Upcoming Practica Summer 2020 Courses

The following courses will be offered as Practica in the Summer 2020 semester. For reference, courses from previous semesters are also listed.

On-campus Practica

The following Practica are available to all on-campus students, as well as online MAIR/MIS students that can attend weekly on-campus classes.

Cultural Diplomacy and International Exchange

Professor: Sherry Mueller

Course Time: W 5:30 PM - 8:00 PM

International exchange programs are an essential component of public diplomacy. Practicum participants will learn about major actors and resources in the field. They will study a conceptual framework for evaluating the effectiveness of exchanges. They will also focus on efforts to conduct advocacy on behalf of U.S. Department of State sponsored flagship exchange programs, such as the Fulbright Program and the International Visitor Leadership Program, by building partnerships with elected officials.

Intelligence and Analysis

Professor: Aki Peritz

Course Time: Th 5:30 PM - 8:00 PM

The class produces a report intended to serve the intelligence, policy, defense, and diplomatic communities. US national security priorities shift rapidly, and topics will be determined with the client organization.

Conflict Mitigation and Peacebuilding

Professor: Hrach Gregorian

Course Time: Th 5:30 PM - 8:00 PM

This practicum is designed to increase familiarity with current practice in contemporary conflict prevention, mitigation, and settlement. Topics recently covered include conflict minerals, women’s empowerment, youth violence prevention, and peace gaming. Hands-on activities emphasize such skills as narrative analysis, conflict prevention training, monitoring and evaluation, and conflict mapping. Practicum clients include NGOs such as Partners Global, Search for Common Ground, Saferworld, and Resolve; for-profit organizations such as Creative Associates; and government agencies such as the U.S. Department of State.

A Wicked Challenge to US National Security

Professor: Sally Shelton-Colby

Course Time: M 5:30 PM - 8:00 PM

Students in this practicum study a country of strategic interest to the United States and develop policy recommendations for the U.S. Government. Specifically, the practicum addresses challenges with governance, the government's role in international conflicts, fractious relationships within the country and in the international community. Students make policy recommendations for U.S. Department of State officials and other relevant entities and identify the pros and cons of each policy recommendation.

Human Rights and Political Violence

Professor: Jeffrey Bachman

Course Time: T 5:30 PM - 8:00 PM

Military commissions are a form of military tribunal convened to try individuals for unlawful conduct associated with war. The Military Commissions Defense Organization is charged with providing a zealous defense for each accused tried by a military commission.  This specific opportunity is to work on the defense team for Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. This team is comprised of civilian and military attorneys charged with defending Mr. Mohammad in the ongoing tribunal at Guantanamo Bay. 

Challenges of Multinational Enterprise

Professor: Catherine Bocskor

Course Time: T 8:20 PM - 10:50 PM

Students gain experience in the field of international business consulting by undertaking research projects for U.S. and foreign multinational enterprises, giving clients including such companies as Lockheed Martin, Rosetta Stone, EchoStar (Dish Network), and Danfoss, Inc., advice on real-life business and regulatory problems. The practicum emphasizes research, data presentation, and analytic skills, while teaching the students how to work together as a team. Students learn how to manage the clients' demands and expectations while working closely with high-level business executives who take a personal interest in the student's' growth and learning experiences. Students also learn new oral and written presentation skills to enhance their resumes.

Latin America: Prospects for Cooperation on Migration, Trade, and Other Issues.

Professor: Fulton Armstrong

Course Time: M 5:30 PM - 8:00 PM

Challenges in relations with Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and South America have rarely been so broad and important. This practicum will identify, analyze, and prioritize the options that the United States and other regional actors will have in dealing with issues, including migration, security, trade, and governance, that profoundly affect our whole hemisphere. 

