Professional Skills Courses

A leader among professional schools of international affairs, the Elliott School was the first to offer its graduate students a full set of professional skills courses focusing on practical skills that help students succeed as practitioners in their careers. The courses are designed to supplement the substantive and theoretical aspects of our academic curriculum and teach skills applicable to the professional world.

All professional skills courses are one credit and designated under course numbers IAFF 6502/6503.

Fundamental Skills

Ethical Decisionmaking

This course will introduce students to the 13 ethical dilemmas. This requires an exploration of ethical issues in a rational, pragmatic, responsible, and decisive manner. The objective is to prepare students to effectively resolve the myriad of ethical challenges they will face in their personal and professional lives. The foundation for being able to do so is critical thinking. Critical thinking is the ability to address issues from both sides, to evaluate the best arguments of each side, and to arrive at a conclusion based on a systematic analysis of those arguments. Critical thinking requires students to discover biases, viewpoints, and perspectives that affect the accuracy and persuasiveness of oral or written arguments, and to uncover reasoning errors or logical fallacies. Accordingly, effective use of critical thinking skills allows one to defend viewpoints, evaluate issues, analyze new information, and reach ethical conclusions – exactly what today’s environment demands from leaders.

Responding to ethical dilemmas is difficult and complicated. Once students are aware of the complexity of various issues, they will have a greater tendency to be more deliberate in their decision-making and therefore more intentional in their results. Students will evaluate, individually and collectively, dozens of real-life scenarios that require them to make hard choices in ambiguous situations. The course seeks to enhance students' confidence and competence in contributing to ethically-challenging decisions on a range of national and international issues.

Financial Statement Analysis

This is a one-credit skills course designed to provide an introduction to the analysis and interpretation of corporate financial statements for ESIA graduate students.  The course is tailored to the needs of each class so it can best benefit students with little to no economic or business experience or study as well as those with practical study or experience that wish to hone or refresh their skills.  Emphasis will be given to placing financial information and its analysis within an actual market context.  Students will learn basic financial analysis tools and apply them on real world examples and will work in teams on a focused course-long project in an area of interest within the context of a simulated business environment.  Attention will be given to the analysis of multinational corporations and the financial performance of businesses in an international context as well as current topics and issues in finance of interest to the students.

Formal Briefing

This skills course will give students a foundation in giving formal briefings in a safe and supportive workshop environment.  Students will be encouraged to try different approaches in developing a personal briefing style and to develop foundational skills in public speaking through mini exercises and in-class performance of a draft and final briefing. Students will also be introduced to the various types of briefings, to include considerations in the virtual environment,  how to structure and organize each, how to communicate effectively with different audiences and venues, how to work with colleagues in developing and presenting materials especially on complex policy matters requiring a balancing of many different factors leading up to the actual presentation and delivery, and the elements of proper delivery through a learn-by-doing approach to developing a personal briefing style that will continue to evolve over the course of their careers.

Global Communications

This course explores the elements of effective communication for a global audience. Topics include: Rhetorical strategies for written or oral communications; understanding bias and how to leverage it to advance your communication objectives; examining disinformation and how it is used online; the changing nature and future of news in the digital environment; and strategic communications plans and visual organizers.

Public Speaking

Many aspects of daily life involve public speaking. Whether you are giving a toast at a social event or making a presentation before a professional audience, good public speaking skills are important, and can help you to make the right impression and further your career. This course will provide students the opportunity to learn (1) how to structure and organize a speech, (2) the elements of proper delivery, (3) the various speech types, (4) how to use visual aids, (5) how to encourage audience participation, and (6) how to identify topics. Students will present several speeches on different topics.

Writing for International Affairs Policymakers

Clear, concise and persuasive analytic writing is an essential skill for international affairs professionals. Effective analysis for policymakers succinctly assesses matters in ways that provide information, context, and insight and makes useful recommendations. Key characteristics include focus, relevance, brevity, and readability.  This course will involve short written assignments, as well as group discussions and peer critiques, aimed at developing the writing and analytic skills necessary to support, inform, and influence policymakers and implement policy.

