Fall Seminars

The fall seminars are based on global leadership and policy, and are designed exclusively for Global Fellows in Washington, D.C. participants. If you are interested in domestic policy you may go to Federal Fellows, our sister program, which has four terrific options, including Homeland Security Policy! Note: All FGSM courses are cross-listed with Honors courses.

Students in the program choose one of the following courses for their fall Global Fellows seminar (3 credits):


Responses to Global Challenges: A Practitioner's Perspective (FGSM380)

Wednesday, 5:30 p.m. to 8:30p.m., SQH 1107
Please note that this course is cross-listed as HONR378B.

Course Description: The course will examine global issues and responses primarily from the perspective of the practitioner, as a means of providing students with practical insight into the challenges and crises that exist worldwide. The focus will be on a range of social, humanitarian, and human rights issues set in different global contexts. Class topics may include humanitarian assistance and international humanitarian law, refugees and vulnerable populations, human rights, global health, environmental and human security policy, the role of Congress and the Executive branch, U.S. and U.N. relations, and good governance initiatives. The class will utilize public institution publications and government documents, as well as academic literature, in the readings. Practitioners with experience in the field will share their knowledge and expertise with students and participate in class discussions. Class attendance and active participation is crucial to the course. The guest speakers, representing different organizations, will provide students with a better understanding of the range of possible responses to global challenges. This seminar will also focus on the practical knowledge needed for careers in the international arena.

Instructor Information: Dr. Rhoda Margesson works as a Specialist in International Humanitarian Policy in the Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division at the Congressional Research Service (CRS). She conducts research and policy analysis on international organizations and global issues, with a focus on humanitarian assistance and intervention, disaster relief, displaced populations, and some aspects of human rights. As a member of the United Kingdom delegation with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the European Union, she serves as an election observer. Previously, she was an Associate with Harvard’s Program on International Conflict Analysis and Resolution and worked in the conflict resolution field on both domestic and international projects. Dr. Margesson has also held research and teaching fellow positions at both the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Dr. Margesson earned a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy and a Ph.D. from the Fletcher School, a Graduate School of International Affairs at Tufts University.


Science Diplomacy: Foreign Policy and Science,
Technology, and Innovation (FGSM370)

Wednesday, 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., SQH 1101
Please note that this course is cross-listed as HONR378D

Course Description: Our world is increasingly defined by scientific advancements and technological innovation. Solutions to today’s global challenges — in economic growth/poverty reduction, climate change, food security, and health — will rely on developments in science and technology. Science is now a global endeavor. Developing countries are investing heavily in their science and technology infrastructure. The United States and many other countries view S&T as the means to achieve economic goals and to ensure the well-being of their populations. The pursuit of knowledge and technology development relies on national level efforts and also extends beyond national jurisdictions. As a result, the linkages between foreign policy and S&T have never been stronger. Science Diplomacy integrates the foreign policy and scientific and technological communities. The U.S. integrates scientific and technological knowledge into our diplomacy to help ensure that our policies are technically sound, programmatically viable, and politically feasible. This course will explore the science and technology/foreign policy nexus with specific sectoral assessments to include energy and climate change, public health, space and innovation, and economic development. Students, through expert speakers, presentations, readings, and negotiation exercises, will explore the critical roles scientific knowledge and technological innovation play in the formation and implementation of foreign policy issues.

Instructor Information: Dr. Jonathan Margolis, a career member of the Senior Executive Service, serves as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Science, Space and Health in the Department of State’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs. In this position, he is responsible for policies and programs in the areas of International Science & Technology Cooperation, Space & Advanced Technologies, and International Health and Biodefense. From 2007-2011, Dr. Margolis served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Global Communications in the Bureau of International Information Programs. Dr. Margolis oversaw the Bureau’s internet, video and print products, including social media. From 2006-2007, Dr. Margolis served as the Senior Coordinator for Global and Functional Issues in the Office of the Director of Foreign Assistance, where he oversaw reform efforts to ensure effective use of foreign assistance resources, through strategic planning and transparent performance measures. From 1997-2006, Dr. Margolis served as the Department's Special Representative for Sustainable Development and as the Director of the Office of Policy Coordination and Initiatives in the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs. As Special Representative, he headed the U.S. Delegation to the UN Commission on Sustainable Development. Margolis joined the State Department in 1991 as a American Association for Advancement of Science Diplomacy Fellow and was integrally involved in environment, water, and economic issues and programs, as part of the multilateral track of the Middle East peace process through 1996. During that time he served as the Division Chief for the Middle East and Asia in the Office of Science and Technology Cooperation. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at American University and the Foreign Service Institute, where he conducted courses on environmental policy, negotiations, and international organizations. Margolis has a Ph.D. from Harvard University in psychology, focusing on negotiation and conflict resolution. He holds a Master's Degree from the Fletcher School of International Law and Diplomacy. His undergraduate degree is in Fine Arts from Harvard College.

