Harvard Kennedy School

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Harvard Kennedy School has put the G in International Affairs: International & GLOBAL Affairs

Stephen Walt

Stephen Walt
Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Affairs
Harvard Kennedy School

 

 

What are the biggest challenges the millennial generation will face as they move into positions of leadership in the international affairs arena?

The millennial generation will need to understand complex policy environments and how to operate effectively within them. World politics today isn’t just what national leaders do; it’s a more complicated interplay between governments, institutions, markets, media, NGOs, technology, and the natural environment.

How does Harvard Kennedy School help prepare students for those challenges?

We’ve created a new concentration in International and Global Affairs (IGA) to help our students make sense of this increasingly complex world, and we continue to revise our course offerings to reflect an ever-changing agenda of global problems.

We want students to gain a sophisticated understanding of the key forces driving international and global affairs, and to know how to solve difficult policy problems in rigorous, realistic, and creative ways.

At the same time, we believe analytical training needs to be combined with the practical skills that are the key to real-world success. That means learning to write clearly and persuasively, to speak with confidence and authority, and to work effectively as part of a team.

Each year, we attract an extraordinary pool of students from across the globe. They are exceptionally smart, independent, diverse, and have considerable real-world experience. Over 40 percent of our students are international, allowing students to get exposed to different viewpoints and to build extensive professional contacts.

How does your school provide its faculty members with the facilities and programs to best accomplish these objectives?

Not only do HKS faculty get to teach exceptional students, but we also get to collaborate with colleagues whose academic excellence and real-world experience are unmatched.
Three current IGA faculty members were ranked among the “twenty most influential scholars” in a recent survey of the field. Our faculty also features accomplished practitioners such as former Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns and NSC staffer Meghan O’Sullivan.

HKS faculty often teach together, but we also collaborate through the School’s research and policy centers, such as the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs (the top-ranked “university-based” think tank in the world, according to the 2011 Global Think Tank Index) and the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. HKS has a long tradition of combining research and teaching, and our work has had a lasting impact on the field.

Finally, the Kennedy School is Harvard’s window to the world. Prominent policymakers, journalists, and academic experts visit every week, allowing our students to get “up close and personal” with the leaders whose shoes they are going to fill. Our overarching goal is to create an environment where students, faculty, and visitors all learn from each other, every day.

What direction do you see the teaching of international affairs going at Harvard Kennedy School?

Graduate education is changing rapidly, and we are constantly on the lookout for even better ways to prepare our students. In addition to formal class sessions, we increasingly emphasize experiential learning, group projects, summer fieldwork, and internships everywhere from Addis Ababa to UIan Bator.

 

Harvard Kennedy School
Harvard Kennedy School
www.hks.harvard.edu
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617.495.1155

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