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Washington Semester Program - Transforming Communities

A map of the world, with pins representing the travels of the SIS community.

Transforming Communities is a public policy program that addresses the concept of community, the factors that make a community healthy, and how forces at the local, state, and national level are used to create and strengthen community.In fact, Washington DC – from the international to the national to the community level – offers an ideal setting for Transforming Communities. Poverty, ethnicity, globalization and immigration are integral to the program. Washington is also a distinctive learning laboratory for exploring how leadership, grassroots action, advocacy, litigation and government programs can improve communities. Federal policy changes are placing more responsibility on local governments to address their problems. Now is the perfect time to evaluate these changes and to study new initiatives.

Students in the Transforming Communities Semester bring their diverse backgrounds, academic disciplines and points of view to the program. In small groups and as a class, you and your fellow participants investigate a wide range of creative solutions. The most effective way to learn the art of transforming communities is to speak to the individuals who have faced the challenges and experienced the rewards of this work. During the Washington Semester Transforming Communities Program you do just that. You will meet with representatives of all three branches of government, the advocacy and litigation community, grassroots nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, and policy organizations.

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Student Reaction

"I have never learned so much about life, the working world, and American society in such a short time. The Transforming Communities Program was eye-opening and wonderful."
Danielle Diamond, Franklin and Marshall College

Past Seminar Topics include...

  • Building and strengthening communities
  • Globalization and communities
  • Affordable Housing
  • Community Health and Safety
  • Ways to Strengthen the Family

Past Internship Sites

  • International Red Cross
  • American Democracy Institute
  • Amnesty International
  • Public Defender Service
  • Center for American Progress