Spring 2024 - 59280 - PA 383G - Policy Making in a Global Age


This course considers how global policy is made and implemented from both an academic/theoretical perspective and a practitioner perspective informed by the instructor’s 38-year career in international public affairs. We will look at historical and contemporary examples from around the globe, weighed toward contemporary international policies concerning the United States. We identify the core elements of foreign policy-making through the ages and contemporary trends and realities, such as changes wrought by new technologies, new groups, new issues and new tools. We examine the formal policy-making and policy implementation apparatus of government, domestic actors outside government who influence policy, and international actors who influence policy.  We review foreign policy decision making models, cognitive biases, logical fallacies, policy goal setting, and determination of interests served or harmed by various policy options.  We consider the tension between policies designed to maximize public interests and policies designed to enhance the political interests of leaders. 

We cannot cover all salient global issues and policymaking/policy implementation mechanisms in one semester. Rather, this course aims to equip students with facts and intellectual frameworks to help them think about the world and the role of policy in it, both formulation and implementation. 

This is a seminar.  Active student participation in class discussions, informed by thorough engagement with the instructional sources, is essential. The course includes three writing assignments, a briefing, and four short informal papers expressing the student’s engagement with the instructional sources.  Professional-level drafting is a key skill for a successful career in international public affairs. The three writing assignments include an academic research paper, an official policy advocacy memorandum, and an analytical “think tank” piece. Readings and other instructional sources will consider both theory and practice.

Instruction Mode