One-Credit Skills Courses

The CR Program has partnered with the other Government MA Programs in Democracy and Governance and American Government to offer a series of one-credit skills courses. The conflict resolution program requires students to take a minimum of one skills course. Students can also take a bundle of three one-credit skills courses over the course of their studies in place of an elective. These courses are optimal for working students, as many are offered on weekends and for students seeking practical experience for career development. The program continues to offer new skills courses each semester based on the interest of the students and developing relations with practitioners. Below are a sample of recently offered one-credit skills courses.


Government MA One-Credit Skills Courses, Spring 2016

Policy Writing, GOVX-500, Richard Kauzlarich Communicating is something we do constantly. We write. We speak. The environments in which we communicate are constantly changing. Understanding how we communicate to policy makers in shifting environments is important to success in our professional lives whether we are in government, private or NGO sectors. Above all, this seminar is designed to help you think about communicating analysis – in written form -- in a public policy environment. The objective is to identify the tools for skillfully and effectively presenting your analysis to senior policy makers whose most precious commodity is not what you are conveying, but the time they devote to hearing or reading what you convey. You will also learn how to brief your written product orally. Rarely will you write a paper and slip it under your boss’s door. 

Communication is never done in a vacuum so this seminar will stress the importance of team-building and peer review for good communications. It will include class participation through oral briefings and a written paper. We will learn how peer review can improve the quality of our message -- and learn how to take helpful critiques of our own work. 

This is not a writing class – at this point all of you should know how to write -- but we will focus on a few helpful rules that can improve our writing. It is not a public speaking class but we will talk about briefing techniques for conveying key written information most effectively. This is not a new-media class but we will discuss the impact of social media on policy communications.

Technology for Social Change, GOVX-501, Nicholas Martin New technologies have fundamentally changed the way that NGOs, governments and companies engage with communities around the world. Tools like mobile phones, digital maps, and social media platforms have already demonstrated tremendous value in addressing a range of social problems and yet so much more potential exists on the horizon. This one credit course will explore some of the ways technology is being used to respond to crises, improve healthcare delivery, monitor elections, provide banking services, ensure effective governance, expand educational opportunities, and more. It will also address some of the key challenges these new tools present, such as lack of access, underdeveloped infrastructure, implementation issues, as well as obstacles for scale-up and evaluation. The course is designed for Georgetown University students to assist them in developing concrete strategies and technological skills to work amid this rapidly evolving landscape. Participants can expect an immersive and interactive learning environment with a variety of real world examples from organizations working in the field. 

Bio: Nicholas Martin is an American technologist, entrepreneur, and educator best known for founding the international organization TechChange: the Institute for Technology and Social Change. Martin has delivered a number of speeches at the United Nations, The US State Department, and USAID on the role of technology for international development, online learning & capacity building and m-learning His work has been featured in the New York Times, Fast Company, the Chronicle of Higher Education, Stanford Social Innovation Review, The Guardian, The Economist, and more. Nick is a Pop!Tech Social Innovation Fellow and an International Youth Foundation Global Fellow.He graduated from Swarthmore College with a degree in English Literature and Education and from The University for Peace with a masters in Peace Education. Prior to founding TechChange, Martin started an award-winning conflict resolution and technology program for DC elementary schools called DCPEACE. As of November 2013, Nick is also an adjunct faculty member at George Washington University. 

Advocacy Skills, GOVX-502, Sanam Anderlini Designed to be interactive and practice oriented, the course will inform students of the key concepts and elements of effective advocacy - with attention to theories of change principles, articulating advocacy goals, target audiences, coalition building and networking, messaging, presentations and funding raising. I will share examples of international and national level efforts, and provide an opportunity for students to explore and develop their own ideas and designs. 

Bio: Sanam Naraghi-Anderlini is co-founder of the International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN). Between 2005-14, she was a Research Associate and Senior Fellow at the MIT Center for International Studies. In 2011, she was the first Senior Expert on Gender and Inclusion on the UN’s Mediation Standby Team. For nearly two decades she has been a leading international advocate, researcher, trainer and writer on conflict prevention and peacebuilding. In 2000, she was among the civil society drafters of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. Between 2002 and 2005, as Director of the Women Waging Peace Policy Commission, Ms. Anderlini led ground breaking field research on women’s contributions to conflict prevention, security and peacemaking in 12 countries. Since 2005, she has also provided strategic guidance and training to key UN agencies, the UK government and NGOs worldwide, including leading a UNFPA/UNDP needs assessment into Maoist cantonment sites in Nepal. Between 2008 – 2010, Ms. Anderlini was Lead Consultant for a 10-country UNDP global initiative on “Gender, Community Security and Social Cohesion” with a focus on men’s experiences in crisis settings. She has served on the Advisory Board of the UN Democracy Fund (UNDEF), and was appointed to the Civil Society Advisory Group (CSAG) on Resolution 1325, chaired by Mary Robinson in 2010. In 2013, she was appointed to the Working Group on Gender and Inclusion of the Sustainable Development Network for the post-2015 agenda. Ms. Anderlini has published extensively on gender, peace and security issues, including Women building peace: What they do, why it matters (Lynne Rienner, 2007). She holds an M.Phil in Social Anthropology from Cambridge University. Iranian by birth, she is a UK citizen, and has twin daughters.