Planning for Conflict and Climate Migrants: A New (Adaptable) Socio-Spatial Paradigm

Professor: Vicky Kiechel

Course Time: W 5:30 PM - 8:00 PM

This practicum seeks to develop alternatives to conventional responses to accommodating displaced and migrant populations. In dealing with disruption, we will employ disruptive policy and design strategies, and consider what the following can teach us: (1) ground-up community design examples from the informal sector; (2) successes in refugee-led interventions in “temporary” emergency camps and along refugee corridors; (3) best practices in the high-design, low-tech architectures of disaster response; (4) urban planning through the use of crowd-sourced information technology; and more. Our goal is to invent, for use by refugees or their formal sector sponsors, a mobile phone app (or another equally accessible and simple type of interface) that embeds an adaptable, replicable, scalable design framework and also connects migrants to tangible resources. The client will be a nonprofit or multi-lateral organization focused on refugees.

US Agricultural Policy: Domestic & International Impacts

Professor: Garrett Graddy-Lovelace

Course Time: W 2:30 PM - 5:20 PM

Alternatively known as: "Rural Community Diversity & Empowerment: Transnational Connections." This practicum will conduct background research to facilitate an early April Congressional Briefing on rural community needs and how policy can support diversity, empowerment, and equity in agriculture and agri-food systems. Working with our community partners--Rural Coalition and the National Family Farmer Coalition/Northatlantic Marine Alliance, the 2019 Practicum cohort will evaluate the ecological, social, economic, and political impacts of key agricultural policies and programs on small- and medium-size farmers, family farmers, farmworkers, agrarian cooperatives, and rural and urban communities and food systems in the US and abroad. A major theme of this Congressional Briefing will be the transnational connections comprising our agriculture and agri-food systems--from migrant labor to farming expertise to trade--and how these connections can be better understood and supported. Drawing upon mixed-methods community-partnered action-research methodologies, we'll research and produce multi-media briefing reports for our community partner coalitions to use in the Briefing and with outreach to USDA officials and agencies. Please see farmbillfairness.org to see what this client partnership has produced from past semesters.

Immigrant Health

Professor: Thespina Yamanis and Taryn Morrissey

Course Time: T 5:30 PM - 8:00 PM

Immigrant health is an increasingly important issue in the United States, given the current political environment and the exclusion of many immigrants from public programs, including the Affordable Care Act. Students in this course will explore Latino immigrant health in the Washington, DC area, while gaining important, job-ready skills in community-based action research and applied policy analysis. Community-based action research is a partnership between community members, policy makers, and researchers to use knowledge and policy action to improve the health of community members. The client for this course is La Clínica del Pueblo (La Clínica), a federally qualified health center that uses a community-based action approach to serve Latino immigrants, located in Washington, DC (DC) and Maryland. Students will develop the following deliverables: 1) qualitative and quantitative research on Latino immigrants’ health and well-being; 2) a policy analysis of a particular health issue facing the Latino immigrant community in the DC metro area; and 3) a communications toolkit, including policy briefs, video, or community forum for La Clínica. This is an opportunity to apply research and policy analysis to a very timely issue with a local community and client. Furthermore, students will learn how to analyze data, work in interdisciplinary teams, and develop communication tools, which are invaluable skills for the job market.

Conflict Mitigation and Peacebuilding

Professor: Hrach Gregorian

Course Time: W 5:30 PM - 8:00 PM

This practicum is designed to increase familiarity with current practice in contemporary conflict prevention, mitigation, and settlement. Topics recently covered include conflict minerals, women's empowerment, youth violence prevention, and peace gaming. Hands-on activities emphasize such skills as narrative analysis, conflict prevention training, monitoring and evaluation, and conflict mapping. Practicum clients include NGOs such as Partners Global, Search for Common Ground, Saferworld, and Resolve; for-profit organizations such as Creative Associates; and government agencies such as the US Department of State.

Intelligence and Analysis

Professor: Aki Peritz

Course Time: M 5:30 PM - 8:00 PM

The class produces a report intended to serve the intelligence, policy, defense, and diplomatic communities. US national security priorities shift rapidly, and topics will be determined with the client organization.

