University of Minnesota, Humphrey School launch collaboration with Human Rights Watch

leigh   March 25, 2015   News

Nexus of opportunity and risk: Atlantis student Benedikt Abendroth reflects on his decision to pursue a career in cybersecurity

leigh   March 24, 2015   News

Laws, like sausages, cease to inspire respect in proportion as we know how they are made.

1611c66This famous quote, often attributed to German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, reminds us of two things concerning policy in cyberspace: First, making laws and policy is a very complex undertaking, but has admirable and practical objectives for citizens. Second, it serves as a metaphor for how current policy makers perceive the cyber realm, although these perceptions are often very divergent from the problems that are actually addressed by the government. 

Based on my opinion, governing the internet simultaneously represents an enormous opportunity and a considerable risk.  Thus, I decided to dedicate my studies of International Relations to the nexus of policy and security in cyberspace. Making use of the diverse resources at the Maxwell School of Citizenship of Public Affairs, but also the innovative approach allowing me to take classes that are out-of-the-box in computer science, helped me to successfully pursue this unique academic journey. 

The recent cyber attacks on Sony Pictures in 2014 and their unprecedented diplomatic implications on U.S. foreign policy were the first of its kind, but will not be the last. To be prepared for these kinds of interrelated challenges, future professionals in International Relations need to be equipped with a very broad range of skill sets in many different fields. This summer, I will continue this exploration as a Microsoft Research Intern in their Global Security Strategy and Diplomacy Team in Redmond, WA. As a graduate in International Relations, I feel aptly prepared to learn more about this interesting topic during my upcoming internship and future career.

Editors’s note: Mr. Benedikt Abendroth is a graduate international relations student at the Maxwell School.  He is part of the school’s Atlantis transatlantic dual-degree program and will spend the summer semester working with the Microsoft Corporation in Redmond, Washington.

What can you do with an APSIA degree? Reduce urban blight through mobile mapping technology!

leigh     News

Diana Flora

Diana Flora is a student at the Ford School of Public Policy and a project manager at Data Driven Detroit (D3). She is leveraging GIS mapping technology and local community members to create a comprehensive map of every property in Detroit. The goal: Urban blight removal. 

In an effort to assist the City of Detroit’s Blight Removal Task Force identify and demolish vacant buildings that are in poor condition, the Motor City Mapping (MCM) project was created. Diana Flora and her team at D3 worked with two local organizations to collect information about the condition of every property in the city. 

To document the condition of each of the city’s building, approximately 150 Detroiters took to the streets using an app created by Loveland Technologies that allowed them to capture data with smartphones and tablets. Flora was able to draw upon her knowledge of GIS to help design a strategy for collecting the needed data, and to analyze and synthesize it.  

When asked why she pursued a Master of Public Policy in addition to her urban planning degree, she said, “I chose the dual Masters because of how well they complemented each other – urban planners often think about problems and their solutions from a historical and spatial perspective, while policy wonks can be strategic and analytical. I fit somewhere in the middle.” 

The collaborative mapping project has been such a success that municipalities from across the U.S. have contacted D3 and its partners to express an interest in replicating the process.

 Learn more about Diana and Data Driven Detroit here.


LBJ School of Public Affairs Dean Steps Down

leigh   February 23, 2015   News

download (2)On February 19, 2015, Ambassador Robert Hutchings, Dean of the Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ) School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, announced that he will step down as dean in August 2015. Dean Hutchings will spend Fall 2015 as visiting professor at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and Spring 2016 as Distinguished Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, working on a new book.  Thereafter, he will return to the LBJ School faculty as Professor of Public Affairs.

During his tenure as dean, he created six new international partnerships and developed new programs, including an undergraduate “Bridging Disciplines” program in public policy, a three-year dual degree program with the University of Texas Law School, an Executive Masters in Public Leadership, and the LBJ School Washington Center, launched in 2014.