Advanced Skills

Qualitative Analytical and Forecasting Skills

Alternative Analysis: The Red Team Approach

Members of both the 9/11 Commission and the WMD Commission expressed concerns that the U.S. intelligence community lacks imagination, does not "think outside the box," or challenge prevailing assumptions when analyzing threats to national security. Alternative analysis—often referred to as "red cell" or "red team”—uses various analytical methodologies to provide a more complete picture of issues than traditional analysis alone. Students will also be introduced to various methods or war gaming formats in which red teaming is applied. Students will be required to apply a variety of techniques used in red teaming and participate in a multi-sided war game.

Analyzing International Economic Data

This course is designed to develop students’ skills in gathering international economic data and conducting analysis. The course will use trade, investment, and other economic data sources to examine international trade and economic topics, including trade in agricultural products, manufacturing goods, services, and the activities of multinational companies, international foreign direct investment, and GDP growth. Students will use economic statistics and tools available on the web or from Gelman’s Online Library.

Students will gain hands on experience using merchandise and services trade flows, foreign direct investment stocks and flows, and foreign exchange rates. The course includes practical instruction on several types of online resources to specify data queries. Students will be asked to download economic statistics and manipulate electronic data in spreadsheets. The course will expose students to sources, terminology, and definitions unique to the analysis of international economic data.

Data Visualization with Tableau

Whether you are ready or not, we are in a period in human history where the volume, variety and velocity of data we face have far outpaced our innate abilities (and common knowledge) to make sense of this data. This workshop can help. This skills workshop is not only meant to help you be more competitive in a job market that highly values Tableau proficiency, the foundational skills taught can also help make you a better citizen of the world and have a greater professional impact.

This workshop is meant to help you develop data analysis and visualization skills with Tableau through hands-on learning. For this workshop, students are expected to download and install a free academic license of Tableau Desktop on their personal machine (see Vizalyst for download instructions). While all students can gain from this workshop, it will particularly resonate with any who have spent more than an hour trying to analyze a particular dataset using Excel or another software tool.

Feminist Approaches - Research

This course is designed to orient students to the ethics and practice of feminist research within conflict-affected contexts. The course will include theoretical and practical elements focused on helping students to develop an intersectional feminist lens tuned into the relationship between power and knowledge production, the ethics of representation, and the challenges of navigating research in settings where individuals have been affected by violence. The overall goal of the course is to equip students will the skills necessary to apply the ethics and considerations of feminist praxis to various professional and academic endeavors. Students will have the opportunity to engage with a variety of participatory research methods from a feminist perspective, including photovoice, narrative, and ethnographic methods. This engagement will take place alongside broader class discussions which will explore how feminist approaches and sensitivities can be integrated into field work across disciplines and epistemologies, and within professional practice.

Introduction to Gaming and Simulations

Introductions to Gaming and Simulations provides first-hand experience in scenario and gaming analysis. The course specifically addresses the fundamentals of game development and employment based on government and industry best practices. Through lectures, readings, in-class exercises, and group assignments students will build the repertoire of skills needed to create high-impact games and simulations while simultaneously honing their ability to review and judge gaming proposals.

Introduction to R

This course will help you familiarize yourself with the R programming language and RStudio integrated development environment (IDE). R is a free tool primarily used for statistical analysis. R is open source and benefits from several contributions (“packages” or “libraries”) made by independent researchers. Statistical analysis is critical for effective, evidence-based policy making, and R counts itself among the highly sought-after skills in the policy realm. In this class you will learn the fundamentals needed to create effective R scripts, run basic analyses, and troubleshoot (or debug) your code. You will also acquire the tools necessary to further develop your R skills to attain advanced-level programming knowledge.

Political Risk Analysis

Political risk – broadly understood as the possibility of politically related uncertainty affecting an objective – has the potential to shape outcomes along a spectrum of domains. This specific type of risk emanates from various sources and is increasingly becoming recognized as an essential consideration for entities with interests (commercial or otherwise) in the international sphere. Political risk is often an ambiguous subject that can be analyzed using various methods.

