethics and Investigations at Fannie Mae, as he gave his thoughts on how ethics works in large, complex organizations based on his experience at DHS and Fannie Mae, and helped students who want to practice in both the public and private sectors can obtain insight on navigating the complexities of ethics and leadership, especially when placed in challenging circumstances. 

Spring 2022

  • Wednesday, April 27th, “The Role of Cities in International Affairs: What Should International Affairs Schools Teach Future Leaders?" Panelists included: Ambassador Nina Hachigian, who was appointed by Mayor Eric Garcetti as the first Deputy Mayor of International Affairs; Penny Abeywardena, who served as New York City Commissioner for International Affairs from 2014 to 2021; Dr. Ian Klaus, senior fellow on global cities and foreign policy at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs;  and Luis Renta, who leads the Walmart PolicyLab, and previously served as Assistant Executive Director at the United States Conference of Mayors, where he oversaw International Affairs and Trade Policy.  Dean Alyssa Ayres moderated the discussion. Cosponsored the University Seminar Series.
  • Friday, April 15th, "Spiritual Warfare: The Role of the Russian Orthodox Church in Today's Russia," with Prof. Marlene Laruelle. Cosponsored by the Global Affairs and Religion Network (GARNET), Security Policy Studies Program, and University Seminar Series.
  • Friday, April 15th, "Understanding Sexual Violence Locally & Globally: Resources for Prevention,” with Dr. Chelsea Ullman, Research Scientist at the Global Women’s Institute at GWU, and Skylar Wynn, Executive Support Assistant at GWI. Co-sponsored with The DC Student Consortium on Women, Peace, and Security, the Global Women's Institute, the Gender Equality Initiative in International Affairs, and GW Students Against Sexual Assault.
  • Wednesday, April 13th, “Careers in International Development,” with Robert Jenkins, Assistant to the Administrator for the USAID Bureau of Conflict Prevention and Stabilization.  Cosponsored with Young Black Professionals in International Affairs, the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and the Masters in International Affairs Program.
  • Monday, April 11th, “Leadership Challenges on My Career Journey,” with Molly Phee, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs. Cosponsored by the Institute for African Studies, Security Policy Studies, the Masters in International Affairs Program, the Gender Equality in International Affairs Initiative, and Graduate Student Services.
  • Tuesday, April 5th, “A Way Forward: Initiatives for a Welcoming Campus,” panel discussion with students Matson Kitamisi, Diing Manyang, Carolina de la Luz Osorio, and Dales Louissaint. Cosponsored with No Lost Generation GWU, Sigma Iota Rho, and the Refugee Educational Advancement Laboratory.
  • Wednesday, March 30th, “The Development Diplomat” with Fatema Sumar, Vice President of Compact Operations at the Millennium Challenge Corporation and former Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia at the U.S. Department of State, as well as the author of “The Development Diplomat."
  • Tuesday, March 29th, "Politics in ‘Purple’ Indiana to Diplomacy in Vibrant India: Leadership Lessons From A Career in Public Service," with Tim Roemer, former Ambassador to India and former Rep. from Indiana and Director of APCO.  Cosponsored with Graduate Student Services, the Masters in International Affairs Program, the Security Policy Studies Program, and the Sigur Center for Asian Studies.
  • Thursday, March 24th, “Civil Service in a Turbulent Time,” with Luke Collin, Director of Japan Policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Co-sponsored with Security Policy Studies, the Master of International Affairs Program, and the Sigur Center for Asian Studies.
  • Wednesday, March 23rd, “Providing Humanitarian Assistance: Aid Modalities and On-The-Ground Realities,” with panelists Jacob Kurtzer, Director and Senior Fellow, Humanitarian Agenda, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS); Taylor Stager, Deputy Director (Acting), Office of Humanitarian Business and Management Operations, Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, USAID; Brian White, Vice President, and General Counsel, Save the Children; and moderator Amit Khardori, Professorial Lecturer, The George Washington University and Attorney Advisor, USAID.  Cosponsored with The Humanitarian Action Initiative, the Security Policy Studies Program, Masters in International Policy and Practice Program, the Masters in International Affairs Program, and the International Development Studies Program. 