Government Funding for International Development, ​GOVX-503, Eric Bjornlund This course is intended to help students to understand the process of government funding for international development programs and to help prepare them to write proposals and applications for government contracts and grants in international development and related fields. It is designed to encourage the development of practical skills that will be directly relevant and useful in writing proposals and applications. Our goal is to help students to be more marketable and better prepared to work at consulting firms/government contractors, NGOs, government agencies, intergovernmental organizations or other places involved in international development or other government-funded fields. 

The course will meet once a week for five weeks beginning in mid-January. We will begin with an overview of government contracting (acquisition) and grants (assistance), including consideration of the policy, legal and regulatory environment governing U.S. government funding, with a partic-ular focus on the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Department of State. Next, we will consider the scopes of work or program descriptions of actual USG requests for proposals (RFPs) or requests for applications (RFAs). Then, we will focus on the instructions and evaluation criteria from particular RFPs, which govern the process of responding to such RFPs, and we will compare the corresponding requirements from particular RFAs, all drawn from actual solicitations in the international development field. We will also touch on other mechanisms, such as Annual Program Statements, Broad Agency Announcements, Requests for Information and Re-quests for Statements of Interest, among others. We will learn about key organizations involved in government-funded international development and consider implications of issues of government funding for career choices. Throughout the course, we will also work on practical writing issues that are particularly relevant to proposals and applications for U.S. government funding.

Budgeting for Change, ​GOVX-504, Nicholas Oatley This one credit course is designed to give students an introduction to the real world issues in financial management of peacebuilding and development projects. Financial management is a critical component of effective project management. Effective financial management a) helps managers make effective and efficient use of resources to achieve objectives and fulfill commitments to stakeholders; b) helps NGOs to be more accountable to donors and other stakeholders; c) gain the respect and confidence of funding agencies, partners and beneficiaries; d) gives the NGO the advantage in competition for increasingly scarce resources; e) helps NGOs prepare themselves for long-term financial sustainability. 

Through a combination of structured input together with hands on practical exercises and analysis of case studies, students will gain insights in to the best practices, challenges and solutions to a range of issues associated with the financial management of donor funded projects. We will draw on real-life examples from Partners projects to analyze different aspects of financial management, such as budget modifications or when a conflict forces a shift in planned activities. Students will be required to complete some practical exercises involving both qualitative and quantitative skills, to pass the course.

Government MA One-Credit Skills Courses, Fall 2015

Leadership for Social Change, 505-10, Scott Beale Leadership for Social Change is a one-credit course taught by Scott Beale, the Founder & CEO of Atlas Corps, an award-winning international nonprofit, that teaches civil society professionals leadership skills through a one-year fellowship in the United States. The course will teach key principles of social change leadership, provide examples of social change leaders who embody these principles and compare and contrast social change leadership with other types of leadership. Students will read case studies of global social change leaders, watch videos of how social change happens, and participate in group activities to practice principles of leadership. This course will lead students through a self-discovery of their leadership style and teach them several different leadership theories so that they will be able to choose the most appropriate for the variety of leadership situations and contexts they may encounter. The course is specifically designed for students who aspire to government and nonprofit leadership positions. Scott has held numerous leadership positions in the nonprofit sector and in the government, including the White House, State Department and state government.

About the instructor: Scott Beale is the Founder and CEO of Atlas Corps, a leadership development program for the world's best social change professionals. Sometimes called a "reverse Peace Corps", Atlas Corps brings leaders from around the world to serve in cities across the United States. Atlas Corps has supported more than 300 leaders from over 70 different countries in one-year placements at organizations such as Ashoka, Grameen Foundation, McKinsey, UNICEF, and the US Peace Corps. Prior to launching Atlas Corps, Scott was a U.S. Diplomat who served in New Delhi fighting human trafficking in India and in Bosnia organizing elections in the late 1990s. He also worked at Ashoka's Youth Venture program and in the Clinton White House. He is the author of the first book on the politics of the Millennial Generation (Millennial Manifesto: A Youth Activist handbook) and in 2004 the Youth Vote Coalition named Scott one of 30 people under 30 changing politics in America. Among Scott’s numerous accolades include being named one of the top three nonprofit CEOs in Washington, DC; “The Nonprofit Entrepreneur” by the Washington Post; and the National Award for Citizen Diplomacy. Scott has a Bachelors Degree from Georgetown University and a Masters in Public Administration (MPA) from the University of Delaware.