Before joining the School in March 2010, Dean Hutchings was Diplomat-in-Residence at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton.  He was also faculty chair of its Master in Public Policy program and served for five years as assistant dean of the School.

Washington Center ad“Whether as our dean of public policy, or previously — as a leading scholar at Princeton, as chairman of the U.S. National Intelligence Council, as a director with the National Security Council, or as special adviser to the Secretary of State… Dean Hutchings has served with distinction and left a proud record of accomplishment,” Bill Powers, President of the University of Texas at Austin said.

From 2003-05, Dean Hutchings served as Chairman of the U.S. National Intelligence Council in Washington DC. His academic and diplomatic career has included service as Fellow and Director of International Studies at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Director for European Affairs with the National Security Council, and Special Adviser to the Secretary of State, with the rank of ambassador. He is currently a lifetime director of the Atlantic Council of the United States, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and founding president of the Austin Council on Foreign Affairs.  Dean Hutchings has served as the Vice President of APSIA since 2013.

A recipient of the National Intelligence Medal and the U.S. State Department Superior Honor Award, he was also awarded the Order of Merit (with Commander’s Cross) of the Republic of Poland. He is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and received his Ph.D. from the University of Virginia.

APSIA’s executive director Carmen Mezzera noted “Dean Hutchings’ dedication to students, particularly those traditionally underrepresented in international affairs, brought many important voices to the field. Likewise, his service on the APSIA executive committee and his work to strengthen international affairs education broadly helped to advance APSIA’s work at numerous member schools. He will be greatly missed.”


APSIA Deans and Directors Gather for 2015 Annual Meeting

leigh   January 22, 2015   News

On January 8-9, 2015, 47 representatives from 45 APSIA member and affiliate schools gathered in Washington, DC for the annual meeting of deans and directors.   

On Thursday, January 8, 30 representatives from 32 member schools gathered for their business meeting. After hearing a report on activities from Executive Director Carmen Mezzera, members engaged in a dialogue with representatives from the APSIA Career Services and Admissions Groups, which touched on the evolving job market for APSIA graduates, expanding recruitment, marketing, and public outreach, and improving APSIA’s data collection and analysis. 

The member meeting culminated in the unanimous adoption of revised membership criteria and policies. APSIA will reopen its application process as soon as possible, now that the changes have been adopted. 

That evening, members were joined by representatives from 17 affiliate schools for an informal reception and dinner. Over dinner, Jessica Mathews of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace offered a keynote address on the issues facing the international community in 2015. 

On Friday, January 9, members and affiliates gathered to explore challenges facing deans/directors and to share best practices. 

In the first of three large group discussion topics, speakers from the University of St. Gallen, Seoul National University, University of California, San Diego, and other schools offered insights into how programs can differentiate themselves on and outside their campus. As many universities seek to internationalize, discussants all recommended pursuing international partnerships and sharpening the school’s distinctive brand. 

Deans/directors then broke into small groups to explore trends in faculty hiring and student enrollment. The faculty group exchanged best practices in joint appointments, compared experiences with specialized faculty hiring, and commiserated about budget pressures. Meanwhile, other deans enjoyed a conversation on how to determine the desired number of enrolled students and how to identify sources of quality applicants. 

Next, participants reconvened to discuss strategies for building curricula rooted in global competencies. Presenters from the National University of Singapore, Sciences Po, and Tufts University stressed the need to differentiate between students’ skills and competencies. All discussants agreed that schools must continuously evaluate courses, workshops, and other programs for their ability to build broader competencies. 

The final discussion addressed how to build diversity into curricula and programs. Presenters from American University, Princeton University, Ritsumeikan University, and the University of Texas at Austin explored the many different ways to define diversity, including demographic, socioeconomic, and interdisciplinary. They offered strategies to attract faculty from a range of backgrounds and to integrate different types of students. However, many participants agreed that funding was the most significant challenge in the recruitment of students from traditionally underrepresented groups, despite best intentions. 

