Summer Fellowship

The 2018 Summer Fellowship is now accepting applications, and nominations.
College students and recent college graduates are welcome to apply.
All accepted students will receive complimentary housing and a stipend of $3000.

The application deadline is February 12, 2018

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 2017 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 Timothy W. Burns

Jun 19 - Jun 23 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 James W. Ceaser

Jun 26 - Jul 02 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 Bryan Garsten

Jul 03 - Jul 07 at Georgetown University

We return to Plato’s Republic, an assessment of the American regime in hand, for a fuller evaluation of theoretical justice, as Socrates brings it to life. We look at this city’s founding, taking note of how the city is constituted, who populates it, and for what purpose it exists. Discussion focuses on whether the just city is in fact just, and whether such a city requires just citizens, or even allows them to be just. We further assess whether these citizens are actually happy, a topic not at all unimportant for the regime that gives the people a say in its governance.

The American Refounding with Robert K. Faulkner

Jul 10 - Jul 14 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 Yuval Levin and Michael Doran

Jul 17 - Jul 21 at Georgetown University

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

Our domestic policy section looks at democratic capitalism, with a view to understanding its theoretical underpinnings and its current effects of the economy and culture of the United States.

Our foreign policy section looks at American policy in Middle East, with a focus on the policy implications of different worldviews, and the different options the American president has in addressing the Iranian nuclear program. 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 Frank N. Pagano and Janet A. Dougherty

Jul 24 - Jul 28 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 2017 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 2017 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 third week of the 2017 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.

Distinguished Speaker Series

Taking place one to two afternoons per week during the fellowship

National leaders from government, business, journalism, the military, and the academy will discuss important topics of political philosophy and public policy 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 2017.

The Ten Commandments: Founding the Israelite Nation

Leon R. Kass, Senior Fellow, American Enterprise 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

Public Service and National Leadership

Senator Tom Cotton, United States Senate

The Future of American Political Parties

William Kristol, Editor at Large, The Weekly Standard

The Future of American Political Parties

William Galston, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution

Machiavelli’s Effectual Truth

Harvey C. Mansfield, Professor, Harvard University

Working in Washington

Peter Rough, Fellow, Hudson Institute