Upcoming Practica

The following courses will be offered as Practica in the 2021-2022 academic year. For reference, courses from previous semesters are also listed.

On-campus Practica

The following Practica are available to all graduate students, including online program (MAIR/MIS) students that can attend weekly on-campus classes.

Understanding and Countering Disinformation in the Digital Age

Professor: Jorhena Thomas

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

This course provides a practicum experience for students as they develop an understanding of the strategic, tactical and ethical issues related to digital disinformation. The client is the Alethea Group, a countering disinformation consultancy that detects and mitigates instances of disinformation and social media manipulation to help clients navigate the new digital threats.

Intelligence and Analysis

Professor: Aki Peritz

Course Time: W 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.

A Wicked Challenge to US National Security

Professor: Sally Shelton-Colby

Course Time: F 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.

*Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, these Summer 2021 practica will be offered fully online.

Human Rights and Political Violence

Professor: Jeff Bachman

Course Time: M + W 5:30-8:00PM from May 10 - June 26

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.

The Political Ecology of Water in Costa Rica

Professor: Scott Freeman

Course Time: M + W 7:00-9:30PM from May 10 - June 26

This practicum will build on the previous two years of work with water and agricultural activists in southwest Costa Rica. This course will continue with these efforts, working with activists in the region as they forge localized water plans and management groups. Students will work together with activists and use research techniques to collectively understand social and political dynamics at play in the region.

The Health & Livelihood Effects of COVID-19 on Adolescent Girls in Tanzania

Professor: Nina Yamanis

Course Time: Th 5:30-8:00pm (Full Summer Term)

The goal of this practicum is to assess the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the social networks, livelihoods, and health of adolescent girls/young women who are out of school in urban Tanzania. Students in this course will analyze qualitative (in-depth interview) and survey data collected by the client's research team.

Security Threats and Strategic Opportunities: US-Israeli Defense

Professor: Claudia Hofmann

Course Time: T 5:30-8:00pm (Full Summer Term)

Students will examine and identify shared security threats and strategic opportunities for Israel and the US in the Eastern Mediterranean. Based on this examination, students will make policy recommendations regarding the capabilities that the countries could develop together, propose specific export, co-production, and co-development processes for the necessary equipment, and identify budget opportunities to execute the recommendations.

A Wicked Challenge to U.S. National Security

Shelton-Colby, Sally

 

Fridays, 5:30-8:00PM EST

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. 

 

Building Training and Educational Focused Opportunities

Smith, David

 

Mondays, 8:20-10:00PM EST

This course will focus on the role that training and education play in advancing peacebuilding and conflict resolution outcomes. Students will learn about how formal training and education builds skills, aptitudes, and knowledge in the field. They will work with practitioner groups and NGOs to develop training and educational curricula that meet the needs of various constituencies. In the process, students will learn who to deliver and assess programs that benefit organizational goals. 

 

Conflict Mitigation and Peacebuilding

Hrach, Gregorian

 

Thursdays, 5:30-8:00PM EST

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. 


Human Rights Due Diligence in the Seafood Industry 

Gearhart, Judy

 

Mondays, 5:30-8:00PM EST

In this practicum, students will engage in policy debates around the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and their application in the seafood industry. Students will research and analyze emerging laws for mandatory human rights due diligence and methodologies for supply chain due diligence and reporting. Course deliverables will assist funders and practitioners in developing policies and recommendations that address human rights abuse in seafood supply chains and the illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing often correlated with that abuse.

 

Intelligence and Analysis

Peritz, Aki

 

Wednesdays, 5:30-8:00PM EST

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. 


 

Social Innovation Practicum 

Sachs, Nancy

 

Tuesdays, 5:30-8:00PM EST

This practicum is for students intrigued by a problem in society who want to develop a solution such as a deliverable for a nonprofit organization, a business plan for a social enterprise, or an app that delivers an essential social service. A central requirement is a willingness to listen to and work with those affected by that issue to understand how they perceive the problem and possible solutions.

 

Supporting Social Movements: Funding for Human Rights and Inclusive Development

Hossain, Naomi

 

Fridays, 5:30-8:00PM EST

International aid donors struggle to support social movements, and to learn about what works. This practicum will support an innovative funder of human rights and inclusive development in Bangladesh to analyze and reflect on 20 years of experience, develop case studies of organizations working on women’s and minority group rights, and co-design a communications strategy for the findings.

 

The Health & Livelihood Effects of COVID-19 on Adolescent Girls in Tanzania

Yamanis, Nina

 

Tuesdays, 8:20-10:50PM EST

The goal of this practicum is to assess the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the social networks, livelihoods, and health of adolescent girls/young women who are out of school in urban Tanzania. Students in this course will analyze qualitative (in-depth interview) and survey data collected by the client's research team.

 

The Impact of Climate Change on the Global Economy and Business

McKean, David

 

Mondays, 5:30-8:00PM EST

This practicum will examine how climate change is impacting the global economy and forcing businesses to reevaluate their long-term objectives and strategies.  By looking at various industries and corporations in the United States and Europe, students will be asked to evaluate what role the private sector can play in influencing public policy. The students’ deliverables will be used to help the private sector respond responsibly — and, ideally, proactively — to climate change.

 

US-Latin America: Prospects for Cooperation 

Armstrong, Fulton

 

Mondays, 5:30-8:00PM EST

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.  

 

Youth Development: Empowering Young Changemakers

Boedicker, Nick

 

Thursdays, 5:30-8:00PM EST

Around the world, young people are leading positive social change. Increasingly, organizations are stepping in to support their efforts and to empower more young changemakers to take action on local and global social issues. In this practicum, students will work with those organizations to improve their ability to empower youth to create impact. Examples of projects may include needs assessments, program development, impact evaluations, etc. Students will also learn and put into practice a set of key consulting skills to support clients in understanding and creating value for and with the youth they serve.

Online Practica

Priority for online programs Practica admission is given to students in online programs (MAIR/MIS), but other graduate students are also welcome to apply!

Evidence-Based Approaches to Education in Emergencies

Professor: Ally Krupar

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

A student-led cross-country evaluation of Save the Children’s Education in Emergencies research and programming. Core issues include mapping and gap analysis of ongoing research efforts by various Save the Children members and country offices developing, coordinating with advocacy initiatives, and developing knowledge management systems.

Alternative Strategies: Challenges of the Third Offset for NATO

Professor: Stephen Mariano

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

This 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 security challenges.

Global Health Policy Practice

Professor: Maysaa Alobaidi

Course Time: W 9:00-10:20PM EST

The course provides practical experience for students who are interested in pursuing a career in international development focusing on global health. Using a combination of didactic and hands-on experience, the course will help students apply theoretical knowledge and skills gained from their other courses to real-world global health issues.

MIS Practicum: Translating Learning into Practice

Professor to be announced.

 

Tuesdays, 5:30-8:00PM EST

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, Terrorist Financing, and Financial Crimes

Shrager, Joshua

 

Wednesdays, 9:00-10:20PM EST 

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. In this practicum, 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. According to 2018 data, the private sector in the US spends about $25 billion annually to comply with sanctions and financial crime regulations, and executives are constantly seeking fresh insights. 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. 

 

Growth Strategies in Social Impact Organizations

Zielinski, Alessandra

 

Tuesdays, 7:30-8:50PM EST 

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. 

 

Practica Abroad

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

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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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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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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