Summer Fellowship


Hudson Institute Political Studies offers a fellowship in political theory and practice to outstanding undergraduates that will broaden and deepen their understanding of public policy and American political principles. It combines the rigorous study of politics and political thought in a seminar setting, with policy workshops led by think tank scholars and experienced government officials, and also a distinguished speaker series of exemplary figures from public life. Below you can see the syllabus of our 2018 Summer Fellowship.

2018 Seminars

Meeting weekday mornings from 9 am – 12 pm

These rigorous seminars led by master teachers on week-long topics in political theory and public policy form the core of the program. Following careful reading of classic texts in political thought and policy analyses on selected topics, students engage in serious discussions every weekday morning for three hours.


Political Foundings with Robert C. Bartlett and J. Michael Hoffpauir

Jun 18 - Jun 22 at Georgetown University

Political philosophy is, fundamentally, a discussion about the best regime. Therefore we begin with an investigation into political foundings. We read two dramatically different texts —one that takes as its bearing man’s inclination to act malevolently, and another that attempts to found a city in a quest to understand justice. Reading The Prince, we inquire into Machiavelli’s innovations, and ask if his political science looks similar to our own. We also begin Plato’s Republic, which we will read throughout the program, to see  what is needed to form a just city.

The American Founding with Timothy W. Burns and Murray Dry

Jun 25 - Jun 29 at Georgetown University

Having discussed political foundings broadly in the first week’s seminar, we turn to a particular founding. We read America’s key founding documents, and consider—in comparison with Machiavelli’s teachings and Socratic philosophy—the political justifications made by the Founders of the regime that promises life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We examine whether the American regime at its founding was informed by an understanding of justice, both for individuals and the political community, or whether the Founders were more concerned with uniting a multiplicity of “particular interests” into a stable and strong country.

The Ideal Republic with Mary P. Nichols and Ronna C. Burger

Jul 02 - Jul 06 at Georgetown University

In the third week, we return to Plato’s Republic, with an assessment of the American regime in hand, to develop our understanding of justice and political life.  There Socrates constructs a “best city in speech” in order to understand justice in the human soul.  Why does he approach political founding through the question of the soul and its justice? Tracing the evolution of the model of the city through its progressive stages, we will examine how it leads to a political class structure and corresponding structure of the soul.  We will inquire, finally, into the status of this city in speech as a way to understand justice: is it meant to be a blueprint for political life, or on the contrary, a display of the psychology of political idealism and its dangers? What can we learn from Socrates’ founding of a regime in speech about actual political founding?

The American Refounding with Robert K. Faulkner and James W. Ceaser

Jul 09 - Jul 13 at Georgetown University

Machiavelli proposed the necessity of re-founding political regimes—as a means of putting off the inevitable death which comes to all things. We examine America’s near death—the nation “conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal,” but crippled by the original sin of slavery, which precipitated a great Civil War. We look closely at the leadership of Abraham Lincoln and inquire into the re-founding of America achieved through Emancipation—was it even a re-founding or instead a second American Revolution? Did Lincoln achieve the full promise of America’s founding ideals?


American Public Policy with Michael Doran, Yuval Levin, John Sawicki and John P. Walters

Jul 16 - Jul 20 at Georgetown University

We examine both  American domestic and foreign policy with a view to discussing America’s most pressing problems.

Our domestic policy sections look at democratic capitalism, with a view to understanding its theoretical underpinnings and its current effects of the economy and culture of the United States, and at policies of law and order, with a view to understanding the relationship between security and self government.

Our foreign policy section looks at American policy in Asia and the Middle East, with a focus on the policy implications of different worldviews, and the different options the American president has in addressing the Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs. We also engage in a policy simulation at the end of the week. Students are assigned a point of view or office such as Secretary of State or member of the Armed Services Committee, as well as a scenario to which they must respond. On Friday, they present their recommendations, debate, and decide on a course of action.

Politics and Wisdom with Janet A. Dougherty and Frank N. Pagano

Jul 23 - Jul 27 at Georgetown University

No consideration of politics, republican or otherwise, can be complete without an examination of the limits of politics and a serious consideration of those aspects of human life which conflict with or offer alternatives to the political life. In this, the last week of the program, we examine foundings in relation to religion and literature, and consider the possibility that the best regime is one not realizable on earth, but rather imagined, or created, by a divine being. We further consider how religion and literature, which one might say are not overtly political, inform human life in this world and the next.


Policy Workshops

Meeting once per week during the fellowship

These interactive policy workshops are led by think tank experts and experienced government officials who will give academic and practical explanations of their topics, before leading students in a collaborative policy simulation. Students will have prepared for the discussion and the following simulation by reading provided material in advance of the meeting. These workshops allow students to actively engage in the policy making process, and wrestle with policy problems of our day. Each policy workshop is different, and the topics range from foreign policy, to military decision making, to questions of ethics.
Below you will find an example workshops from the 2018 Summer Fellowship.