Dr. Griffin M. Thompson is the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Transformation, Bureau of Energy Resources. He is responsible for guiding the Bureau's work on energy transformation, leveraging U.S. leadership in clean energy innovation to open markets for U.S. companies abroad by promoting market-based policies and the introduction of advanced and efficient clean energy technologies. Before joining the Bureau of Energy Resources, Dr. Thompson was the Senior Climate Change Program Manager in the Bureau of Oceans, Environment and Science, and served as the U.S. Government lead negotiator on Technology within the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Dr. Thompson was also responsible for overseeing the planning, designing and implementation of the Department’s energy and climate project portfolio. This includes facilitating the strategic development of the programs, generating the substantive policy, technical and budgetary rationale for the programs, and managing the implementation of the project portfolio: clean energy, adaptation, and sustainable landscapes. Before coming to the State Department, Dr. Thompson served as Director of the Office of Energy at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Executive Director of the International Institute for Energy Conservation, and Senior Policy Analyst at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Thompson has a Ph.D. in Political Philosophy from Georgetown University and a B.A. in English from Gonzaga University.


U.S. Diplomacy and Public Policymaking (FGSM360)

Thursday, 7:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., KNI 1105
Please note that this course is cross-listed as HONR378A.

Course Description: This course will examine how U.S. national security and diplomacy policies and strategy are formulated and executed in a contemporary context. The course will look at the underlying ideological perspectives that tend to shape how U.S. decision makers view foreign policy challenges and opportunities. It will look at the range of tools available to national security practitioners as they work to protect and advance U.S. national interests. The course will also examine the domestic context and process through which decisions about specific foreign policy objectives are set and actions are implemented. Throughout the course, the emphasis will be on the practical understanding and appreciation of how U.S. diplomacy is formulated and pursued. Team-taught by a Foreign Service Officer and a U.S. intelligence officer, the course will seek to build practical skills of students for application in professional experiences in the international arena. Thus, the course will emphasize the development of professional writing, presentation, and policy analysis skills, including through an interagency simulation. The course will also feature guest lecturers from Washington’s international policymaking, think tank, media, and NGO communities.

Instructor Information: Mr. Ylber Bajraktari is a Senior Fellow in the Office of Net Assessment at the U.S. Department of Defense. Previously, he served as a Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Defense Policy and Strategy at the National Security Council. From 2015-2017, he served as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy to the Secretary of Defense. From 2008-2014, he held several different positions dealing with U.S. policy towards Iran at the Department of Defense and on the National Security Council staff. Ylber joined the Department of Defense as a civil servant through the Presidential Management Fellowship program in 2006, spending the majority of his fellowship in Baghdad, Iraq. Ylber earned a B.A. in International Relations from American University, Washington, DC and a M.P.A. from Princeton University. He is also a graduate of the National War College. Ylber is a native of Kosovo, but moved to the United States in 1999 as a refugee, having been forcefully displaced by the regime of former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic. He, his wife Besa, and their son Noah now consider Washington, DC as their home.

Mr. Chip Usher is a senior manager with CIA's Near East Mission Center. A 26-year veteran, he has held a variety of leadership assignments overseeing CIA's intelligence analysis work on the Middle East and Northeast Asia, supporting four U.S. Presidents. His teams provided all-source assessments to senior U.S. policymakers on Iraq during the so-called "surge" in 2007-09, Libya during the 2011 attack on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Syria at the outbreak of the civil war, and Lebanon and the Persian Gulf. He has served overseas on two occasions, in Tokyo and Tel Aviv and was Executive Assistant to the Director for Intelligence. Mr. Usher received his B.A. from Duke University and an M.S. in National Security Studies (with honors) from the National War College. He speaks some Hebrew and Japanese. He is married to Mrs. Adrienne Usher, a senior official with the National Institutes of Health, and they have a two-year old son, Reed. 


Critical Regions and International Relations (FGSM 350)

Thursday, 7:00-10:00 p.m., HBK 0125
Please note that this course is cross-listed as HONR378K. 

Course Description: This course recognizes the importance of regional study within the field of international relations and is designed to examine key challenges.  Media reporting on global events often concentrates on the policies and actions of individual countries while underplaying the regional context and the interactions of multiple countries or multilateral institutions.  A central focus of this course will be the role of multilateral institutions in relation to critical regions.  Thus, this course will look at the wide array of factors influencing global events and dynamics, and the various tools available to foreign policy practitioners to address challenges in such critical regions as the Near East, Central Asia, and Europe.

Questions to be addressed include: Could the United States have reached a nuclear deal with Iran alone, without its “P5+1” partners - France, Germany, the UK, Russia, and China? What is the role of NATO and the international community in Afghanistan? How do the actions of multilateral economic institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund influence regional and state behavior, and conversely, how do the policies and priorities of individual states and regions determine the actions of multilateral institutions?  Is the European Union a successful model for a regional political and economic institution, or a failing one as it approaches Brexit?

Instructor Information: Ms. Danusia Hubah is a Foreign Affairs Officer at the Department of State.  She has extensive interagency experience from the policy, diplomatic, and intelligence perspectives on issues related to the Middle East, particularly Iran.  Ms. Hubah was previously the Director for Iran Policy at the National Security Council, where she coordinated the development of U.S. policies and strategies related to Iran, working closely with counterparts in relevant Cabinet agencies such as the Departments of Defense and the Treasury, and the Intelligence Community.  Ms. Hubah has served domestically as a policy officer the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, and overseas as a diplomat at U.S. embassies and consulates in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the United Arab Emirates.  Prior to that, Ms. Hubah worked as an intelligence analyst focusing on Iran.  She has an M.A. in Security Studies from Georgetown University, and a B.A. in Political Science/International Relations from the University of California, San Diego.