An impressive slate of core and visiting faculty help make the Ford School a hub for engagement with the foreign policy community and a national leader in international policy education. The Weiser Diplomacy Center (WDC) and International Policy Center have forged partnerships with the U.S. State Department, American Academy of Diplomacy, U.S. Army War College, Korea Foundation, and others to offer engaged learning opportunities for students. Students practice their strategic problem-solving skills in global simulations that clarify the importance of analysis and negotiation, attend one-of-kind events with high-profile leaders, and travel the world with their classmates.

Building our faculty expertise

This fall, the Ford School welcomed several new international policy researchers and practitioners. Megan Stewart has joined the core faculty as a tenured associate professor with expertise in international political conflict and revolutionary movements. Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun is a Weiser Distinguished Policymaker in Residence, visiting in the fall term. He brings more than three decades of international affairs experience in government and the private sector, including high-level government service with the Department of State, the White House, and the U.S. Congress and is teaching a course on U.S. foreign policy and grand strategy. Ambassador Daniel Shields, who served as U.S. Ambassador to Brunei among other senior diplomatic roles, has returned this fall to teach a simulation course on U.S. diplomacy in the Indo-Pacific. Kseniya Yurtayeva, a visiting Ukrainian scholar, is pursuing research on cyber aggression in contemporary warfare. Through a collaboration with the U.S. Department of State, Diplomat in Residence Louis Fintor has also returned to the Ford School as the State Department’s Diplomat in Residence for the North-Central region, offering advice and guidance to students interested in careers, internships, or fellowships with the State Department. They join our core faculty, including WDC and IPC director John Ciorciari, former ambassadors Susan D. Page and Mel Levitsky, national security and intelligence expert Javed Ali, and other faculty affiliates with expertise in international economics, security, and human rights. . Together, these enthusiastic teachers and mentors bring expertise in Eastern Europe, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Asia, and serve as a resource to students interested in foreign service.

International policy simulations and symposia

Ford School students prepare for future careers as international affairs professionals through varied engagements with policy practitioners, build negotiation skills and develop regional expertise through workshops and simulations.

On September 9 and 10, students participated in the U.S. Army War College policy simulation for the third consecutive year. This year, the simulation focused on competition in the Arctic. Colonel Chad Jagmin, director of the Department of Strategic Wargaming, and Ed “Cliffy” Zukowski, ISCNE program director, from the Center for Strategic Leadership at the U.S. Army War College helped lead the simulation.

On September 30 and October 1, IPC will host a two day symposium where students from U-M and other Midwestern universities will explore Russian and Eastern European security issues. The keynote panel discussion, “The War in Ukraine: Russia, the EU, and NATO,” will feature U-M Sociologist Genevieve Zubrzycki, former Polish Ambassador to Russia Katarzyna Pełczyńska-Nałęcz, former U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Beyrle, and former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun. The event will culminate in a diplomatic simulation, “Russia & NATO in the Baltics,” for students to apply the knowledge they’ve gained during previous symposium sessions.

For a fourth year, WDC and the American Academy of Diplomacy will bring experts to the Ford School to discuss critical foreign policy issues. On October 13, former Ambassador to Tajikistan Susan M. Elliot, former Ambassador to Cyprus Richard A. Boucher, former Ambassador to the Republic of Azerbaijan Robert Cekuta, and former Ambassador to Algeria, Bahrain and Afghanistan Ronald Neumann will discuss the global implications of the war in Ukraine.

Through its partnership with the Korea Foundation, IPC launched the Building Policy Expertise on Korea and Surrounding East Asia pilot program in 2021, providing opportunities for students to research the region and its most pertinent policy issues through the program’s Extended Research Projects. The program also included a Midwest Symposium, which featured former Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun, who also previously served as U.S. Special Representative for North Korea, Soojin Park, Public Policy Fellow at the Wilson Center and former Deputy Spokesperson at the Korean government’s Ministry of Unification, and Ross Tokola, Executive Associate to the Director at the East-West Center.

Diplomacy Lab

As one of the 30 partner universities nationwide and for the third year in a row, WDC is offering all U-M students and faculty the opportunity to participate in Diplomacy Lab, a program run by the U.S. State Department’s Office of Global Partnerships. Diplomacy Lab engages students to help tackle pressing, policy-relevant questions posed by State Department officials. This year, Diplomacy Lab projects will focus on gender-based violence, criminal justice in Latin America, Iceland’s economy, and best practices in rehabilitation and reintegration practices.

Student funding programs

Students can apply to a wide array of funding programs to pursue individual and small-group experiential learning opportunities.

  • IPC offers various fall and winter funding programs that support student-driven professional development and learning. In winter 2023, Ford School students will be invited to submit student-initiated project funding applications to represent U-M at the 2023 International Model NATO Conference. This will be the third year that U-M will be sending a delegation to the Model NATO conference.  In 2022, six Ford School undergraduate students represented Hungary, several of whom received awards for their efforts.
  • WDC and IPC continue to support graduate and undergraduate summer internship funding opportunities. Graduate students pursuing internships with institutional partner organizations and with other employers are encouraged to contact the Office of Graduate Career Services to apply for funding. Undergraduate students looking to complete a summer internship related to international policy can apply for funding in the spring and find more information on MCompass.
  • During the winter term, WDC will nominate a group of three U-M undergraduates for the  EU Schuman Challenge, an annual academic competition where students present and defend transatlantic policy initiatives. In 2021, the U-M team placed 2nd among 30 teams from across the country.

International travel courses

Students are challenged to apply their in-classroom learning during international study trips.

Through the International Economic Development Program, graduate students analyze the economic, social, political, health, and/or environmental policy challenges in a country selected by the Ford School graduate student body. Amy Harris will lead the course in 2023, and will travel with students to Chile over spring break to meet with policymakers, industry officials, civil society representatives and other experts to build a better understanding of select policy successes and challenges.

The Ford School’s undergraduate travel course, Global Engagement Seminar, will be led by Jon Hanson in 2023. This year, students will study issues of nationalism, migration and security during their trip to Brussels, Belgium, a hub for European and transatlantic policymaking.

Our centers

About the Weiser Diplomacy Center

The Weiser Diplomacy Center leads the Ford School’s engagement with the foreign policy community and provides practical training to students interested in international affairs. It serves as a hub for engagement with the foreign policy community, bringing a diverse cadre of seasoned diplomats and foreign policy experts to campus and creating new opportunities for students and faculty.

About the International Policy Center

The International Policy Center supports the faculty and students of the University of Michigan and the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy in creating new knowledge, fostering considered debate, and developing the policy leaders of tomorrow. It serves as the Ford School’s hub for interdisciplinary research and education on pressing global issues.