As such, this course takes a multi-disciplinary approach drawing from international relations theory, economics, risk management, intelligence, and strategic communications and applies it to relevant, real-world problems. Emphasis is placed on strategies that measure and mitigate political risk in a range of environments at the macro and micro levels. This course connects theory, research, practice, and empirical evidence in order to address the complexities of political risk analysis and it draws on academic literature while also focusing on the development of practical knowledge and skills that are applicable to both the public and private sector.

Public Opinion in International Affairs

The goals of the course are to make students conversant in survey research, better consumers of public opinion data and gain the ability to use survey data in their work—all without having to become a statistician! This course will offer specific examples of how public opinion data has been used to inform policymakers. This is followed by a comparison of the validity of traditional survey research methods versus the more newly arrived social media sentiment analysis. It will provide an overview of the different methods of data collection as well as an introduction to sampling and questionnaire design and quality control measures. Students will then be exposed to how data is interpreted and used to form the backbone of pithy and cogent analyses. The course will conclude with an exercise in which students will review a data set and draft a policy memo based on a particular theme.

Research Design for International Affairs

This course introduces students to a step-by-step approach to evaluating, producing and managing policy-relevant research in international affairs.  Students practice key skills, such as how to survey existing knowledge, formulate research questions, choose analytical methods, and plan research projects.  When deployed as part of a systematic approach, these skills help students produce quality course papers and complete superior capstone projects or theses.  More importantly, a systematic approach to research will help them manage research throughout their professional careers.  By the end of the course, students will demonstrate a grasp of research design by delivering a proposal for a research project.

STATA: Fundamentals

STATA: Fundamentals is a four-week Stata introduction course that will cover basics skills for students to get hands on using Stata for data analysis. This course provides basic introduction to Stata software and its applications on data management, data analysis and econometric modeling.

Structured Analytic Techniques

This course introduces students to qualitative structured analytic techniques that they will be able to use across disciplines to help solve analytic problems. This course shows students how to use these techniques to approach analytic challenges and produce useful, insightful analysis. In numerous hands-on exercises, students practice specific skills to help them overcome mindsets, organize information, diagnose problems, explore different ways of thinking, and avoid surprise.

Policy Formulation and Advocacy Skills

Advocating for Women’s Rights

This skills class will equip students with the building blocks for conducting successful advocacy efforts on global women’s issues. It will foster an understanding of different elements of an advocacy campaign, from grassroots mobilization to direct engagement of policymakers through individual, celebrity and coalition advocacy. It will build students’ skills in various tactics such as identifying the elements of “the ask,” crafting successful messages, building and managing coalitions, conducting power analysis, crafting the “elevator pitch,” and tailoring messaging for media. Finally, it will examine successful case studies of gender-responsive foreign policy from the perspective of advocates and policymakers alike.

Leadership, Teamwork and Management Skills

Communicating Global Policy Issues

This course is designed to help students improve their communications, media and advocacy skills. Knowing how to convey compelling messages to targeted US audiences is key to strengthening America’s global leadership in the US and around the world. This hands-on communications, media and message training “PowerTalk” workshop will help students become more effective spokespeople and advocates with the media, policymakers, engaged public and other key stakeholders. Learn communications and media techniques, including: preparing a basic communications and advocacy strategy; developing and delivering effective messages; preparing for media interviews and briefings; anticipating and managing difficult questions and situations; using stories, visuals and facts for maximum effect; and avoiding common pitfalls. Students will also explore the basics of how to amplify their message via social media, strategic partnerships, influentials, and other best practices.

Communication Practices for Employer Engagement

This is a skills course for graduate students enrolled in the Elliott School of International Affairs designed to equip them with the tools they’ll need to 1. create an informed and intentional career development strategy 2. Effectively engage employers and 3. Develop into more polished executive communicators particularly within a virtual office.  The course goes beyond a one or two-time engagement with advisors or coaches of the Office of Graduate Student Services and prepares students for their first 100 days on the job. In particular, the course requires students to: 1) Develop self-awareness through assessments including the MBTI (currently offered to all students) and Crucial Conversations (not offered widely due to cost), a workshop designed to sharpen cultural competency by practicing the skill of leading difficult conversations; 2) Identify and practice the principles of learning based versus need based networking by requiring students to conduct outreach to stakeholders in the field as an assignment; and 3) Cultivate contacts and connect consistently to the employer landscape through class. Overall, the course is designed for students to assess, explore, and leverage their personal strengths, academic interests, and values as they compose their graduate and postgraduate career goals. The course will be taught in alignment with APSIA industry standards and as a result, will focus on the key competencies (communications, global perspectives, teamwork and critical thinking) needed for success as an international affairs practitioner.

