The LBJ School announced today that six LBJ School students have been selected to participate in the School’s international exchange program with Israel’s Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya.

The six are Jason Bilodeau, Steven Damiano, Matthew Deal, Aliza Litchman, Timothy Long and Sophia Steiner. They will participate in the Lauder School’s Executive Certificate program in Counter-Terrorism Studies and complete the equivalent of six graduate level courses taught by top experts from Israel and abroad. Students also participate in field trips and independent research. Second-year MGPS student Rachel Markowitz will also spend Fall 2014 at the Lauder School as the first student to participate in a full semester exchange program with IDC.

Through this reciprocal exchange program, six Lauder School students will travel to the LBJ School to participate in a three-part academic program designed to maximize student engagement with local, state and federal agencies, non-profits and think tanks to give students a deeper understanding of American politics and policymaking. The summer program also includes a trip to Washington, D.C. where students spend a full week experiencing federal policymaking firsthand.

Additionally, this summer LBJ School Dean Robert Hutchings will travel to Israel to teach a course on diplomacy, while Lauder School Professor Galia Golan will travel to Austin to teach a course on the “Arab-Israeli Conflict and the Peace Process.”

In 2013, Lauder School Dean Alex Mintz visited the LBJ School to teach a course and workshop in decision making and LBJ School Professor Eugene Gholz taught a course on U.S. defense policy and politics at the Lauder School.

Faculty members of the two schools also pursue collaborative research projects each year. Last year’s conference on “Reinventing Diplomacy” has resulted in a book manuscript that was recently accepted for publication by the Oxford University Press with the working title “Foreign Policy Breakthroughs: Case Studies in Successful Diplomacy.”

These exchanges represent a significant expansion of the LBJ School-Lauder School partnership that began in 2012, thanks to the generosity of Livingston and Saranne Kosberg. The two schools plan a further expansion of the partnership to draw on the strengths, cultures and traditions of both schools with the mutual goals of influencing public policy education and training and producing innovations in teaching and research through an exchange program.

The 2014 LBJ School exchange students have diverse backgrounds and policy interests and have work experience in a variety of non-governmental organizations, think tanks and research institutions. Matthew Deal, a Master of Global Policy Studies student specializing in security, law and diplomacy, is one of the six students selected for the competitive exchange program.

“The LBJ/IDC exchange program presents an extraordinary opportunity to experience firsthand the complexities that underpin regional U.S. foreign policy,” said Deal. “The program will elevate my professional credentials and yield an in-depth understanding of Middle Eastern cultural and geopolitical dynamics.”

According to Deal, he hopes this program will provide hands-on experience dealing with public policy challenges that carry global implications.

The LBJ School also benefits from exposure to international students and their global view of international policy challenges. Professor Sherri Greenberg has taught a policy course to Lauder School students since 2012.

“Having international students is enriching,” said Greenberg. “We learn as much from them as they learn from us. Their questions about why we have the system of government we do in the United States makes us think about assumptions we take for granted.”