Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Facebook Twitter YouTube Trending Globally Podcast Instagram LinkedIn Tumblr Email list
Study Groups 2022

Fall 2022 practitioner-led study groups

These not-for-credit study groups provide an opportunity for students to delve deeply into topics and apply theory and research to real world challenges. Enrollment in each group is limited to 25 students. 

The Power of the States
Suzi LeVine

Through this seminar, I believe you will see that States are where the action is and that you can play a key role in that action if you choose!


Humanitarian Considerations in Immigration Systems: Status Quo and Imagined Future
Leon Rodriguez

While employment-based or family-based immigration also spark debate, the greatest controversies surround immigration programs focused on those in needed, such as currently undocumented residents of the U.S., asylum seekers, applicants for refugee status, victims of war and natural disaster, and/or those seeking to escape poverty and political chaos. Recent estimates by humanitarian organizations place the number of displaced persons throughout the world at eighty million, while the refugee admission policies of those countries willing to accept refugees sit at the tiniest fractions of that number. In the meantime, global climate change promises to bring global displacement to unprecedented and unimaginable levels.

The need for fresh and imaginative solutions to address these challenges could not be more urgent. In the group’s final sessions, we will work together to imagine a viable future immigration system that prioritizes universal principles of humanitarianism and equity and the plan an effective advocacy strategy to turn some of those ideas into policy. As the foundation to this exercise, the study group will explore the current state of U.S. and foreign immigration bureaucracies, focusing in particular on the political drivers of U.S. immigration policy, including the unseen forces that preserve what many across the political spectrum view as a dysfunctional status quo.

To ensure that the study groups hears a variety of perspectives, I plan to have two prominent guest speakers who I will announce as we draw closer to the start of our study sessions. Seeking to have informed and energetic discussions, several days prior to each study group session I provide brief readings, including crucial immigration policy documents from the Bush, Obama, Trump and Biden administrations, as well as factual scenarios for discussion.


National Security, Innovation, and the Congress
Arun Seraphin

The Study Group will explore the role that Congress and policy making can play in creating an environment to support innovation in our national security science and technology enterprise. The Group will discuss the opportunities and challenges of implementing innovative technologies and practices into the complex defense establishment and understand how policymakers can work to create a legal framework, regulations, culture, and financial resources that can support or inhibit innovation. The Group will explore the processes by which Congress crafts legislation, provides funding, and performs oversight activities over the Pentagon. The Group will also provide insights and information on the complementary roles of the legislative branch, executive branch, and the private sector in shaping the policy and innovation environment. Each meeting will consist of presentations by Dr. Seraphin on national security innovation policy issues, along with occasional guest lectures from experts from Washington, DC, and focused discussions related to policy problems and potential solutions to those problems. Students will be expected to read short read-ahead materials for each class, and actively participate in group discussions on class topics.