A Wicked Challenge to US National Security

Professor: Sally Shelton-Colby

Course Time: W 5:30 PM - 8:00 PM

Students in this practicum study a country of strategic interest to the United States and develop policy recommendations for the U.S. Government. Specifically, the practicum addresses challenges with governance, the government's role in international conflicts, fractious relationships within the country and in the international community. Students make policy recommendations for U.S. Department of State officials and other relevant entities and identify the pros and cons of each policy recommendation.

 

Conflict Mitigation and Peacebuilding

Professor: Hrach Gregorian

Course Time: Thursdays, 5:30-8:00pm

This course is designed to increase familiarity with current practice in contemporary conflict prevention, mitigation, and settlement. Topics recently covered include conflict minerals, women’s empowerment, youth violence prevention, and peace gaming. Hands-on activities emphasize such skills as narrative analysis, conflict prevention training, monitoring and evaluation, and conflict mapping.

human rights and political violence

Professor: Jeff Bachman

Course Time: Mondays, 5:30-8:00pm

Students in this practicum will conduct research into alleged human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law resulting from policies connected to the promotion and protection of national security. Particular topics may include counterterrorism; armed conflict; genocide; humanitarian intervention; and more.

A Wicked Challenge to US National Security

Professor: Sally Shelton-Colby

Course Time: Tuesdays, 5:30-8:00pm

Students in this course study a country of strategic interest to the United States and develop policy recommendations for the U.S. Government. Specifically, the practicum addresses challenges with governance, the government's role in international conflicts, fractious relationships within the country and in the international community. Students make policy recommendations for U.S. Department of State officials and other relevant entities and identify the pros and cons of each policy recommendation.

Latin america: Prepared for climate change?

Professor: Fulton Armstrong

Course Time: Mondays, 5:30-8:00pm

Climate change is rapidly becoming a significant challenge in Latin America and for U.S. foreign policy. This practicum assesses the region’s efforts so far to deal with these challenges and explores how innovation, education, and improved coordination within the region and worldwide might help.

China in latin america: indigenous people and resource extraction

Professor: Judy Shapiro

Course Time: Wednesdays, 5:30-8:00pm

This Spring 2020 practicum focuses on the Amazon basin, in several dimensions. First, with DAR-Peru as a partner, students will focus on the activities of a Chinese contractor (Sinohydro, also called Zhongguo Dianjian, or China Power) that plans to widen and deepen the Amazon to facilitate cargo shipping between Brazil and the Peruvian Coast. The second focus of the Practicum is the preparation of indigenous advoacy groups for their attendance of the November 2020 Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD), which will meet in Kunming, China.

intelligence and analysis

Professor: Aki Peritz

Course Time: Wednesdays, 5:30-8:00pm

The class produces a report intended to serve the intelligence, policy, defense, and diplomatic communities. US national security priorities shift rapidly, and topics will be determined with the client organization.

leadership and management of peacebuilding ngos

Professor: Charles Dambach

Course Time: Thursdays, 5:30-8:00pm

This practicum focuses on key aspects of nonprofit organizations, specifically on leadership, organization development and program strategies, staffing structures, financing and governance. Students work with international organizations, such as the Alliance for Peacebuilding, Institute for Economics and Peace, and USAID prime contract agencies such as MSI and Creative Associates. Topics include strategic planning, budgeting, leadership concepts, and evaluation.

accountability in development

Professor: Rick Rowden

Course Time: Thursdays, 8:20-10:50pm

This practicum will provide opportunities for students to work with civil society organizations (CSOs) which are currently involved in advocating for increased civic participation on development-related policy issues with an emphasis on accountability. Practicum students will learn about policy advocacy efforts by CSOs currently engaged with governments and international organizations on development policy issues and gain critical research and analytical skills that are relevant to supporting such efforts.

