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 2019 Summer Fellowship.
Conducted during the fifth week of the 2019 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.
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.
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.