Courageous Leadership & Change

Uncertain times call for courageous and adaptive leadership. Global systems are failing. Human rights violations are prevalent. People continue to face discrimination. Poverty is spreading. Nationalism is on the rise. And domestic violence thrives worldwide. The list goes on. It is easy to feel overwhelmed and powerless, or to feel outrage at how big the “mess” really is and how little progress is being made.

This high-impact skill course is designed to equip current and emerging leaders with the mindset, frameworks and tools to navigate the uncertainty and politics of change in order to solve pressing social, environmental and developmental issues. This course draws on real-life examples of current global issues to help leaders better understand how to navigate challenges and maximize their impact. Students will learn how to challenge assumptions, explore new mental models and develop the grit needed to sustain the political and social pressures of creating change.

Cross-Cultural Communication

This is a graduate-level skill course designed to help you better understand and analyze the dynamics of communication across continents.   This is a unique time to delve into CCC principles and practices because the COVID-19 pandemic and its variants, persistent conflicts and wars, are changing the way the world is communicating across cultural barriers, and also and more importantly, these events and developments are hence posing new CCC challenges not seen before.  The latter will most certainly change the way people from different cultures relate to one another in their quest to enhance collective cooperation and coordination to confront new threats and vulnerabilities whether at a personal or mass level.  Furthermore, my CCC graduate seminar is designed to give you, the students and global citizens and future leaders, unique skills to manage and manage and resolve conflicts whether personal, private, or public.  This course/seminar will utilize my academic and professional international security and foreign policy experience to enhance your CCC skills in more ways than one.

Gender Monitoring & Evaluation

The course will introduce graduate students to setting gender and social inclusion-related targets and indicators, how to use gender and social inclusion-related indices, how to create an activity monitoring and evaluation and learning plan (AMELP) all in the context of international development projects and with the goal to transform projects into gender equitable and socially inclusive activities. Students will study proposals, case studies, and multiple global indices.

Leadership & Teamwork

This course explores the dynamics of team building, communication, and leadership that will increase managerial and leadership effectiveness. It is designed to empower participants to discover their preferred leadership style within a green and global context, emphasizing networking and servant leadership. Creating and sustaining a team involves a portfolio of skills which are particularly critical in a post-pandemic, horizontal and project-based environment, but also in traditional organizational hierarchies. In a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) world, leaders must learn the tools of emotional intelligence and mindfulness, and develop a centered lens through which they can focus their contribution in global public service. Students will learn how to apply effective decision-making and problem-solving skills in teams; manage and resolve conflicts with appropriate communication skills; and identify and evaluate their own assumptions and behaviors related to leadership and group dynamics in organizations.

Negotiation Skills

This course helps students hone in those aspects of their negotiating style that stand in the way of maximizing their negotiation outcomes. It is based on classic Interest-Based negotiations theory with a focus on practical application and self-reflection. It is a highly interactive course composed almost entirely of a series of group exercises with varying degrees of complexity and then debriefing of students' performance. Therefore, there will be minimal presentation of concepts. Students are expected to read the book and other assigned materials uploaded onto the course's Blackboard page BEFORE the first class. Regardless of whether the course is given online or in person, students are expected to come ready with copies of their worksheets and exercises to work with.   In addition to the assigned book, we will be using proprietary materials from the Harvard Law School Program On Negotiations in class. Students will therefore need to purchase their copies of the exercises for $6 total. Unfortunately, these exercises cannot be purchased by students independently since each team will get a different set of confidential instructions depending on which team they end up joining.

