Washington Policy Design Studio

The Washington Policy Design Studio brings students to Washington, D.C. for a full semester of intensive class work in the art of foreign policy making, combined with an internship in the Washington policy community. The PDS utilizes the extensive foreign and security policy expertise of the McCain Institute’s leadership, along with the cutting-edge technology of the Decision Theater,

Students participate in a weekly seminar at the McCain Institute and research solutions to real-world foreign policy issues. Working directly with Senior Director Ambassador Michael C. Polt and Professor of Practice Ambassador Edward O’Donnell, both career foreign service officers, students are immersed in a highly-creative and intense exercise of learning the process of foreign policy decision making. Students are constituted as a U.S. embassy staff to a specific country and manage a reality-based diplomatic agenda. They are assigned the actual roles of embassy team members, and together with Ambassador Polt and Ambassador O’Donnell, practice how foreign policy is developed and executed in the field. Through research, design and class discussion, participants create a data set relevant to foreign policy implementation, visualized using the McCain Institute’s Decision Theater. The course also includes extensive character-driven leadership training for participants led by U.S. Army Lieutenant General Benjamin Freakley, senior advisor to ASU President Michael Crow.

In addition to one day of intense coursework each week, students participating in the Policy Design Studio intern four days a week at an organization in Washington. Previous students have interned at federal government departments, law firms, lobbying firms, advocacy groups, media outlets and nonprofit organizations. Participants also visit government agencies, historical sites and attend networking events. This is a unique opportunity for students in any major to gain valuable skills and hands-on foreign affairs, teamwork and leadership experience.

In The Arena – Episode 22: Ambassador O’Donnell

Ambassador Ed O’Donnell (Ret.) talks about how he wielded the tools of diplomacy in his action-packed career, and names the character-driven leaders who inspired and impacted him the most…

(1) Spring 2019 class visiting the Embassy of Germany; (2) Spring 2016 class visiting Senator McCain’s office; (3) Megan Kelly, Spring 2016 – Vietnam, Fulbright Scholar in Vietnam; (4) Matthew Jernstedt, Spring 2018 – Afghanistan, Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship; (5)Nikki Hinshaw, Fall 2018 – Israel, Craig and Barbara Barrett Scholarship Recipient; (6) Alec Guthrie, Spring 2018 – Afghanistan, ASU Master of Arts in Global Security

ASUNow - McCain Institute Gettysburg - 3/28/2018 
General Benjamin Freakley speaks about canons used and the power required to man them in the U.S. Civil War at Oak Ridge during a visit to the Gettysburg National Military Park on Wednesday morning March 28th, 2018 in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The McCain Institute's policy design studio focuses on using the study of the battle of Gettysburg and how it relates to leadership, policy and understand of U.S. government. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASUNow