Last May, as the novel coronavirus spread and government employees began to realize temporary shut-downs might extend into summer and beyond, Nora Dempsey started hearing what she calls “stories of woe” about cancelled summer internships.

Dempsey is the senior advisor for innovation in the Office of eDiplomacy at the U.S. Department of State and the interim director of the Virtual Student Federal Service (VSFS), an institutional parter of the Robertson Foundation for Government. She and Megan Kuhn, a program analyst and head of student outreach for the VSFS, run a two-person operation that has become the largest virtual internship in the world. The VSFS has been harnessing technology for over a decade to facilitate new forms of diplomatic engagement for young people.  VSFS has placed nearly 9,000 students in virtual academic-year long internships  at more than 70 federal agencies in that period.

As Dempsey and Kuhn wrote in State Magazine earlier this month, “The federal government is usually faulted for being behind the curve, yet the Department of State was suddenly earning shout-outs as a virtual visionary. Those federal mentors familiar with VSFS urged the program to make its first-ever foray into summer internships. VSFS stepped in and converted 200 canceled in-person student internships into virtual ones.”

Already by June this year, leaders like Max Stier, President and CEO of the Partnership for Public Service, were touting FSVS’s success to Congress. He wrote a statement, for The House Committee on Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations hearing entitled “Frontline Feds: Serving the Public During a Pandemic” in which he stated: “Several agencies have also been able to pivot their internship programs to the virtual world. Thanks to the support given by the Virtual Student Federal Service (VSFS), run out of the State Department, a number of agencies have avoided canceling scores of internships.”

The VSFS played an instrumental role in facilitating RFG’s summer internship program when nearly all of the 2021 Class faced the cancellation of their summer internships.

“With the exception of two scheduled internships, all of the rest were either cancelled or postponed indefinitely, some as late as June” says RFG Program Director, Alexandra Ghara. “We had to scramble to find backup options for these fellows. I reached out to Nora and she worked with me to match the fellows with suitable internship offices and arrange interviews.” Seven fellows were able to secure federal internships through the VSFS.

Dempsey says she is always delighted to place a Robertson Fellow in one of her virtual internships. “I can always guarantee the mentor will be pleased with the person and delighted with the work” they do, she says.

When Josephine Glenn (Maxwell, ‘21) learned that her internship with the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command had been cancelled, she worried she might not be able to find another internship to meet the requirements of her academic program. Luckily, Glenn secured a VSFS internship with the Policy Division of the Office of Policy, Planning, and Resources at the U.S. Department of State.

 “VSFS provided a level of security and excitement at a time of great uncertainty. Because [the internship] was already virtual, I knew I would be given meaningful projects that were challenging. I was given the opportunity to do intensive work on a research project focused on network theory. This project was directly aligned with strategic priorities set out by my office. I was able to do a deep dive into network theory, create a template for future trainings, and conduct interviews with high level state officials for their perspectives on the networks at the State Department,” says Glenn.

In the end, the pandemic shone a spotlight on virtual internships, says Dempsey. “They make sense. They empower government and government workers perhaps even more now that all work is virtual.”

Since the VSFS only deals in unclassified positions, interns do not need a badge or security clearance to take part, she says. Yet many of the jobs are critically important.

“One thing that was mind boggling and important was the number of positions this summer that morphed quickly into fighting COVID-19. Health and Human Services used us to staff the task force at The White House. USAID used summer interns to pivot in global education to see how COVID-19 would affect education worldwide, including disability programs in education,” she says.

The VSFS program was first announced by Secretary Clinton at the May 2009 New York University commencement speech. “Working from college and university campuses, American students will partner with our embassies abroad to conduct digital diplomacy that reflects the realities of the networked world,” Clinton said at the time.

The Robertson Foundation for Government was an early supporter of the VSFS, providing funding to a company that helped build a microtasking site for the service almost ten years ago. The microstasking site eventually evolved into Open Opportunities, an exciting branch of USAJOBS focused on temporary professional opportunities for federal employees, allowing them to build on their resume, and network.