Non-Violent Communication

In an age of virulent civic discourse, avoiding conversations about dominance, systems, power, race, gender, or sexual identity is no longer an option. When emotions surface and stakes are high, this course will equip students with the tools to respond in a way that draws people into a conversation using Nonviolent Communication (NVC) and brings about systemic changes to support diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)

NVC is a set of ideas and practices based on the empathic and relational nature of human beings that can also be used to impact institutional policies. In the second part of the course, students will apply NVC to systems change and look at practical processes that can be put in place to open access, increase agency, and foster a sense of belonging for all.

Participatory Monitoring & Evaluation for Development

This skills seminar will introduce the student to practical frameworks and tools for participatory design, monitoring, and evaluation of international development programs. The course will familiarize students with the broader international development discourse as the context for current practice in participatory monitoring and evaluation. Drawing upon case studies from democracy and governance programming, the course will facilitate student learning through the use of three interactive workshops, assigned readings, and a final written assignment.

Participatory Planning

Participation is a  fundamental concept to development. The challenge for development practitioners is to put participatory development theory into everyday practice.  This course aims to build an appreciation of the nuances of participation and to impart specific methods and tools that facilitate participation.  The course will cover the principles of participatory learning and action  (PLA),  provide  helpful  “Do’s”  and  “Don’t’s”  of carrying out participatory activities and processes and touch on the caveats of participatory methods in the development industry.  The tools and methods covered in the course are drawn from community development planning, participatory rural/urban appraisal  (PRA/PUA),  participatory monitoring and evaluation  (PME), and participatory learning and action (PLA).

Protocol in Diplomacy and International Business

Students will examine the role and importance of protocol in the conduct of diplomacy, international business dealings, and other transactions involving international and multicultural participants. Students will increase the depth of their knowledge of basic principles of international protocol, gain functional knowledge and confidence in performing in representational positions, enhance their leadership skills and be able to deal successfully with their foreign counterparts and with persons from different backgrounds and cultures.

Specialized Professional Knowledge

Analyzing US Foreign Assistance

Why does the U.S. give foreign assistance? How much does it cost?  What does the U.S. spend foreign assistance on?  This course will explore these questions and cover the way the federal budget process is supposed to work and the way it actually does work, with a specific focus on the U.S. foreign assistance budget implemented by the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development.

The course is a graduate level, project-based class where students will have the opportunity to develop and justify their own proposal for foreign assistance resources for a country that they choose. This course will give students highly sought after hands-on, practical experience.  For students interested in careers at the Department of State, USAID, or non-profit organizations that implement U.S. foreign assistance, this will be a great course taught by Cyndee Pelt and Homa Hassan, who have extensive international development experience.  Professors Pelt and Hassan have served in the past three Administrations in various capacities both in Washington D.C. and overseas at the State Department and USAID – together they have over thirty years of experience working on U.S. foreign assistance programs.

Conflict and Corruption: The Resource Curse

The “resource curse” is a widely accepted phenomenon: countries rich in natural resources are more prone to conflict and corruption than their resource-poor neighbors.  This course will first explore the theory behind the “curse”, will examine case studies, and will tackle the policy implications of the resource curse for the US policymaker community.  This is a skills course, not an effort to cover the comprehensive scholarship on the resource curse. Through real-life examples of the resource curse, we will explore practical strategies for developing advocacy campaigns.

After taking this course, students will be able to discuss the different drivers of the natural resource curse and its consequences and will learn how to practically translate that information for a policymaker audience.  The presentation and briefing paper will allow students to hone the analytical and communications skills necessary to convey complex themes of corruption, conflict, and resources.

Congress & U.S. Foreign Policy

The class will examine the ways in which Congress and the Executive branch interact to shape U.S. foreign and national security policy. The class will consider practical details such as how Congress is structured, and how the budget and appropriations process that funds U.S. international spending operates. It will also look at the political imperatives that influence how members of Congress and their staffers develop their views on U.S. foreign policy. After an informal introduction to how Congress works, the focus will be on real-world case studies and hands-on simulations, with in-class exercises that will permit students to better understand what role the Congress plays in determining U.S. foreign policy, how it does so, and why.

