Are you interested in sustainability and international development? The Elliott School’s M.A. program in International Development Studies (IDS) offers an interdisciplinary opportunity to study those issues from different angles. For more information on the IDS program, a selection of courses, and our Adaptation to Climate Change research initiative, please click here.
This Spring, IDS capstone groups traveled to 10 locations around the globe, including Ghana, Malawi, Sri Lanka, Nepal, India, Ukraine, Serbia, Uganda, and Rwanda, in addition to Kenya. Project topics ranged from youth entrepreneurship in Serbia to the male transition to adulthood in Sri Lanka and Nepal to corporate volunteer programs worldwide.
“The client organizations that worked with our students this year were extremely pleased with what the students accomplished,” said Professor Sean Roberts, director of the IDS program. “In one case, an NGO focused on educational issues in Africa said that the work the students did in bolstering their monitoring and evaluation mechanisms contributed to a donor’s decision to substantially increase funding to the NGO.”
In addition to providing services to organizations that otherwise might not have the resources to develop new projects, capstones provide valuable experience for students’ future professional life.
“Nothing compares to the capstone experience for preparing students to become development practitioners,” said Professor Christina Fink, advisor to the HERproject group. “Having to secure a client organization, develop a research methodology, and carry out fieldwork in another country is not easy, but the students all rise to the challenge and perform very professionally.”
In March 2012, Elliott School students Katie Appel, Erica Buckingham, Krista Jodoin, and Danielle Roth traveled to Nairobi, Kenya to undertake research that aims to benefit female workers worldwide. Part of the students’ culminating experience at the Elliott School – their capstone for the International Development Studies (IDS) program – the project paired the students with a nonprofit development organization and put them in the field for their research.
Collaborating with HERproject, a workplace-based women’s health organization, the group tested methods to help workers take a more active role in their own health. The four graduate students worked with 89 participants, speaking to farm management and workers, local health care providers, and NGO representatives. “We ultimately found [participatory] methods to be very beneficial, as women rely heavily on the support and advice of their female workers on the farm,” said Katie.
The IDS capstone is designed to provide graduating masters students with real-world development experience. Students are required to seek out and collaborate with a development organization to conduct research abroad. For the HERproject group, this real-world experience was eye-opening. “Our group was surprised at how often the scope of our work evolved, but we were eager to adapt to the changes,” said Danielle. “This experience reminded me of some of the key skills needed by any practitioner in my field – flexibility, sensitivity to cultural mores and power dynamics, and strong management capabilities.”
Though the project brought a special attention to participatory methods in terms of worker-related health, group member Katie brought home a larger lesson for her future career in the field. “I think after this experience we are all ‘believers’ in the value of participation in international development – enabling the local community to engage as key actors in the intervention. Only by encouraging participation can an intervention even have a shot at bringing positive and relevant change to a community.”
from Briefing, May 2012
Would you like to take a non-degree class this summer? You can see the full list of 2012 summer courses online. There are a few courses still available:
Post-Soviet Democracy Development
The objective of this seminar is to provide students with a broad overview of democratization development as it relates to the former-Soviet region. The course juxtaposes democratization theory with its actual practice in countries of the region, looking for trends and explanations for the trajectory of political development. Students will take a critical look at various democratization theories and implementation strategies employed in the region, as a means of broadening their own perspective, then will learn to apply their ideas to the formulation of strategies for the promotion of democracy.
Impact of Election Assistance
This course will start by exploring various approaches to election assistance, and their underlying rationales: how do different donors interpret the line between promoting democracy and interfering in the domestic affairs of a nation. The second part of the course will add practical application to the various election assistance approaches studied by looking at a series of case studies from the post-soviet states. Finally, the course will consider how election programming relates to other types of programming within the Democracy and Governance sphere, as well and Conflict and Post Conflict activities and explore how to better plan assistance for election based upon conditions in a particular country.
Two immediate and unavoidable facts confront us in this course. First, terrorism is a highly complex phenomenon and we have a limited amount of time to analyze it properly. Second, U.S. political and policy debates about terrorism are often not so much about “them” as they are about “us.” The spector of terrorism, in other words, has provided American political leaders, policy elites and citizens with the opportunity to debate how we should define ourselves as a nation and how we should politically engage with the world at large. We must also be aware of how societal preparedness and responses to terrorism can influence the efficacy of terrorism in the US and internationally.
Stabilization & Peace Building
Today’s states face challenges from myriad directions. Globalization, insurgencies, ethnic or sectarian conflict, totalitarianism, transnational crime syndicates, failing governance systems, cultural dissonance, terrorism, and emerging health threats are but just a sample of the dynamics that can bring down a state. Failed or failing states provide space and time in which conditions can form that in turn threaten a region or the international community.