eu migration policy: navigating the european response to mass migration

Professor: Karin Johnston

Course Time: Wednesdays, 8:20-10:50pm

Students in this course study a country of strategic interest to the United States and develop policy recommendations for the U.S. Government. Specifically, the practicum addresses challenges with governance, the government's role in international conflicts, fractious relationships within the country and in the international community. Students make policy recommendations for U.S. Department of State officials and other relevant entities and identify the pros and cons of each policy recommendation.

issues of multinational enterprise

Professor: Catherine Bocskor

Course Time: Wednesdays, 5:30-8:00pm

Students gain experience in the field of international business consulting by undertaking research projects for U.S. and foreign multinational enterprises, giving clients including such companies as Lockheed Martin, Rosetta Stone, EchoStar (Dish Network), and Danfoss, Inc., advice on real-life business and regulatory problems. The practicum emphasizes research, data presentation, and analytic skills, while teaching the students how to work together as a team.

Online Practica

Priority for online Practica admission is given to online students, but on-campus students are also welcome to apply!

Growth Strategy in Social Impact Organizations

Professor: Alessandra Zielinski

Course Time: W 7:30 PM - 8:50 PM

Student teams will have an opportunity to serve social enterprises and nonprofit organizations working in an international context as they explore different strategies to achieve their mission and scale their programs. Issues may include defining strategy, financial scenario planning, operations and organizational effectiveness, marketing and community engagement, or challenges related to leadership and governance. Student teams will finalize a scope of work, create a workplan, build various deliverables to help further the client organization’s work, and provide recommendations to the client sponsor to increase their scale of impact.

Alternative Strategies: Challenges to the Third Offset

Professor: Stephen Mariano

Course Time: Sat 9:00 AM - 10:20 AM

The client for this Alternative Strategies practicum will be either the NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium or the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Policy (NATO/Europe Office) in Washington DC. The project will focus on NATO's level of ambition and capability requirements outlined in a series of summit declarations and communiques. Students in this practicum will tackle a research question (or questions) from the NATO research agenda dealing with territorial defense and/or security challenges emanating from "the South." Students will examine NATO current response and explore alternative strategies to meet the challenge(s). This course has three components - students will:
(a) research the strategic and operational environments
(b) review NATO's current strategy
(c) recommend alternative strategies that address NATO's strategic challenges.

countering foreign state propaganda and disinformation

Professor: Jorhena Thomas

Course Time: Thursdays, 7:30-8:50pm

This practicum will focus on the evolving use of propaganda and disinformation campaigns by nation-states to confuse and manipulate targeted populations. Students will work with the State Department’s Global Engagement Center (GEC) to evaluate and provide recommendations for the United States’ efforts to recognize, understand, expose, and counter foreign state propaganda and disinformation efforts aimed at undermining United States national security interests.

practicum in research and evaluation for ngo international programs

Professor: Elizabeth Phelps

Course Time: Saturdays, 9:00-10:20am

This practicum gives students direct experience in program evaluation and internal research for NGO international programs. Students will collaborate with an international or local (outside the US) NGO to identify evaluation and research opportunities that answer to specific interests or needs of the organization. This might include investigating potential for program growth within a broader strategic planning process or evaluating a specific program as part of a regular grant funding cycle. Prior coursework OR work experience in program evaluation or organizational research required.

mis practicum

Professor: Claudia Hofmann

Course Time: N/A

The Master of International Service (MIS) Practicum is a capstone of the executive MIS program. It serves as a vehicle to help students integrate what they have learned in their graduate coursework and provides an opportunity for students to demonstrate the ability to apply their skills and knowledge to projects beneficial to their professional lives. The MIS Practicum represents a bridge between graduate studies and full-time involvement in international affairs.

