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

Students participate in a weekly seminar at the McCain Institute and research solutions to real-world foreign policy issues. Under the supervision of senior director Ambassador Michael C. Polt, and working directly with a retired Ambassador as an adjunct faculty member, 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, 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 non-profit 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.

Working directly with senior director Ambassador Michael C. Polt and Professor of Practice Ambassador Edward O’Donnell, both career Foreign Service Officers.