Introduction to Gaming & Simulations
This course will review collaborative analysis techniques that have been developed to game out or simulate issues and situations of significance. The course presents an overview of public and private sector applications of these methods for analysis and training. It will also provide detailed descriptions of various approaches and their conceptual underpinnings.
Writing for Intelligence Professionals
This course will focus on the various types of writing you will likely encounter in the professional world – with an emphasis on the government sector, and in particular the intelligence community. Writing requires practice and this course will involve a series of short written assignments, plus in class practical exercises covering the types of written products routinely encountered in the professional world.
Political Economics of Financing Climate Change
Among the many developmental and environmental challenges humankind faces, climate change is the most complex ever encountered. No country is immune. No country alone can take on the interconnected challenges posed by climate change, including the controversial political decisions. As increasing amounts of money become available for climate change mitigation, this course will examine the financial architecture of climate change mitigation programs to assess performance, identify best practices, and evaluate the efficacy of these programs.
Defense Policy and Program Analysis
The course provides a very practical view of defense analysis: it stresses analysis as it is actually used in the national security community to help shape policy. The course will give students a firm foundation of defense affairs and issues; critical thinking about them; discrimination regarding analyses of them; and the skills to evaluate and sometimes employ the tools of analysis to help resolve them.
War & Conflict in Africa
This course explores patterns of armed conflict in contemporary Africa, its most important causes, and international responses to it. It does so in four parts. Part 1 explores how Africa’s wars relate to global trends in armed conflict. Part 2 analyses the major explanations for armed conflict in contemporary Africa namely neopatrimonialism, ethnicity, state failure, warlord politics, liberation struggles and competition over resources. Part 3 examines some of the main dynamics of Africa’s wars by looking at the roles played by insurgencies, private actors and children. Part 4 explores international responses to Africa’s wars and asks how they might be brought to an end.
Alternative Analysis: Red Team Approach
This course introduces students to the concept and application of alternative analysis. Alternative analysis is used not only in intelligence analysis and military operations, but also in commercial and business analysis. This course is designed for graduate students across many disciplines, who look to gain a better understanding of the intelligence community, learn alternative analysis techniques, and practice critical thinking skills that are applicable to any context.
Please join the Elliott School’s International Development Studies Class of 2012 as they present their final capstone projects to their faculty mentors, client organizations, and peers. This year’s capstones include diverse projects in youth development, food and agricultural policy, education, gender issues, corporate responsibility and democracy and governance.
Friday, April 27 and Friday, May 4, 2012
5 pm in the Lindner Family Commons, Room 602, 1957 E Street, NW
Friday, April 27
5:15-5:45 Monitoring Food & Agriculture Policies in Ghana: A Study of Policy Processes, Stakeholders and Expenditures in the Agriculture Sector
5:45-6:15 Developing Pact’s Global Livelihoods Indicator 2.0
6:15-6:45 A Conflict of Interest: Measuring the Global Results of Governance and Peacebuilding Initatives
6:45-7:15 Supporting Youth Entrepreneurship in Serbia: Challenges and Opportunities
Friday, April 27
5:15-5:45 Exploring the value of international corporate volunteer programs
5:45-6:15 Outcomes and iPods: The Hunger Project’s Outcome Evaluation Pilot
6:15-6:45 Integrated Rural Development and Food Security
Friday, May 4
5:15-5:45 Utilizing Participatory Methods to Enrich Health-Related Baseline Data Collection In Kenya: A HERproject Case Study
5:45 – 6:15 A Brighter Future: Evaluating a Girls’ Secondary Education Program in Malawi
6:15 – 6:45 Male Youth Transition to Adulthood from a Cross-Generational Perspective: Case Studies from Nepal and Sri Lanka
6:45 – 7:15 Tapping into Local Knowledge: How Community Based Organizations Prevent Violence Against Women During Emergencies
The Elliott School of International Affairs and the David H. Miller Foundation present
Prospects for Progress: Development, Security, and Governance in Sub-Saharan Africa
- Mimi Alemayehou, Executive Vice President, Overseas Private Investment Corporation
- William “Mark” Bellamy, Director, Africa Center for Strategic Studies, National Defense University; Former U.S. Ambassador to Kenya
- Tebelelo Seretse, Ambassador of Botswana to the United States
- Ambassador George Moose, Adjunct Professor of Practice of International Affairs, GW (co-chair)
- Ambassador David Shinn, Adjunct Professor of International Affairs, GW (co-chair)
Monday, April 16, 2012
6:30 – 7:30 PM Lecture
7:30 – 8:00 PM Reception
Elliott School of International Affairs
City View Room, 7th Floor
1957 E Street NW
RSVP at: http://go.gwu.edu/MillerLecture
For Elliott School Professor Robert Maguire, a decision he made early in his life shaped not only his career path, but the mark he’s left on the world.
After completing a stint with the Peace Corps after earning his undergraduate degree in 1972, Dr. Maguire found himself in southern Louisiana researching the ethnography of African American Creole speakers for his Ph.D. Having learned the Creole language during his research, he was offered a job in Haiti with the Inter-American Foundation (IAF). This experience later led him to write the book Bottom-Up Development in Haiti.
Professor Maguire’s expertise in Haiti is already proving to be a valuable resource for his students. Last fall, he developed and taught a course titled “Post-Disaster Development: Haiti and Comparative Perspective.” Students examined development issues in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake and compared them to those of other major natural disasters — including the 2004 tsunami in Asia and Hurricane Katrina.
Inspired by what they learned in class, a group of Professor Maguire’s students created Youth-Led Development Through Theatre in Rural Haiti. The organization helps Haitian youth explore their talents and carve out a future for themselves and their nation. With the guidance of Professor Maguire, who directs the Elliott School’s Latin American and Hemispheric Studies program, the group submitted a proposal to attend, and was chosen to participate in, the Clinton Global Initiative University at GW from March 30–April 1.
Having worked for the State Department before joining GW, Dr. Maguire continues to run a 20-week training seminar at the Foreign Service Institute for Foreign Service Officers (FSOs) going to Haiti. He also regularly participates in media interviews on issues related to Haiti. “I think it’s very important to have this type of information available at the disposal of the public and to try to help policymakers do a better job in their work,” he said.
In spite of its size, Professor Maguire says the country continues to influence policy in the western hemisphere. “As small as it is, Haiti has been, for one reason or another, a major foreign policy issue in the United States.” he said. “The future for Haiti — the one thing that is certain — is that Haiti is not going to go away.”
Some professors participating in the 2012 GW Global Forum have answered a variety of questions in short videos. See what some Elliott School faculty had to say:
Professor Mike Mochizuki, answering questions about the Elliott School, U.S. relations with Asia, globalization and foreign policy challenges.
Professor Elizabeth Chacko answers questions about globalization, geography, development, and gender.
Professor Laura Engel answers questions about globalization and the internationalization of education.
Professor Jennifer Spencer answering questions about international business, development, and innovation.
Women’s and gender issues are very near and dear to my heart. It’s what I study at the Elliott School and the bulk of my professional experience has been with women in international contexts. March 8th is International Women’s Day and many organizations around Washington DC have decided to celebrate the important contribution women make to all aspects of society. Below are some of the events taking place in our neck of the woods.
- The Elliott School’s own Global Gender Program is hosting a day-long symposium with many impressive speakers addressing subjects such as addressing sexual violence in war, peace operations and improving gender equality through research in the Middle East, North Africa, and beyond. The keynote address will be delivered by Maria Otero, Under of Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights.
- CARE will be celebrating International Women’s Day with a conference centered on advocacy on Capital Hill. The organizers will also be screening the film Pray the Devil Back to Hell, a story of how grass roots activism, carried out by Liberian women, helped end the vicious civil war.
- On Sunday March, 4th thousands of women from across the country will make the journey to Washington to be part of a celebration of women’s leadership with a rally on the National Mall
- American Women for International Understanding will host their annual International Women of Courage Celebration at the National Press Club.
- Women of Vision will be hosting their biannual conference “ Every Woman Has A Story.”
- The Women’s Foreign Policy Group is hosting an International Women’s Day Luncheon with Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO and Lakshmi Puri, Assistant Secretary-General of UN Women.
- Women Thrive Worldwide will be hosting a breakfast and discussion on ending violence against women. Distinguished speakers include: Judy Woodruff, Co-Anchor of PBS Newshour; Maria Bello, Actor and Activist; Edna Adan Ismail, Somali FGM Activist and one of Newsweek’s 150 Women Who Shake the World, and more.
The Organization of International Development (OID) is one of the Elliott School’s student orgs and is associated with the M.A. in International Development Studies (IDS). They host round-table discussions, presentations, lectures, career workshops, film screenings, and social events.
Several OID members have shared their summer 2011 job and internship experiences. Click here to see an interactive map with locations and descriptions. Some of them also posted their summer adventures on the IDS blog.
12 Masters Degrees
At the Elliott School we offer twelve master’s degree programs including 10 Master of Arts, a mid-career program called the Master of International Policy and Practice, and a dual degree for students at our partner institutions abroad—Master of International Studies.