  • Tuesday, March 22nd, “The Importance of Character in Leadership,” with General Richard Myers, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Co-sponsored with Security Policy Studies and the Masters in International Affairs Program.
  • Tuesday, March 8th, “International Women’s Day,” with keynote speaker Prof. Muqadessa Yourish.  Cosponsored by the DC Consortium on Women, Peace and Security, the Gender Equality in International Affairs Initiative, and Security Policy Studies.
  • Monday, February 28th, "Missed Opportunities in Afghanistan and Upcoming Challenges with Taliban Administration in Terms of Security and Governance" with Shahmahmood Miakhel, the Former Acting Minister of Defense of Afghanistan, as well as former Governor of Nangahar and Afghan Ambassador to Qatar. Cosponsored by the Security Policy Studies Program, the Masters in International Affairs Program, and the Sigur Center for Asian Studies.
  • Saturday, February 26th, "Fraught Frontier," a student-participant Simulation surrounding the US - Mexico Migrant Crisis, prepared and conducted by Strategic Crisis Simulations, a student-run organization.
  • Thursday, February 24th, GW Veterans Connections, and Virtual Career Fair. Panelists: Chris Proffitt, Gary Espinas, and Tahina Montoya. Co-sponsored with the GW Military and Veteran Services, GW Career Services, Gender Equality Initiative in International Affairs, Security Policy Studies Program, and Georgetown University Student Veterans Association. 
  • Wednesday, February 23rd, “A Life Unimagined: The Rewards of Mission-Driven Service in the Peace Corps and Beyond” with Aaron Williams, Senior Official at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and former Director of the U.S. Peace Corps, moderated by Taylor Jack. Cosponsored with Young Black Professionals in International Affairs, International Development Studies, and the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
  • Wednesday, February 16th, “Feeling the Burden: Ethical Challenges and Practices in Open-Source Analysis and Journalism” with Devon Terrill and Ben Loehrke, organizers of the report, which sought to explore current practices for ethical decision-making with open source information. Cosponsored the Masters in International Policy and Practice Program and the Project for Media and National Security.
  • Thursday, January 27th, “Personal Discussion of Leadership and Ethical Challenges Faced in the Southern Freedom Movement" with Dr. Mary King, Professor of peace and conflict studies for the University of Peace, a United Nations organization in Costa Rica. Cosponsored by the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, the MA in International Policy and Practice program, and the MA in International Affairs program.
  • Monday, January 24th, “Responsible, Accountable and Ethical Leadership: My Own Journey” with General John Jumper, a former Joint Chiefs of Staff member and Senior Military Assistant to the Secretary of Defense. Cosponsored with the Security Policy Studies Program, the Military and Veterans Services, and the MA in International Affairs program.

Crisis Simulations

In the Spring of 2019, the Leadership, Ethics, and Practice Initiative ran a crisis simulation entitled "Falling Shadows: A Simulation of Humanitarian Crisis in Myanmar"  in partnership with the GWU Strategic Crisis Simulation Student Organization (SCS). This was a unique opportunity for students to develop leadership, ethics, and practical skills by playing roles they might hold in the future. During the simulation, students were assigned to play the roles of U.S. officials, international officials, and the media in connection with the Rohingya crisis. Students gained a better understanding of the dynamics of power involved in the decision-making process in a humanitarian crisis. They learned about difficult ethical and policy dilemmas and also learned about themselves — their convictions, values, and strengths. Since then, the Leadership, Ethics, And Practice Initiative has been a strong supporter of the SCS and sponsored a series of simulations with an array of different topics.  

transitional tremors

Transitional Tremors - Fall 2022

Fraught Frontier

Fraught Frontier - Spring 2022

scs celtic rift

Celtic Rift - Spring 2021


ruined tempest

Ruined Tempest - Fall 2021

troubled waters

Troubled Waters - Spring 2020

falling shadows

Falling Shadows​ - Spring 2019


Simulation on Myanmar

Crumbling Facade - Fall 2019

LEAP in the Media

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