Dempsey says the long-standing relationship with the foundation has always been “very helpful in connecting government with youth and their potential. The relationship has always made us feel like a part of Robertson.”

VSFS began with 40 in-person summer interns who agreed to continue working virtually for the State Department for the 2009-2010 school year. USAID became the second federal agency to host virtual interns, during the 2012-2013 school year, followed by the three other “foreign affairs agencies” (USDA, DOC, and BBG) in the 2013-2014 academic year.  By summer 2017 so many other agencies had joined that the VSFS was rebranded as the Virtual Student Federal Service.

The VSFS team continues to explore ways to foster virtual internship programming beyond the U.S. to further public participation initiatives worldwide, including with the Republic of Georgia and Australia.

Meanwhile, Dempsey says this past summer changed forever how government agencies work, and not just for internships.

Before the pandemic, there was a woman in her office who wanted to work from home a few days a week, but it was ultimately not permitted. “Now that is an old discussion,” says Dempsey. “Virtual work is better for the environment and better for work output.

“The (pandemic) experience will change the future of work. Work is no longer where you go, it’s what you do,” says Dempsey. “A generation that couldn’t imagine sitting at home alone and working, can connect now with students from the generation that can’t imagine it any other way.”

About the VSFS

Each year, federal employees submit project requests between May 1 and June 10. U.S. citizen college students apply to their top three VSFS projects from July 1-31 on VSFS supervisors review applications between August 1-31 and may contact VSFS candidates for a virtual interview. As part of the interview, candidates may be asked to show examples of their expertise and work. All candidates will hear by early September if they have been offered a position.

Selected eInterns work on their projects for ten hours a week from September through May. Some eInterns work with their academic institutions to receive course credit for their VSFS participation.

For more details, please visit the VSFS website.

General Information

The Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellowship Program invites recent college and graduate school alumni to apply for full-time, six-to-nine month fellowships in Washington, DC. Outstanding individuals will be selected to work with nonprofit, public-interest organizations addressing peace and security issues. Applications are especially encouraged from candidates with a strong interest in these issues who have prior experience with public-interest activism or advocacy.

Program and Purpose

Scoville Fellows will choose to work with one of the twenty-six organizations participating in the program. With the assistance of alumni, board, and staff, fellows will select a placement which best matches their interests and the needs of the host organization. Participating organizations provide office space and support, supervision and guidance for fellows’ work. With the exception of Congressional lobbying, fellows may undertake a variety of activities, including research, writing, and organizing that support the goals of their host organization.

The purpose of the fellowship is to provide an opportunity for college graduates to gain practical knowledge and experience by contributing to the efforts of nonprofit, public-interest organizations working on peace and security issues.

Salary and Benefits

Fellows receive a salary of $3,400 per month and basic health insurance compensation, plus travel expenses to Washington, DC. The program also provides $1,000 per fellow for professional development to attend relevant conferences or meetings that could cover travel, accommodations, and registration fees, or to take a language or policy course. The program arranges meetings for the fellows with policy experts and social networking events with alumni. Fellows also receive mentoring from a board member and a former fellow.

Some lenders may permit Scoville Fellows to defer college loan payments during their fellowship. Check with your individual lenders.

Issue Areas Covered by the Scoville Fellowship

Scoville Fellows create a project, in partnership with their host organizations, related to one of four broad areas:

• Nuclear Nonproliferation and WMD. This category includes but is not limited to: Nuclear nonproliferation and security; prevention of the spread of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons; defense spending and procurement; U.S. interactions with current, de facto, or potential nuclear powers; protection of nuclear and radiological materials.
• Climate and Security nexus. This category includes but is not limited to: environmental concerns with security implications; disaster response with military personnel; international tensions arising from changing arctic region; regional and ethnic tensions exacerbated by resource competition.
• Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution. This category includes but is not limited to: current and potential incursions within or between neighboring countries; conventional weapons and arms trade; cross-border refugee movements; ethnic tensions with security implications; atrocity prevention; building international and regional institutions to resolve conflicts; development and implementation of novel conflict resolutions strategies; counterterrorism and terrorism reduction strategies; supporting international agreements that can lead to peace, prosperity, and sustainability.
• Emerging Technology Threats. This category includes but is not limited to: questions related to the development, deployment, and use of drones, artificial intelligence, cyber warfare, satellites and space in a security context.
• Global Health Security. This category includes biosecurity and pandemics.