Deconstructing Disinformation

A functional democracy requires the public to trust the information they rely on to make decisions. While numerous types of problematic information – including disinformation, misinformation, and propaganda – have always existed, networked technologies make it easier for media manipulators to spread inaccurate, misleading, and hateful information. In 2018, thirteen Russians were indicted for waging a three-year disinformation campaign to disrupt American democracy. Non-state actors also sought to incite partisanship and strategically suppress participation in the 2016 election. Extremist groups and partially automated accounts (“bots”) run by foreign state groups both propagated false rumors and conspiracies after a school shooting to shape the political reaction. The stock market lost over $130B in 2013 when a false tweet claimed that Barack Obama was injured in an explosion. And researchers are now confirming common sense about such damaging gossip: false information spreads faster than the truth. This course will use domestic and international case studies to critically examine the key components of disinformation. It will then analyze potential interventions by governments, technology companies, and civil society organizations. In addition to deconstructing the problem of disinformation and critically analyzing potential solutions, students will learn how to conduct scenario planning exercises.

Developing Effective Proposals

The course will provide students with the nuts and bolts of developing effective, winning proposals, including overview and management of the proposal development process, including project design and field assessments, analyzing a procurement opportunity, preparing a technical proposal and budget, developing a monitoring and evaluation plan, and planning project staffing. The course will explore ways to work in partnership with local organizations, stakeholders, and the project’s ultimate beneficiaries. Teamwork is an essential aspect of developing successful proposals. Practitioners will gain a better understanding of ways to create better development projects, anticipate challenges, work with a variety of stakeholders, and address challenges effectively.

Gender Advisor: Roles & Skills

This course will cover the various roles, responsibilities, and necessary skills of a Gender Advisor in multilateral, bilateral, and international development organizations. The course will provide a comprehensive overview of how the latest tools, resources, and practices should be applied in development work. The course will interpret the new and evolving set of policies on programmatic gender integration into meaningful practice to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of institutions and organizations seeking to promote gender equality.

IA Conflict Resolution Skills

This skills course will examine the role of international affairs practitioners in conflict resolution & transformation processes. A foundational assumption for this class is that to become effective international affairs practitioners, we first need to develop constructive ways for dealing with the conflicts in our own lives. To this end, students will develop concrete skills for resolving intrapersonal and interpersonal conflicts with an eye on how these abilities will improve their future work in international conflict. Students will learn frameworks for analyzing their role in the conflicts they experience and will develop skills in meditation, managing emotions, listening, asserting ones needs in difficult conversations, and third-party intervention tactics.

Inside a U.S. Embassy

United States foreign policy abroad is conducted abroad through the U.S. diplomatic mission in a given country, usually an embassy headed by an ambassador and staffed with officials from a variety of U.S. Government agencies.  This course is designed to familiarize students with the structure of the embassy, its authorities, and its activities in support of U.S. interests.  They will develop their understanding through a role-playing model in which each student will assume the role of one member of the Embassy team with the instructor playing the role of the ambassador and the class dealing with hypothetical issues based on real events in the professor’s experience.

International Non-Profit Management

The nonprofit sector has grown exponentially in the last few decades – both domestically and internationally - and so have the competing demands to demonstrate data-driven results, raise public awareness and fundraise on multiple platforms. These competing demands require effective management skills to run non-profit organizations and achieve impact. Key skills include defining, understanding and ongoing assessment of an organization’s mission, communication and advocacy strategies, effective programs, development and financial targets, identification of fundraising opportunities and management of a team that may even meet in person regularly. This course will be taught by learning how to evaluate non-profit organizations using a Non-Profit Organizational Capacity Mapping Framework and by discussing Case Studies in class. Prior reading of the Case Studies for each seminar class is required because the case studies will be taught using the Socratic Method with students explaining the Case Studies and Responding to questions by the Lecturer and other students. The themes that will be covered by both the case studies and the Capacity Mapping Framework will include lectures and discussions about Mission; Program/Theory of Change; Evaluation & Log Frames; Fundraising & Communication Strategies; NGO Management in the 21st Century and Non-Profit Governance. For the course’s final project, students will be divided into teams and given the assignment to jointly draft and present a program proposal for funding that clearly demonstrates their grasp and application of the topics covered in the course.

