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Government and Politics

Lobbyists, Campaign Professionals Teach Students at Winter Institutes

By Jon Hussey

American University will hold the Public Affairs and Advocacy Institute (PAAI) and its 25th anniversary session of the Campaign Management Institute (CMI) from Monday, December 29 to Sunday, Jan. 11. All classes will be held in Rooms 5 and 6 of American University’s Ward Circle Building.

The two-week Campaign Management Institute provides students with the training needed to work in local, state and federal political campaigns. CMI alums have held positions in prominent local and national campaigns—including the Obama and McCain campaigns. The institute will cover campaign tactics and strategies—with an emphasis on new technology—to give students a valuable foundation for a career as political activists or campaign managers. 

The two-week Public Affairs and Advocacy Institute provides undergraduate and graduate students with an intensive exploration into the art and craft of the lobbying profession. Students learn the strategies, tactics, methods, techniques, regulations, and ethics of the lobbying profession at a federal level. 

Students will be immersed in the process of campaign management and lobbying with daily instruction and insight from faculty, academics, professional lobbyists, campaign managers, public officials, and journalists. Speakers will provide applied and theoretical approaches to their subjects and will act as mentors to students. Public Affairs and Advocacy Institute students will work with mentors and speakers as they construct their own lobbying strategy for a public policy issue. Campaign Management Institute students will work in groups to create a campaign plan, which they will present on the final day of class. 

Selected speaker sessions for Campaign Management Institute include:

  • Cornell Belcher, pollster for the Democratic National Committee, will discuss the general political climate.
  • Sarah Simmons, CMI alum and strategist with the McCain campaign, will discuss absentee and early voting.
  • Scott Goodstein, CMI alum and director of external organizing with Obama for America, will discuss online organizing.
Sessions for the Public Affairs and Advocacy Institute include:
  • Walter Oleszek, senior specialist in legislative process at the Congressional Research Service, will discuss the legislative process and lobbying .
  • Ed Ingle, managing director of government affairs for Microsoft Corp., will discuss government relations and corporate reputation management.
  • Ron Elving, senior Washington editor with NPR News, National Public Radio, will discuss media coverage of lobbying.

Ranked among the top 10 schools of its kind, American University’s School of Public Affairs offers public affairs education on the undergraduate, graduate, and executive levels. The school is also home to research centers and institutes in the fields of political science, public administration, public policy and justice. American University School of Public Affairs is the only school of its kind with three accredited graduate degrees: MPA, MPP, and Executive MPA. Graduates of the school are active in global policy legislation, advocacy, and in the nonprofit and private sectors.