Each program’s page has links in the left column to information such as curriculum, foreign language requirements, faculty, internships/employment opportunities, study abroad options, and special events.
- Asian Studies
- European and Eurasian Studies
- Global Communication
- International Affairs
- Latin American and Hemispheric Studies
- International Development Studies
- International Trade and Investment Policy
- International Science and Technology Policy
- Middle East Studies
- Security Policy Studies
- Master of International Policy and Practice
- Master of International Studies
I recently attended a book party celebrating some of the great work of our faculty, and I wanted to share links for you to learn more about their publications from this year. Take a look through the list and perhaps you’ll find some to put on your personal reading list.
Hossein Askari, Risk Sharing in Finance: the Islamic Finance Alternative
Michael Barnett, Empire of Humanity: A History of Humanitarianism;Humanitarianism Contested: Where Angels Fear to Tread
Michael E. Brown (ed.), Do Democracies Win Their Wars? An International Security Reader
Nathan J. Brown, When Victory is Not an Option: Islamist Movements in Arab Politics; (ed.) The Dynamics of Democratization
Robert Eisen, The Peace and Violence of Judaism: From the Bible to Modern Zionism
Amitai Etzioni, Law in a New Key: Essays on Law and Society
David Alan Grier (ed.), The Machines of Charles Babbage
Henry Hale (ed.), Russia in the 2000s: A Stereoscopic View
Hope Harrison, Ulbrichts Mauer. Wie die SED Moskaus Widerstand gegen den Mauerbau brach (Ulbricht’s Wall: How the SED Broke Moscow’s Resistance to Building the Wall)
Peter L. Hays, Space and Security: A Reference Handbook; (ed.) Toward a Theory of Spacepower: Selected Essays
James G. Hershberg, Marigold: The Lost Chance for Peace in Vietnam
Norman Hicks, The Challenge of Economic Development
Benjamin Hopkins, Fragments of the Afghan Frontier
Gina M.S. Lambright, Decentralization in Uganda: Explaining Successes and Failures
John M. Logsdon, John F. Kennedy and the Race to the Moon
Marc Lynch (ed.), Revolution in the Arab World: Tunisia, Egypt, And the Unmaking of an Era
Barbara Miller, Cultural Anthropology, 6th Edition
Kimberly Morgan, The Delegated Welfare State: Medicare, Markets, and the Governance of Social Policy
Henry R. Nau, Perspectives on International Relations: Power, Institutions and Ideas
Joseph Pelzman, The Economics of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)
Elizabeth N. Saunders, Leaders at War: How Presidents Shape Military Interventions
John Schmidt, The Unraveling: Pakistan in the Age of Jihad
David Shambaugh (ed.), Charting China’s Future: Domestic and International Challenges
Robert Shepherd, Partners in Paradise: Tourism Practices, Heritage Policies, and Anthropological Sites
Stephen C. Smith, Economic Development, 11th Edition
Robert Sutter, U.S.-Chinese Relations: Perilous Past, Pragmatic Present
Emmanuel Teitelbaum, Mobilizing Restraint: Democracy and Industrial Conflict in Post-reform South Asia
We are continuing our recruitment travel around the U.S. this week. Please come see us in Seattle, Denver, and here at home in D.C. You can use the links below to register to attend the fairs.
Seattle Idealist.org Graduate Degree Fair: Tuesday, October 18 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Denver Idealist.org Graduate Degree Fair: Thursday, October 20 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Society for International Development Washington, D.C. Chapter 2011 Career Fair: Friday, October 21 1:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
If you haven’t yet read our tips for attending grad fairs, click here.
Jambo. Habari gani? I think I forgot to mention in my introductory post that I also speak three words of Swahili. When am I ever going to be able to use my three words of Swahili? When I go to Kenya this March! No, I’m not going on safari. I’m going for school. I will be spending two weeks in-country working on my capstone project.
A capstone project or class is the culminating experience offered by the Elliott School in lieu of writing a thesis. Although you are also welcome to write a thesis as a student here, the Elliott School recognizes that most of its students have a practitioner-focus and will benefit more from a practical application of the skills they acquired in their master’s program. There are lots of different types of capstones- they could be classes in which you do a simulation or explore one specific issue in great depth. For students in the International Development Studies program (that’s me!), we work with real clients in the international development field on a project of analytical nature. We might do a needs assessment of a current project or conduct an evaluation of a completed program. In my case, I will be working with three of my classmates to conduct an evaluation of a pilot project in the cut flower industry of Kenya. The details are still emerging, so I can’t share them with you yet. To learn a little more about capstone projects, here’s the link to previous projects from the International Development Studies program.