Susan Rice replies to Joe Bankoff's question (1)This conversation was an excellent prelude to a keynote address by US National Security Advisor Susan Rice. Ambassador Rice explained the benefits of having diverse perspectives and life experiences around a decision-making table. She asked APSIA to help substantially increase the number of professionals in the national security field from traditionally underrepresented groups. “In the 21st century,” she said, “there is no reasonable division between what happens in our country and what happens in the rest of the world…[and] careers in international affairs are tremendously rewarding” for their ability to address those connections. 

The meeting drew to a close with a discussion of next steps for the Association. Participants agreed to consider various collaborative projects and to look for more concrete steps to take on the issues discussed. 

The next deans’/directors’ meeting was scheduled for January 2016.

It’s All Global Now – Are You Ready?

leigh   December 17, 2014   News

Say #alohaAPSIA on December 1 & 2!

leigh   December 1, 2014   News

Interested in a grad degree with a global focus? Say #alohaAPSIA on December 1 and 2!

Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service and UC San Diego’s School of International Relations and Pacific Studies are hosting an info session at Brigham Young University–Hawaii and University of Hawaii Manoa. It’s a great opportunity to meet with both universities’ admissions teams and alumni. They will give an overview of APSIA, admissions requirements and curriculum, and information on careers in international affairs.

Learn more and register:

Brigham Young University–Hawaii APSIA Info Session
December 1, 2:30PM-3:30PM

University of Hawai’i at Manoa APSIA Info Session
December 2, 5:00PM-6:00PM

Syracuse University’s Middle Eastern Studies Program names new director

leigh   October 30, 2014   News


Thursday, October 30, 2014                              
Contact: Jill Leonhardt


Karin Ruhlandt, interim dean of The College of Arts and Sciences, and James Steinberg, dean of the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, are pleased to announce that Assistant Professor of Political Science Yüksel Sezgin has been named director of the Middle Eastern Studies Program (MESP) at Syracuse University.  In recognition of the multidisciplinary nature of the program, the two deans also have indicated their intention to appoint an associate director of Middle Eastern Studies from the Humanities Division of the College of Arts and Sciences to complement the role of the director.

Sezgin’s research and teaching interests include legal pluralism, comparative religious law, and human and women’s rights in the Middle East and South Asia.  He has taught at the University of Washington, Harvard Divinity School, and City University of New York and has held research positions at Princeton University, Columbia University, Bielefeld University, American University in Cairo, and the University of Delhi.  Sezgin is the author of Human Rights under State-Enforced Religious Family Laws in Israel, Egypt and India (Cambridge University Press, 2013); he is currently writing another book tentatively titled Democratizing Shari‘a: How Do Non-Muslim Democracies Apply and Regulate Muslim Family Laws? His articles dealing with Middle East affairs frequently appear on

Sezgin is the recipient of the American Sociological Association’s Gordon Hirabayashi Human Rights Book Prize (2014), the American Political Science Association’s Aaron Wildavsky Dissertation Award (2008), and the Middle East Studies Association’s Malcolm H. Kerr Dissertation Award (2008).  He earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Ankara, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, University of London, and the University of Washington.

Launched in 2003, the Middle Eastern Studies Program has become one of the most popular and active interdisciplinary programs at SU, with more than 20 affiliated faculty from departments across campus, including anthropology, architecture, communications and rhetorical studies, education, fine arts, geography, health and wellness, history, international relations, languages, literature and linguistics, law, philosophy, political science, and religion.  It is housed in the Maxwell School’s Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs and coordinates the offering of a Syracuse University major and minor in Middle Eastern studies, as well as a graduate certificate of advanced studies in Middle Eastern affairs.  Overall, the program participates in offering 20-25 courses on campus each semester, including language studies in Arabic, Turkish, and Hebrew, and hosts conferences, lectures, a film series, and language tables; it also publishes a regular newsletter.