Applicants whose area of interest falls outside of the above list are unlikely to be selected as a Scoville Fellow.

Applicants are required to submit all documents through our new online application form between September 12 and October 9, 2020 for the spring 2021 semester that will begin between January 15 and April 1, 2021. An automated email response will be sent when items are received. Applicants who do not receive the email response within 24 hours of emailing materials should re-submit their application.

Learn more and apply

Editor’s note: The following story first appeared on the UC UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy’s website.

For Topher Taylor, receiving a Robertson Fellowship at the UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy (GPS) has expanded his educational experiences and future career goals beyond what he imagined.

Here, the 2021 Master of International Affairs (MIA) student discusses how he chose to study at GPS, his research foci—which range from disability rights on college campuses to Thai politics—and how his time as a Robertson Fellow has prepared him for a career in the federal government.

Where are you from, and what led you to UC San Diego and GPS?
I came to GPS after graduating with a B.S. in geography from Brigham Young University. I was looking for a school where I could study international affairs with a focus on Southeast Asia, specifically Thailand. I lived in Thailand as a volunteer for a couple years as an undergraduate, learned Thai and gained a real interest in the country. Here, I’ve not only been able to do a Southeast Asia specialization, but also have the flexibility to do research and write papers about different aspects of Thai politics and society.

How has being a Robertson Fellow influenced your academic focus at GPS?
As Robertson Fellows, we commit to working in the federal government for at least three years after graduation, which was a sector I was relatively unfamiliar with before coming to GPS. Being a fellow has given me a lot of opportunities to explore the variety of departments and agencies both in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere.

In the GPS curriculum, we often touch on government bureaucracy and policymaking, so the background on government work that I’ve gained from the fellowship program has helped me take those concepts and envision how they might work in practice. Being a fellow has also pushed me to be more ambitious and take on my current job at the San Diego passport agency, which is going to be a big time commitment. In the end, though, the job will put me in a great place to transition into other jobs in the federal government after GPS.

What has been the most rewarding aspect of being a Robertson Fellow?
One of the most valuable experiences was traveling to D.C. last year to visit places like the U.S. Department of State and the Government Accountability Office, as well as to hear from alumni and previous fellows about their experiences working in different government jobs. Being a fellow has opened my eyes to an entirely new field of employment, and I’m very grateful for that.

What type of federal government job do you hope to pursue after graduation?
I’m open to a lot of possibilities, especially after seeing how I’ve enjoyed my current job; I wouldn’t have predicted I’d like passport adjudication as much as I have. Just the other day I heard about the Office of Disability Integration and Coordination at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for the first time, which is now on my radar as a potential future destination. I’m frequently exposed to new agencies or offices that might be off the public radar but are doing really interesting work in my interest areas of disability, human rights and Asia-oriented policy. I’d say some of my main interests are with the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor in the State Department, the Government Accountability Office or the United States Institute of Peace.

How has the novel coronavirus pandemic affected your work at the passport agency here in San Diego?
I’m working as a passport adjudicator at the San Diego Passport Agency and will continue throughout the rest of the upcoming school year. The agency was completely shut down until finals week of the spring 2020 term, so I was actually not disrupted by the pandemic too much and started on time. Since we’re considered an essential service, we’ve been working in the office on the backlog of applications from before and during the pandemic. I didn’t know exactly what to expect going into the job, but there’s just so much variety that you encounter on a day-to-day basis. It feels great to be able to help get passports to people who need them during this stressful time.