The Least Dangerous Branch?
The Supreme Court in Our Federal Republic

Adam White, Research Fellow, Hoover Institution

Conducted during the second week of the 2018 Fellowship, which focused on the American Founding, this policy workshop investigated the decision-making process of the Supreme Court with reference to the 2013 Supreme Court Case National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning. Students were asked to read Federalist 78, selections from the brief for the Petitioner (NLRB), and selections from the brief for the respondent ((Noel Canning Co.). During the simulation students were tasked with acting as the Court, and coming to an Opinion they believed to be Constitutional. Mr. White then discussed the holding of the Mock Court as well as the holding of the Supreme Court—explaining the consequences of the decision, the Constitutional puzzles at play, and how they relate to the American Political Regime writ large.


The Opioid Epidemic and Drug Policy

John P. Walters, Chief Operating Officer, Hudson Institute

Conducted during the fifth week of the 2018 Fellowship, this policy workshop investigated the opioid epidemic and possible national policy solutions to it. Students were asked to prepare by reading background material, and policy proposals from both sides of the aisle. During the simulation students were tasked with acting as Senators, Congressman, members of the President’s Cabinet, governors of key states, and foreign leaders who together had to pass a new policy to control the opioid epidemic. Mr. Walters then discussed the students’ policy proposals in detail–explaining potential problems, issues of process and potential benefits. Students learned about American policy making, the need to coordinate with foreign leaders, and about one of America’s most problematic domestic issues.


US Foreign Policy Toward Europe: New Initiatives for the Old World

Peter Rough, fellow, Hudson Institute

This workshop focused on a potential economic crisis in Europe, and asked students to consider the European Union in the post-Brexit environment. Students were assigned countries and positions in advance, such as President of Poland, Finance Minister of France, and EU Commissioner, to name a few. The workshop described the collapse of one of France’s largest banks, causing a domino effect within the region. The EU commissioner called for a series of meetings between EU countries to generate coordinated responses to the crisis. Students were asked to come to the policy workshop with written statements that reflected the interests of their countries and signaled their needs or intentions to other countries. They were then allowed to meet to discuss the problems, and summit with other nations in order to come up with possible solutions. At the conclusion of the meetings Mr. Rough walked them through the scenario, picking out decisions that would not or could not have been made, and those that were realistic.


Foreign Policy in the Middle East, Syria as a Microcosm

Michael Doran, senior fellow, Hudson Institute

Michael Doran concluded his seminars on American foreign policy in the Middle East with an all-day policy simulation. It focused on the war in Syria, touching on ISIS, Al Qaeda, and the Iranian threat. Students were divided into two groups: members of the State Department and members of the Defense Department, with one student acting as President of the United States, and another student as National Security Advisor. Both teams were asked to come up with policy recommendations in response to a series of “moves,” which they had to present to the President. The President, with the help of the National Security advisor, then had to make policy decisions which would inform the next series of events. Dr. Doran reviewed the proposals and decisions in the context of the on-the-ground reality of the Middle East, as well as America’s political constraints and foreign policymaking process.

Distinguished Speaker Series

Taking place three afternoons per week during the fellowship

National leaders from government, business, journalism, the military, and the academy will discuss important topics of public policy and political thought with the student body. These discussions provide insights into the true nature of public service and the country’s most pressing issues. Listed below are the distinguished speakers of 2018.

The Ten Commandments: Principles of a Humanistic Politics

Leon R. Kass, Senior Fellow, American Enterprise Institute

The Role of Think Tanks in Policy Making

Sarah May Stern, Chairman of the Board, Hudson Institute
Kenneth R. Weinstein, President and CEO, Hudson Institute

Crafting International Alliances

Walter Russell Mead, Distinguished Scholar, Hudson Institute

National Security in Age of the Internet

General Michael Hayden, Former Director, Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency

The Truth(s) of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics

Leon R. Kass, senior fellow, American Enterprise Institute

Public Service and National Leadership

Senator Tom Cotton, United States Senate

The Future of American Political Parties

William Galston , Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution
William Kristol, Editor at Large, The Weekly Standard

Making National Security

Nadia Shadlow, Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute

The Future of American Political PArties

Mollie Hemingway, Senior Editor, The Federalist

Remarks on Citizenship, Public Service, and Current Affairs

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, United States Senate

Gulliver's Travels and the Advent of Modernism

Harvey C. Mansfield, Professor, Harvard University

Technology, Science and Innovation

Charles Vaughan, Chief of Staff, Thiel Capitol

The Evolution of the Digital Jihad

Catherine Herridge, Chief Intelligence Correspondent, Fox News