MESP has received funding from the U.S. Department of Education, as well as generous donations from alumni and friends.  This support has helped provide grants to students who wish to travel to the Middle East.

Deans Ruhlandt and Steinberg expressed their appreciation to Professor of Political Science Mehrzad Boroujerdi, founder of the MESP, for his outstanding service as director for the past 11 years.  Boroujerdi has recently been named chair of the political science department at the Maxwell School.

Bush School Students Conduct Field Research in Senegal

leigh   October 21, 2014   News

SenegalDuring the past summer, Dr. Jessica Gottlieb and three student interns from the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University traveled to the West African country of Senegal to conduct two months of intensive field work and research.  Based out of a local research institute in Dakar, the nation’s capital, the team sought to understand how local elites—religious, traditional, or political leaders—can wield their influence to guide voters’ decisions, even when it goes against the voters’ best interests.

“Many citizens in new democracies are subject to the influence of powerful local elites when they go to cast their vote,” Gottlieb said.  “This is not necessarily a bad thing, but these local elites can also abuse their status and influence in ways that are more beneficial to themselves than the voters,” she added.

The field work involved a household survey, leader survey, and a series of behavioral games conducted in sixty-four rural Senegalese villages.  With the assistance of three Bush School students and several members of the local Senegal community, the research project was divided into three stages: training and preparation, field work, and data entry.

“Getting the first phase of the project underway was a herculean task,” said Bush School student Susana Svojsik.  “Given the size of our sample and complexity of the experiments, the number of individual pieces of material we had to prepare exceeded 10,000.”

During the first stage, Gottlieb and the interns trained sixteen enumerators to conduct the surveys and simulations and prepare survey and simulation materials for all 1,024 participants in the survey.  Since municipal elections were slated for the end of June, all of the training and fieldwork had to be completed in less than five weeks after the team arrived in the country.  Following a pilot test of the surveys and simulation, the sixteen enumerators were dispatched into the field.  To cover all sixty-four villages, each intern and the local supervisor managed a team of four enumerators.

“While in the field, I met with village chiefs and elders to stress the objective of our presence and seek their permission to conduct our experiment,” said Bush School student Kwamae Twumasi-Ankrah.  “It was a good way to practice my French while building relationships with my teammates.”

In addition to navigating the vagaries of life in a foreign country, the team was struck by the stark differences between the political campaigning process in Senegal and the United States.

“While campaign visits in America are fairly serious events, with speech giving and hand-shaking, the campaigns I witnessed in Senegal were more like community parties,” said Bush School student Kelsey Barrera.  “Further study of the democratic process in Senegal should help give us insight into possible solutions for strengthening democracy in these fragile or conflict-affected countries.”

After the surveys and simulation games were completed, the third and final stage of the project began—data entry.  Because transporting physical copies of thousands of pages of research data back to the United States was out of the question, the research team had to digitize all of the materials. 

Stockholm School of Economics announces double degree with SciencesPo

leigh   October 14, 2014   News

Two European APSIA members, Stockholm School of Economics (SSE) and Sciences Po, announced a new collaboration, and “joined their expertise to create a cross-disciplinary dual Master’s degree program.” – Sciences Po

“The aim is to create a top-class degree offering for graduate students planning careers in diplomacy, international organisations, social engagement, as well as international business and financial settings where a solid understanding of political dynamics are a crucial success factor.” – Stockholm School of Economics.

Students will earn two master’s degrees: one in business/economics from SSE, and one in international relations from from PSIA at Sciences Po. 

The two-year framework will accept qualified applicants from around the world and begin with up to 10 students in the fall of 2015. Several curricular combinations are possible, and prospective students must meet admission criteria for the chosen Masters programs at both schools. The first year is spent at Sciences Po in Paris studying international relations, and its second year is spent at SSE in Stockholm studying business administration and/or economics. On completion of their studies, successful candidates will receive two master’s degrees, one from each institution.

Learn more about admissions requirements here.