Tell me more about your research on disability accommodations at colleges and universities in the U.S. 
I’ve been interested in this topic since I met my wife and we worked together on a commission she formed in our senior year of undergrad. It was called the Equal Access and Disability Rights Commission, and we basically compiled disabled students’ experiences to expose the shortcomings in disability accommodation and equal access at our university.

My research this past year at GPS has expanded on that work with the commission to find that poor access to accommodations is a nationwide problem facing disabled students. I attempted to analyze why this problem exists and concluded that disabled students are often viewed as a burden by administrators, faculty and fellow students, which leads to negative perceptions surrounding disability accommodations. The negative perceptions are influenced by the general societal perceptions that we have about disability being a liability or a deficiency that uses up our shared societal resources.

A common thought process among people trying to solve this problem is that we just need to have better laws that enforce students’ rights to accommodations, and while I agree that laws may help, I feel like the main issue is the perceived legitimacy of accommodations among individuals on college campuses. In order to raise the level of legitimacy that people attach to accommodations, there needs to be a much broader discussion of disabled students’ experiences, including faculty training and campus-wide awareness events.

A second proposal from my research is to create campus organizations for disabled students so that the older students can mentor the new students and so that they can confront the problems in the flawed accommodations system together rather than individually.

How did you keep in touch with your classmates as courses were moved to an online format for the spring term? 
We did a lot of group chats with people commenting on things that were happening during class, venting about assignments. Sometimes we were able to get together and play some group games online, which was fun. For the fall, I’m planning on being entirely online with no classroom attendance, so it will probably be a lot of the same. Hopefully now that we’ve been through one quarter of online classes, another one won’t be too bad.

The National Academy of Public Administration announced last Thursday that 45 leaders in the field of public administration have been selected for the 2020 Class of Academy Fellows. Induction of the new Fellows will occur during the annual Academy Fall Meeting, which will take place virtually November 5-10.

“I am very pleased to welcome the Academy’s 2020 class of Fellows,” said Terry Gerton, President and CEO of the Academy. “Our distinguished Fellows are nationally recognized for their expertise and contributions to the field of public administration and this year’s incoming class is no exception. During this especially turbulent time for government, we welcome their experience and perspective as we work collaboratively to find solutions to the Grand Challenges in Public Administration, advance social equity and build resilient communities.”

Read the Academy’s press release and see the full list of 2020 Fellows

The Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security (GIWPS), with support from The Rockefeller Foundation and in collaboration with Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State (2009-2013), released Beijing+25: Accelerating Progress for Women and Girls which serves as a roadmap to advance global gender equality. As the Covid-19 global crisis risks rolling back women’s modest gains and slowing or even reversing progress, the report provides a roadmap for a post-pandemic world.

The strategy for accelerating progress includes: (1) changing problematic gender norms; (2) enforcing and resourcing policies that promote equality; (3) countering growing backlash to gender equality; (4) fostering inclusive democracy and climate justice; and (5) harnessing technology as a means to promote women’s economic empowerment and protection from violence.

Marking the 25th anniversary of the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women, which took place in Beijing, China in 1995, the new report builds upon the original Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.

“Finishing the unfinished business of the Beijing platform is an urgent strategic imperative that all world leaders, men and women alike, must embrace — not with incremental steps or mere rhetoric, but with bold ideas, action, and real resources to get the job done,” said Secretary Clinton. “This is a watershed moment for women around the world and in the United States. Gender equality is an idea whose time has come, and it is up to us to make it a reality.”

Since 1995, there have been some important gains for women and girls, including parity in education in many countries, far fewer deaths in childbirth, more women elected to parliament and leadership positions in government and business, and reduced discrimination under the law. Yet major inequalities have persisted, only to be exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The pandemic challenges us to rethink how we approach many aspects of life, and it also offers an unprecedented opportunity to reset” said Melanne Verveer, the first U.S. Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues (2009-2013) and current Executive Director of GIWPS. “Our response to the pandemic should be informed by the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and help create a better world for women and girls everywhere.”