Sanctions, Corruption and Terrorist Financing

Professor: Peter Piatetsky

Course Time: TBD

Sanctions are central to how world powers approach foreign policy crises like North Korea and Iran, and are regularly used by governments to freeze assets of terrorists and proliferators, highlight corruption and human rights abuse, and in some cases, punish opponents. Students in this practicum will learn how illicit actors raise, store and use funds, and how governments, journalists and banks identify, trace and freeze these funds. Students will participate in a financial war game and prepare a report on a current illicit finance topic for executives at a multinational bank or corporation. Well performing students will gain knowledge and experience that will improve their ability to obtain a job in national security, banking and international business or FinTECH.

Countering Foreign State Propaganda and Disinformation

Professor: Jorhena Thomas

Course Time: TBD

This practicum will focus on the evolving use of propaganda and disinformation campaigns by nation-states to confuse and manipulate targeted populations. Students will work to evaluate and provide recommendations for the United States’ efforts to recognize, understand, expose, and counter foreign state propaganda and disinformation efforts aimed at undermining United States national security interests.

Practica Abroad

Outside scholarships and funding may be available for Summer study abroad. If you are considering a Summer practica, please explore your options as soon as possible.

Program Evaluation in Global Education Bahamas

Countries around the world are working to improve access to quality education, especially for historically underserved youth, in order to support national development, health, and peace. Through this practicum experience, students will not only practice program evaluation skills in international education and youth development, but will also develop cross-cultural research and communication skills. Students will also exercise intercultural competence skills as they engage with our Bahamian partners.

Professor: Amanda Taylor

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Cooperation for Peacebuilding Israel and Palestine

Students will become familiar with the wider transboundary cooperation efforts of AIES, PWEG, and other organizations in the region. During the desk study portion of the practicum, they will study the theory and practice of environmental peacebuilding, learn about the challenges and opportunities of conducting research and evaluation in a conflict setting, and develop skill in rapid-appraisal techniques, interview methods, and others. They will be required to read extensively and participate in the formulation of an assessment framework/matrix. During the field portion of the practicum, they will live and work in close quarters, meet practitioners working for these NGOs as well as the beneficiary-participant parties of the projects and communities. They will also meet Israeli and Palestinian officials whose governance practices have bearing on water, cooperation and peace in the region. Team members will undertake desk-study and research design work early in the summer of 2018; travel to the region to collect data in the field through participant-observation, interviews, focus groups, and/or archival work at the project sites; and produce a report that will be submitted to the partners to help them assess, improve, and further develop their activities. The collaborative report-writing phase will take place through the remainder of the summer, and possibly into the fall, when one or more public presentations will be made.

Professors: Eric Abitbol and Ken Conca

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The Future of Cyber Conflict Norway or Denmark

Recent election hacks and the proliferation of malware linked to state-sponsors open new fronts in strategic competition between rivals. What is the emerging character of cyber conflict? How do revisionist states use cyber operations short of war to coerce domestic and international opponents? To what extent to these operations spillover into the commercial space creating new markets for malware and cybercrime? The course will take students to NATO's "northern flank" - Scandinavian and Baltic countries whose territorial and commercial interest leave put them in the Kremlin's crosshairs. The class will combine remote seminars with visits to multiple countries in Northern Europe. At the conclusion of the course, students will present government and corporate partners forecasts about the future of cyber conflict in the region.

Professor: Benjamin Jensen

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Project Design, Monitoring and Evaluation in Indonesia

Students will spend roughly two weeks in Indonesia conducting project design, monitoring, and evaluation with local NGOs in the country. Student teams will work with their assigned NGO to fulfill these needs, to be determined by the organizations. In most cases, students will evaluate one of the local partner's projects and help them to assess their impact, but in some cases they may assist in project design or proposing grants. Students will develop concrete project design, monitoring, and evaluation skills, such as the ability to design a theory of change and Logframe relevant to project goals, develop evaluation tools, collect and analyze data using these tools, and teach these skills to civil society organizations in an international context. The program will conclude with students leading a training for VIA's local NGO partners and providing a manual for VIA to use to train their partners in the future.

