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 collaborate in practical, hands-on foreign affairs experiences and problem solving exercises. A part of the McCain Institute mission, the Policy Design Studio focuses on concrete outcomes for real world international challenges. Students define the problems, seek solutions, and articulate policy recommendations.

“The Policy Design Studio class at the McCain Institute is one of the best programs ASU has to offer. It gives students experience in the career they want. Students learn about foreign policy through a hands-on approach at the McCain Institute, and they are able to network in the D.C. area.”

-Kelsey Teske

Arizona State University

Fall and Spring Semesters (Washington)

Washington Policy Design Studio

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

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Students participate in a weekly seminar at the McCain Institute for International Leadership under the supervision of Senior Director of ASU’s McCain Institute for International Leadership, former U.S. Ambassador Michael Polt. Students constitute a U.S. Embassy Country Team in a specific nation and manage a reality-based diplomatic agenda. They are 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. Students immerse themselves in a highly creative and intense experience of setting the factual baseline for effective foreign policy decision-making. Through research, design, and class discussion, participants create a data set relevant to foreign policy implementation with Decision Theater visualization as a high impact tool.

Selected students participating in the McCain Institute Policy Design Studio intern four days a week at an organization of their interest. Students have interned at federal 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.