Beijing+25: Accelerating Progress for Women and Girls draws upon the wisdom and experience of 25 global women leaders. In addition to Secretary Clinton, they include:

  • Shaharzad Akbar, Chairperson for The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission
  • Leila Alikarami, Lawyer and Human Rights Advocate in Iran
  • Laura Alonso, former Head of the Argentina Anti-Corruption Office
  • Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and former President of Chile
  • Ikram Ben-Said, Founder of Aswat Nissa in Tunisia
  • Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
  • Drew Faust, former President, Harvard University
  • Julia Gillard, former Prime Minister of Australia
  • Dalia Grybauskaitė, former President of Lithuania
  • Natalia Kanem, Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund
  • Susana Malcorra, former Foreign Minister of Argentina
  • Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women
  • Chouchou Namegabe, Founder and CEO, ANZAFRIKA in The Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Reema Nanavaty, Head of Self-Employed Women’s Association of India
  • Marta Lucía Ramírez, Vice President of Colombia
  • Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland
  • Judith Rodin, former President of The Rockefeller Foundation
  • May SabePhyu, Kachin Women’s Rights Activist, Myanmar
  • Trisha Shetty, Founder of SheSays, India
  • Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of Liberia
  • Virginia Tan, Co-Founder and President of Lean In China
  • Carolyn Tastad, Group President for North America at Procter & Gamble
  • Margot Wallström, former Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden

“This pandemic has exacted an especially cruel toll on women and minorities, exposing persistent inequalities and threatening the modest gains achieved in recent years,” said Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, President of The Rockefeller Foundation. “Only by working together, can we usher in a more just and prosperous world, and now is the time to bend the curve of this crisis and create a real and lasting systems change for women and girls – and for us all.”

Charting a Way Forward:

Part I of the report documents serious and persistent challenges such as the stagnation of women’s income and wages, discrimination depriving women of fair wages, and how women still carry the burden of unpaid work at home. Violence against women also remains a global scourge, and women remain largely excluded from higher levels of decision-making in governments (from local to the highest levels), in peace negotiations, and in corporate leadership.

With this as the backdrop, Part II provides a deeper dive into the five key areas for progress, mentioned above, with Part III proposing a course of action to leverage multiple actors—from civil society and youth, male allies and traditional authorities, through to the business community and multilateral agencies. When taken together, they not only accelerate progress for women and girls, but also build a better world for all.

This report was written by a GIWPS team, led by Dr. Jeni Klugman, Managing Director of GIWPS. It included extensive individual interviews with participants conducted by Ambassador Verveer and Sundaa Bridgett-Jones of The Rockefeller Foundation during the summer of 2020.

Two years following Barbara Bush’s passing in 2018, her memory is being honored by the Robertson Foundation for Government with the creation of The Women in Public Service Fellowship in Honor of Barbara Bush through the Texas A&M Foundation.

The fellowship will support deserving students pursuing a master’s degree with a focus on intelligence studies and public policy from Texas A&M University’s Bush School of Government and Public Service. The Women in Public Service Fellowship deepens RFG’s partnership with the Bush School, which started in 2011. The fellowship also opened the door for The Jack and Carolyn Little Family Foundation to step into a new funding role with the Bush School by contributing funds.

The fellowship’s first recipient is Autumn Clouthier (Bush 2022), who says, “The creators of the fellowship are providing me with the essential resources and support I need to be successful.”

As a nonpartisan family foundation dedicated to educating future federal leaders, honoring the Bush matriarch’s expansive influence was an easy decision. RFG President Cynthia Robinson noted, “We felt that creating a fellowship in her honor for students interested in public service would be a wonderful way to celebrate her legacy and attract more students to careers in policy and government service.”

