The Washington Policy Design Studio

The Washington Policy Design Studio (PDS) is the research and teaching arm of the McCain Institute for International Leadership.  Employing the extensive foreign and security policy leadership experience of the Institute staff, along with cutting edge teaching technology such as ASU’s unique “Decision Theater, ” students and faculty will collaborate in practical, hands-on foreign affairs experiences and problem solving exercises.  A part of the McCain Institute mission, the Policy Design Studio will focus on concrete outcomes/solutions for real world international challenges.  Students will help define the problems, seek solutions, and articulate policy recommendations.

A full Washington Semester of courses will begin in the fall academic year of 2013.  Starting in the winter semester of 2013, the Policy Design Studio will offer an ASU-based course on the social, political and economic aspects of the humanitarian crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and a Washington distance-learning course on foreign policy decision-making and the Decision Theater: 

Winter Semester 2013 (Washington and Tempe)

McCain Institute Policy Design Studio

Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Humanitarian Crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Over the past 15 years, an estimated 5.5 million people have died as a result of the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), making it the most deadly global crisis since the Second World War. Some have termed the conflict “Africa’s World War” because the violence, which began in the wake of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, has involved the overt and covert participation of many of the DRC’s neighbors and others in the region. The nation remains devastated by the legacy of brutal colonialism, over three decades of authoritarian rule and years of enormously destructive violence. Compounding this situation is the fact that the DRC is a large, diverse country that lacks coherent integration and unified state presence and legitimacy and is one of the poorest countries in the world. However, the DRC has enormous reserves of cassiterite cobalt, copper, gold, diamonds and other minerals that are estimated to be worth trillions. This course will provide an overview of the social, political and economic context of the DRC with a special focus on the role of the global community on addressing the country’s humanitarian crisis, looking at the United Nations, regional bodies, international advocacy groups and others. Each student will work on guided, data-based research linked to a larger McCain Institute initiative on developing improved policy responses to the crisis in the DRC.

McCain Institute Policy Design Studio

Designing Solutions to Complex International Relations Challenges

Under the guidance of the Executive and Senior Directors of ASU’s McCain Institute for International Leadership, students will engage in a highly creative and intense exercise of setting the factual baseline for effective international decision-making.   Students and faculty will prepare the new Washington-based Decision Theater for foreign policy applications.  Through research, design, and class discussion, participants will create a highly reliable global data set relevant to international policy-making and Decision Theater visualization.  The course will be led from Washington via video link as well as in direct interaction with senior staff of the McCain Institute.

Fall Semester 2013 (Washington)

McCain Institute Policy Design Studio

Designing Solutions to Complex International Relations Challenges

Under the guidance of the Executive Director of ASU’s McCain Institute for International Leadership, students will engage in a highly creative and intense exercise of setting the factual baseline for effective international decision-making.   Students and faculty will prepare the new Washington-based Decision Theater for foreign policy applications.  Through research, design, and class discussion, participants will create a highly reliable global data set relevant to international policy-making and Decision Theater visualization.  The course will be led from Washington via video link as well as in direct interaction with senior staff of the McCain Institute.

McCain Institute Policy Design Studio

U.S. Diplomacy in Action – The Embassy Country Team

Led by the Senior Director of ASU’s McCain Institute for International Leadership, a former U.S. Ambassador, students will constitute a U.S. Embassy Country Team to a specific nation and manage a reality-based diplomatic agenda.  Students will be assigned the actual roles of Embassy team members, and together with their "Ambassador," practice how U.S. foreign policy is developed and executed in the field.