The International Relations Policy Task Force invites Schar School sophomore, junior- and senior-year students to engage deeply with pressing global challenges. Over the course of the year, students will pursue individual research on a topic of interest, network with subject area experts, and work collaboratively to propose policy solutions.
Spring Break Study Abroad: Ciudad Juárez and El Paso (1 Credit)
Students will explore the challenges and opportunities of trade, trafficking, and immigration while immersing themselves in the unique culture of the border cities of El Paso, TX and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Students will visit natural, historical, and political landmarks integral to the interconnected communities of El Paso and Ciudad Juarez. Students will also meet with representatives of governmental and non-governmental organizations, collaborate with faculty and students from institutions in Ciudad Juarez, and meet with local community members and activists working collaboratively on both sides of the Mexico-US border. The spring break study abroad trip is optional and is not a requirement for enrollment in the fall and spring 6-credit IRTF sequence.
Become a Policy Expert
A learning community open to sophomores, juniors and seniors, the International Relations Policy Task Force teaches students how to draft compelling policy reports appropriate for different audiences while earning course credit. With this specialized training, students will gain a comprehensive understanding of different policy areas and develop valuable skills to help them secure future employment—and be highly effective in their chosen role.
"I really enjoyed hearing directly from professionals working in a wide range of international relations policy roles, and discovering all the available career paths. I learned how to design and conduct my own research projects, which has been useful for other classes, and I know I will be able to apply these skills to future jobs."
- Sydney Kosztolnik
Gain Critical Skills—And Class Credit
Fall Semester GOVT 399: Human Security and International Development at the Border (3 credits)
Students will be introduced to the methodology of Case Study Analysis (CSA) and how CSA informs policy making, while diving deep into successful and flawed policy responses in the areas of Mexico-US and global cross-border relations.
Spring Semester GOVT 444: Policy Task Force (3 credits)
Students will individually draft reports on specific sub-areas relevant to each policy area and program, and draft a policy report that will be delivered to the appropriate institutions, organizations, and parties.
A Memorable Year
Past events have included:
- In-class guest speakers such as former White House Daily Briefer Beth Sanner, and Ambassador Richard Kauzlarich
- Field trips to the Kennedy Center and to a Schar School-sponsored lecture by American philosopher and activist Dr. Cornel West
- A team-building day off-campus at GMU's The EDGE challenge course