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4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW Washington, DC 20016 United States

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Skills Institutes are intensive workshops designed to introduce students to professional skills relevant to careers in international affairs. Taught by experienced practitioners from many fields, the courses allow participants to translate theory into practice and gain the competencies sought by today's employers.

Students are encouraged to look beyond their own program for Skills Institutes that may be relevant to their interests and intended career paths. Students should also consult their Academic Advisors and program policies to see how Skills Institutes will count toward degree requirements.

Skills Institutes take place over 2-3 full days, usually on a Friday, Saturday, and Sunday; however, there are exceptions. Students should verify the dates and times before registering for a Skills Institutes. Courses are designed to be intensive and experiential, and often include a final deliverable that can be added to the student's professional portfolio. Some advanced preparation may be required.

Getting the message across

Craig Schmall

I teach the 'Briefing Policymakers' Skills Institute course.

About half of our messaging reaches policymakers through a briefing. In my Skills Institute course, I aim to provide students with a plan and practice to construct a memorable briefing for policymakers. Successful briefs should consider who the audience is, what the audience already knows or assumes, their biases, and more. This course is a great place for students to reveal and understand their strengths and weaknesses with verbal presentations.

Frequently Asked Questions

On campus

All students should register for on-campus Skills Institutes as you would any other course, through Eagle Service. Space is limited and early registration is strongly recommended. Additionally, students should make all registration changes for Skills Institutes no later than 24 hours before the Skills Institute meets. Students who add a Skills Institute within 48 hours of the Skills Institute meeting must contact the faculty member to confirm your enrollment and obtain any course materials already distributed.


In the event that select online Skills Institutes become available to on-campus students, registration deadlines will be earlier and students will follow a different registration process via the IR Online program. Online students register for online Skills Institutes as you would for any other course, using Eagle Service.

Skills Institutes for certain programs may require prerequisite courses. Check the course description or the program website for information about prerequisites.

Most Skills Institutes are graded pass/fail. Some programs require letter grades for the Skills Institutes they offer. Skills Institutes may not be audited. Students are expected to attend the entirety of any registered Skills Institute and should plan accordingly. Students who miss more than two hours of a Skills Institute may fail the course.

Students will be charged the current tuition rate for one graduate-level credit hour. An additional materials fee may also apply.

Culturally-Responsive Program Design

Professor Amanda Taylor

Saturday 5/20 and Sunday 5/21 from 9am-5pm

Fieldwork Preparation for Aid Work in Emergencies and Conflicts

Professor Annie Sparrow

Saturday 5/20 and Sunday 5/21 from 9am-5pm

Expeditionary Civil-Military Interactions

Professors Jesse Pruett and Anthony Wanis St. John

Saturday 6/3 and Sunday 6/4 from 9am-5pm

Impact Investing

Professor Lisa Willems

Saturday 6/10 and Saturday 6/11 from 9am-5pm

Smartphone Media Production

Professor Larry Engel

Saturday 7/8 and Saturday 7/16 from 9am-5pm

Art and Post-War Healing

Professor Hrach Gregorian

Saturday 7/8 and Sunday 7/9 from 9am to 5pm

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