International Supply Chain Fundamentals

This course will introduce students to the fundamental operations of global supply chains across manufacturing, digital, commodity and service industries.  Through readings and recent case studies students will learn the essential components of supply chains; evolution of supply chains; wholly owned versus unrelated supply chains and the stakeholders in supply chains.   In addition to building a foundation in supply chain operations, each case study will demonstrate the supply chain's relevance to current policy issues in security, green energy transition, trade, area studies and international relations.

Upon completion students will be able to research/map a supply chain, interpret articles and news sources about supply chains and assess their relevance to geopolitical events and policy. No prior business or economics background is necessary.

Mediation

Third-parties are increasingly being used by people in conflict, both domestically and internationally, to help them resolve their differences. Whether providing a space for belligerents to reach a peace agreement, facilitating a contentious public policy debate on Capitol Hill, or helping departments work more effectively together, this interactive skills-building course will teach you how to harness conflictual energy and transform it into collaboration.

Mediation is an impartial, voluntary and confidential process that facilitates problem-solving and helps parties to a conflict develop solutions that meet everyone’s needs. In this highly experiential course, students will be introduced to the basic principles of mediation; learn how to engage the parties in a conflict and set up the mediation space; how to listen and gather information by disaggregating positional statements; framing and listing problems to resolve; brainstorming and developing solutions; and writing an agreement.

Mobile Phones for International Development

The mobile phone is rapidly bringing communication to the most remote areas of the world. NGOs, governments and companies alike are beginning to realize the potential of this ubiquitous tool to address social challenges. This course will explore successful applications that facilitate economic transactions, support public health campaigns and connect learners to educational content. It will also critically engage with issues of equity, privacy, and access. Participants can expect a dynamic and practical learning environment with a number of real-world examples and case studies.

Restorative Justice

How a society responds to wrongdoing is critical to people’s perceived sense of security, belonging and justice. A state’s legal system plays an important role in establishing the rule of law and in maintaining popular confidence in its ability to manage transgressions. However, in many parts of the world, as is the case in the  U.S.,  the justice system is not always designed to adequately contribute to healing or peace but instead deepens societal divides and conflict. Restorative justice is an attempt to address some of these gaps.

Upon completion of this course,  students will gain an Introductory knowledge of advanced  communication skills to facilitate restorative justice circles between victims and offenders.

Role of Defense Contracting

National Security and its role in ensuring military superiority.  It will benefit students interested in entering government service or the defense and national security consulting/manufacturing world.   Students will learn about the development of requirements for critical space, land, sea, air, and cyber assets and understand how industry translates these requirements into military assets and capabilities.  They will gain practical insight on how to analyze, shape and bid on solicitations within the Department of Defense and associated entities.  There will also be a simulation of how industry works to help the DoD meet current and emerging threats in the current European security environment.  In addition, they will learn about the often-hidden external considerations such as congressional pressures and inter-service rivalries that play a role in influencing the selection of a particular contractor.

Technology for International Crisis Response

The advent of new technologies has fundamentally changed the capacity for processing and exchanging information in the 21st century. This professional development course will explore how technology is being used to respond to crises, create early warning mechanisms, monitor elections, provide banking services, ensure effective governance, and much more. It will also consider some of the key challenges related to access, implementation, scale, and evaluation that working with technology presents. The course is designed for graduate students to assist them in developing concrete strategies and technological skills to work amid this rapidly evolving landscape. Students can expect a hands-on and interactive learning environment with a variety of real-world examples from organizations working in the field.

Language Skills

Language Skills

IAFF 6504:

  • Arabic
  • Chinese
  • French
  • Russian
  • Spanish

Students with intermediate-level proficiency may take these courses to improve their language ability and to prepare for the language proficiency examination. In order to enroll in these courses, students must first take the online diagnostic test in the corresponding language and achieve a score in at least the intermediate-level range. For non-regional studies M.A. programs, students may fulfill their language requirement by demonstrating the required level of language proficiency in the context of this one-credit course through an evaluation administered by the instructor. Students in the M.A. regional studies program may use this one-credit course to improve their language skills, but they must still take the Elliott School language proficiency test.