Professor: Alex Cromwell

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Program Evaluation in International Education Kenya

Practicum students will partner with Dignitas, an education-focused NGO working in nonformal communities in Nairobi, Kenya, to conduct a program evaluation on the organization’s new model. About to enter its 10th year of work in building the capacity of teachers and school leaders in nonformal community schools, Dignitas will be rolling out a newly refined program model designed for scale in early 2019. They are moving from working with a small group of 40 schools to expanding the organization’s impact to the education system more broadly. Students will support the organization in thinking about how to meaningfully evaluate system-wide impact, will have an opportunity to design a wide-scale impact evaluation, and along the way, will learn about the social, political and economic dimensions of educational development efforts in Nairobi.

Professor: Amanda Taylor

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Evironment and peacebuilding in the Middle east Israel and Palestine

Students will become familiar with the wider transboundary cooperation efforts of AIES, PWEG, and other organizations in the region. Team members will undertake desk-study and research design work at the beginning of the course; travel to the region to collect data in the field through participant-observation, interviews, focus groups, and/or archival work at the project sites; and produce a report that will be submitted to the partners to help them assess, improve, and further develop their activities. The collaborative report-writing phase will take place through the remainder of the Summer, when one or more public presentations will be made.

Professors: Eric Abitbol and Ken Conca

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Political Ecologies of Land Use Conflict Costa Rica

The 3-credit graduate-level practicum will examine the roots of land use conflict caused by the expansion of pineapple farming in Costa Rica. Students will gain experience in the practical application of political ecology as a means to study and understand these conflicts.

Professor: Scott Freeman

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Global Fellowship Training and Capacity Building

ThailanD

Students will conduct a 10-day training for the Volunteers in Asia (VIA) Global Community Fellowship Program. Practicum students will be split into different groups, each of which will be responsible for a particular aspect of the training. The training will include the following areas: cross-cultural communication, peace and conflict resolution, and international development. Students will develop multiple sessions related to each topic. Topics may change and additional topics may also be added to the list. Roughly 10-15 fellows will take part in this training, in preparation for their post teaching English or working with a local NGO, in one of 4 countries that VIA works with in Asia.

Professor: Alex Cromwell

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Common Sense Monitoring and Evaluation for Women and Child Protection

Manila, Philippines

Students will partner with the Child Protection Network (CPN) to enrich the work of their Women and Child Protection Units through the development of user friendly monitoring and evaluation tools. Students will grapple with the chronic challenges inherent to such undertakings—identifying meaningful performance metrics and balancing rigor, usability, and time and budget constraints. Important stakeholders to consider will include the Department of Health, local government units, hospital staff and families.

Professor: Stephanie Fischer

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Participatory Program Evaluation of a Girls' Health and Livelihood Intervention

Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania

Students in this course will evaluate an ongoing health promotion and livelihood training program for adolescent girls and young women living in informal settlements in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Students will travel to Tanzania to complete the fieldwork. The client is the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS), the national hospital and school of public health.

Professor: Nina Yamanis

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Countering Cyber Threats and State-Sponsored Information Operations

Tentative Locations: Berlin, Prague, Riga and Sofia

As state-sponsored disinformation from Russia continues unabated there is greater need to coordinate state-to-state and multilateral efforts that allow for the identification of synergies and build on specializations. This project will look into the efforts of British and European states to understand Russian disinformation with a focus on how the U.S. can best work effectively with international partners. 

Professor: Eric Novotny

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The Political Ecology of Water in Costa Rica

Ciudad Colon, Costa Rica

In this practicum, students will gain experience in the practical application of political ecology as a means to study and understand environmental conflicts in southwest Costa Rica. Students will investigate water issues that revolve both around industrial agriculture and energy generation. Students will learn research skills and a political ecology framework and will produce a deliverable for water activists in the region.

Professor: Scott Freeman

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