Social Media and Social Change, 505-11, Aaron Sherihan Social media has quickly taken its place on the global stage as an important element of social change. From their use in advocacy on key policy issues to grassroots political mobilization to community building and activism, social media platforms are now part of what some people refer to as "new power."  Social media is credited with raising awareness of issues such as poverty and disease and driving actions that influence policy and political decisions. This dynamic is redefining the way that the public relations, philanthropic, public engagement and lobbying sectors approach grassroots mobilization. But are these platforms driving more transparent, bottom-up, nimble social movements or are they merely a tactic used by movement makers?

This course will explore the power and promise of social media for social change. It will attempt to define what is the role and who are the actors of the new "social good" community. It will cite case studies from around the world as the basis for a discussion of five core questions: 1) What impact has social media had on key social change issues? 2) What makes for successful use of social media for social change initiatives? 3) What are the dangers or pitfalls of social media in today's political and economic environment? 4) How can its effectiveness be measured? 5) What is the future of social media for social change, and which global issues could it impact?

About the instructor: Aaron Sherinian is the Chief Communications and Marketing Officer for the United Nations Foundation. Aaron has led the Foundation’s public relations efforts, media relationships, strategic outreach, and online presence since 2009, managing an award-winning team of communicators and digital pioneers who believe that innovative communications can help change the world. He has helped build some of the most talked about milestones in digital global engagement around causes and UN issues over the last few years including the Social Good Summit, #Giving Tuesday, Rio+Social and the Momentum 1000 global social media rally. He is a passionate supporter of efforts to build a new era of global activism and philanthropy among a younger generation that is emerging on the global scene.

Before joining the UN Foundation, Aaron Sherinian served as Managing Director of Public Affairs for the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a U.S. Government development assistance agency administering $7 billion in poverty reduction grants in 40 partner countries. He oversaw the agency’s strategic communications portfolio, media relationships, public relations agenda and a global re-branding.

His professional background includes a decade of service as a Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. Department of State. Before returning to Washington, his diplomatic service included tours at U.S. Embassies in Ecuador, Armenia, Costa Rica, Colombia, and in Washington serving two Assistant Secretaries of State. Aaron’s experience also included work at the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See (Vatican).

Before joining the Department of State, Aaron worked at the Washington International Trade Association (WITA). He also held positions as a marketing consultant for the Italian distributors for Apple Computer and as a freelance interpreter and writer in Italy.

Aaron is proud to be a part of the public relations community as a member of the Arthur Page Society, the Seminar, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), the National Association of Government Communicators (NAGC).  His team won three consecutive honors by PRNews as “Public Affairs Team of the Year” in 2012, 2013, and 2014.

While he has lived in a lot of places, Aaron’s heart is always in his native Pasadena, California. He holds degrees from the Johns Hopkins University (School of Advanced International Studies – SAIS) and Brigham Young University. In addition to Spanish, he speaks (or at least does his best) at Italian, Armenian, and French. He and his wife have four children.  Aaron served a full-time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints in Milan, Italy.  He loves cooking, travel, and connecting with friends all over the world.  He is a proud Eagle Scout, although wonders some days how he ever got through all the merit badges…then he realizes it was all about a dedicated Mom and Dad! He blogs at about fatherhood, public relations and social media.

Communicating for Influence, 505-12, John Neffinger How do we change one another's minds? It is clear in the research that logical argument and reasoning is not the only, or even primary, way people reach conclusions and become motivated to act. What does this suggest about how to communicate ideas effectively, and how do these dynamics play out in our politics? How different is a research-based vision of political behavior from the picture Publius painted in The Federalist Papers?

This course will look at modern politics through the lens of modern psychology and communications research. We will examine a variety of heuristics people use to form opinions about issues in lieu of conducting extensive first-hand research, and consider the range of emotional drivers of political behavior. Then we will look at a variety of communications techniques used by political actors and consider their efficacy in different situations. These will include such phenomena as storytelling, dodging, charisma, appeals to authority, purity and empathy, the “Big Lie,” and the social proof behind the lazy journalist's favorite phrase, “Some say...” Finally, we will tackle the performative aspect of communication, with each participant practicing selected techniques on camera to get a working sense of their personal communication style and how to develop it further.

