International Affairs Education

The ASU Lab for Leadership, Diplomacy and National Security manages both graduate and undergraduate programs and courses to develop the next generation of leaders in the global arena. The undergraduate courses POS 494 Policy Design Studio, Diplomacy in Action, the Embassy Country Team and the companion POS 484 Policy Design Studio Internship have trained over 70 students, now ASU graduates, who have move on to careers in the U.S. Foreign Service, the U.S. State Department and other federal government agencies, NGOs, think tanks, and Capitol Hill permanent staff positions in international affairs. The Master of Arts in International Affairs and Leadership will expand and deepen this cadre of ASU graduates who will move on to leadership roles in their careers.

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Policy Design Studio and Internship Program

U.S. Foreign Policy in Action: ASU students role play as an embassy country team – semester based.

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The Policy Design Studio, offered by the School of Politics and Global Studies, hosts students in Washington, D.C. for a unique program, a full semester of intensive class work in foreign policy development and implementation led by former U.S. ambassadors and a U.S. military retired general officer. Students take part in a weekly seminar and research solutions to real-world foreign policy issues involving key countries of U.S. interest.

Under the supervision of U.S. Ambassador Edward O’Donnell and U.S. Ambassador Roderick Moore, students are immersed in a highly creative and intense exercise of what it is like to be a U.S. diplomat. Students are constituted as U.S. Embassy staff in a specific country and manage a reality-based diplomatic agenda. They are assigned the actual roles of embassy country team members, and together with the Ambassador(s), practice how foreign policy is developed and executed in the field. Through research, design, and meeting as a virtual country team, participants create a data set relevant to foreign policy implementation, visualized using ASU’s unique state-of-the art Decision Theater. Previous classes have lived U.S. diplomatic relations with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Russia, Afghanistan, Germany, Mexico, Turkey, Vietnam, and the United Kingdom.

The course also includes extensive character-driven leadership training for participants led by Lieutenant General Benjamin Freakley, U.S. Army (ret), Senior Advisor to ASU President Michael Crow for Leadership Initiatives, and ASU Ambassador-in-Residence Michael Polt. In addition to one-day intense coursework, students participating in the Policy Design Studio intern four days a week at an international organization, Congressional office or U.S. Government international agencies in Washington, D.C. Previous students have interned at federal government departments, law firms, lobbying firms, advocacy groups, media outlets and non-profit organizations. Participants also visit government agencies, embassies of foreign governments, think tanks and non-governmental issue advocacy groups, historical sites and attend networking events. This is a unique opportunity for students in any major program or school to gain valuable skills and hands-on foreign affairs, teamwork, and leadership experience.

For Fall 2021, we are planning to offer online live zoom classes over 15 weeks along with the option of virtual online internships.  In 2022, we will return to in-person classes held at the Barrett & O’Connor Building in the center of Washington, DC and internships in-person, subject to constraints due to COVID pandemic safety measures and ASU policy.

For more information, please contact:  Ms. Gisela Grant in the School of Politics and Global Studies at or Ambassador Edward O’Donnell in the ASU Lab for Leadership, Diplomacy and National Security at

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Master’s Degree in International Affairs and Leadership

The Master of Arts in International Affairs and Leadership (MA IAL), offered by the School of Politics and Global Studies, establishes a dynamic and active learning environment led by international affairs practitioners such as former ambassadors and military general officers who developed US policies and programs around the globe and managed strategic and “grass roots diplomacy” efforts throughout their careers”. This unique MA program blends the art of diplomacy with developing leadership and draws on ASU’s extensive academic capacity, all which provides students a distinctive edge to succeed. 

Coursework focuses on current challenges, priority foreign policy issues, and developing trends for the future with multiple guest speakers who are senior decisionmakers at the top levels of government such as ambassadors, general officers, and assistant secretaries in foreign affairs and national security agencies. Graduates will be very competitive for international affairs careers such as: foreign service officers, special and tactical military officers, non-profit program coordinators, International business managers, international affairs experts in federal government and non-governmental agencies, intelligence and foreign policy analysts and public policy analysts.

The program will prepare graduates for the complex international environment through extensive exposure to topics such as character-driven leadership, national security, human rights and democracy issues, foreign policy and global and international economics. 

The program stresses practical applications and case studies of international affairs issues and hands-on experience. The MA IAL is priced at a very competitive cost, significantly less than other Washington, D.C. based universities. 

MA IAL professors will guide students and continue to advise graduates of this program as they develop their foreign affairs careers, introducing them to senior US government experts and other international managers through extensive networking. 

For more information, please click link above or contact

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WWS 598: The Holocaust and WW II Today

Using Lessons of the Holocaust for the Future Challenges  - Opposing Hatred and Bigotry that leads to Genocide through Holocaust education, remembrance and restitution.

Ambassador Edward O’Donnell served as Special Envoy and Ambassador for Holocaust Issues at the U.S. State Department in his Foreign Service career.  He  was a diplomat and practitioner of negotiations and developing policies to address unresolved issues of the Holocaust, counter Anti-Semitism and use the “lessons of the Holocaust” to prevent seeds of hatred, bigotry and discrimination that can potentially lead to persecution of minorities and eventually to Genocide.

As a result of his experience, Ambassador O’Donnell serves on the Board of the Genocide Awareness Week and will be a presenter on April 14, 2021 from 6-7 p.m. MST on the subject of U.S. Policy and Government Programs and Involvement regarding Genocide and Human Rights.”

“Not on Our Watch. The 9th Genocide Awareness Week, held April 12-17, 2021, is a series of lectures, exhibits and storytelling by distinguished survivors, scholars, politicians, activists, artists, humanitarians and members of law enforcement. This week-long event seeks to address how we, as a global society, confront violent actions and current and ongoing threats of genocide throughout the world, while also looking to the past for guidance and to honor those affected by genocide.” For more information, please see Scottsdale Community College Genocide Awareness Week event page.

Ambassador O’Donnell currently teaches the WW II Studies Master of Arts course:
WWS 598: The Holocaust and WW II Today (The School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies) 

This course will be offered again in Spring B 2022.