This one-credit course will be taught by John Neffinger, who is the co-author of the book Compelling People and previously taught the History of Presidential Debates seminar.

About the instructor: John Neffinger has over a decade of experience preparing speakers for high-stakes public appearances. He is currently President of the Franklin Forum, which provides coaching and messaging support to progressive candidates and advocates, and on the faculty at both Georgetown and Columbia Universities. John is also the co-author of Compelling People: The Hidden Qualities That Make Us Influential, which is taught at top business schools translated into 11 languages. John was a founding partner of KNP Communications, where he coached hundreds of clients, including national political figures, television personalities, and corporate executives. His work with KNP is featured in a Harvard Business School success case, and he has been featured on The CBS Evening News, CBS Sunday Morning, Hardball with Chris Matthews, Fox News and NPR, as well as in The Washington Post, New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. In the past, John has worked at Harvard's Kennedy School, at the Council on Foreign Relations, as a management consultant, and as an attorney with a top-ten New York firm. John holds honors degrees from Harvard College and Columbia Law School.

Strategic Collaboration, 505-13, Jessica Kritz Strategic and cross-sector collaboration is a necessary solution to complex development challenges. While the practice and research of cross-sector collaboration is extremely challenging, there has been extraordinary growth in the developed-country literature. Since 2006, the literature has expanded dramatically with hundreds of empirical and theoretical articles published. By contrast, in developing countries, the practice of cross-sector collaboration has far outpaced the research. While cross-sector collaboration is desired by governments, required by funders and recommended by policymakers—and most fields, including the global health and conflict resolution fields, work extensively across sectors, memorializing these activities through various types of documentation such as contracts and memoranda of understanding—this policy and practice has not been supported by a commensurate level of research focus. This class will highlight and begin to address this crucial knowledge gap. We will investigate the existing literature and analyze key areas where attention is needed. Students will leave the class equipped with cutting-edge tools to build and research cross-sector collaboration in a developing country setting. Case studies will be drawn primarily from the global health and conflict resolution sectors.

About the instructor: Jessica Kritz is a Research Assistant Professor at Georgetown University, jointly seated in the Medical Center's Institute for Reproductive Health and Government Department's Conflict Resolution Program.  She studies strategic and cross-sector collaboration at the intersection of global health and conflict. Cross-sector collaboration involves government, business, nonprofits, and/or communities and citizens, and is increasingly required in global health and conflict resolution programming.  Jessica studies the theory of cross-sector collaboration development, which is grounded in the process for implementing scalable cross-sector collaboration.  Given the extent to which collaboration has become a requirement of funders and policymakers, her research demonstrates the importance of the strategy and implementation that must accompany the goal of collaboration, if it is to support scalable public-private partnership.

Philanthropy and Fundraising, 505-21, Alexandra Toma Although philanthropy has existed for millennia, many people are still baffled by the foundation and philanthropic community. What is this sector? Why does it exist? What does it do? Why is it important vis-à-vis policymaking? Yet ­ whether your career leads you into policymaking or policy shaping (e.g., corporate sector, think tanks, advocacy organizations) ‹ foundations will provide a necessary base for your work. The past decade has seen both a dramatic rise in public-private partnerships between the U.S. Government, World Bank, corporations and foundations, and a desire for foundation leaders to be more transparent about their work. Understanding how to successfully engage with the foundation sector is critical for any emerging policymaker/shaper.

This course will cover the critical issues one needs to succeed in leveraging and engaging with the foundation world to be an effective change maker. Topics will include: what are the pros/cons/upsides/downsides of foundations; why do foundations exist; how has the foundation world changed over the past decade and why does this matter to modern-day policymaking/shaping; what does the current foundation ecosystem look like; what are current trends (functionally, issues-wise) in the foundation world; and best practices for approaching foundations and foundation partnerships. Through taking this course, students will be better prepared to approach foundations in any aspect of the work they set out to do. The course is more skills-based and offers real-world case studies to illustrate key concepts.

About the instructor: Alexandra I. Toma is Executive Director of the Peace and Security Funders Group, a coalition of 72 funders who collaborate to enhance the effectiveness of peace and security grantmaking. She has over ten years’ experience at senior levels of politics, advocacy, and nonprofits. Prior to her philanthropic experience, Alex served as a foreign policy advisor on Capitol Hill and, in 2011, was named a “Top 99 Under 33” foreign policy leader by Diplomat Courier and Young Professionals in Foreign Policy. She earned her M.S. from Georgetown and her B.A. from the University of Virginia.