Read more

In our experience working with staff at all levels of GSA, federal employees are highly dedicated and uniquely mission-oriented. Ask them what they find most frustrating about their jobs, and the reply is often any task, process, or requirement that distracts their focus from mission critical work. In many cases, these tasks and processes are manual, repetitive, and low-value – indicating they are not only distracting, but also absorb an inordinate amount of employee time. In addition to the employee engagement impact of low-value work, there is also serious organizational impact including workforce capacity, productivity, and results. With the current pressure on the Federal Government to continue doing more and meet new demands such as currently in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, low-value, repetitive work will no longer just be a nuisance, but instead an operational risk to agencies fulfilling their goals.

Read more

Editor’s note: The following story first appeared on the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy website.

This year, Victoria Adofoli, Ryan Damron, Phoebe DeVos-Cole, Katherine Carson-Seevers and Sarah Williamson are recipients of the Robertson Fellowship. In partnership with the Robertson Foundation for Government, each fellow receives full tuition, a cost-of-living stipend and summer internship assistance.

Adofoli is a 2020 Urban Leaders Fellow and spent a year abroad as a Fulbright Scholar in Malaysia, where she developed educational programs and projects sponsored by the Malaysian Ministry of Education and the U.S. government.

“I am passionate about economic and technological justice for underserved and historically disinvested communities,” said Adofoli. “I’d also like to help establish new rules and norms that govern, protect, inspire and take into consideration the struggles of the poor black, brown and white folks.”

Adofoli holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and peace studies from the College of Saint Benedict and will be focusing on international security and economic policy at SPP.

“I’ve always questioned who made the rules, how society is governed and who is left out — so, being [at SPP] allows me to continue those discussions,” she said. “I am looking forward to conversing with like-minded people who are passionate about investing in systems change efforts, and treating the conditions, not just the symptoms of an underlying societal problems.”

Damron comes to the School with dual degrees in economics and accounting from West Virginia University. After working in multiple finance roles in both West Virginia and Washington D.C., Damron transitioned his career into one of public service, joining the Peace Corps and serving two years as an educator and community development specialist in Albania.

“In my cohort, there are Peace Corps volunteers, military officers, and other practitioners that have worked in and done some great things in their early career,” said Damron. “I’m excited to exchange all of those stories.”

At SPP, he will be focusing on international security and economic policy, and hopes to eventually work as a foreign service officer.

It is very important for us as a nation to be aware of what is going on in the world around us and how that affects not only our interests as U.S. citizens, but also as world citizens in a larger global community.
Sarah Williamson, SPP Student
DeVos-Cole graduated from Chapman University with a degree in political science and will also be focusing on international security and economic policy. Previously, she interned at Los Alamos National Laboratory with the Office of National Security and International Studies and interned with the Center for Law and Military Policy researching issues with active servicemembers and veterans.

“I have been a service-oriented person and have wanted to work in government from a young age,” said DeVos-Cole. “I am most looking forward to working and studying under world-class faculty and building connections with my peers, as well as the professional development opportunities offered by SPP and the Robertson Foundation.”

DeVos-Cole credits her passion for issues concerning military members to her many family and friends currently serving or having served in the armed forces.

“My father is a Vietnam Veteran who speaks fondly of his time in the service and has been one of the most influential individuals in my academic and professional career,” she said. “His appreciation for and dedication to public service is one of the top reasons I am pursuing a policy career.”

Seevers comes to SPP with a degree in foreign service from Georgetown University. Seevers also worked on democracy and governance programs across Latin America at the National Democratic Institute, served as an English language assistant in Spain, interned with the U.S. Embassy in Madrid, and served as a student leader for the Georgetown University Center for Social Justice.

“I became deeply interested in how international cooperation can strengthen democracy, enhance global prosperity, and tackle big issues like climate change and human security,” said Seevers.

It was these experiences that motivated Seevers to apply for the Robertson Fellowship to both further her studies and prepare herself for a career in public service.

“I am really looking forward to taking advantage of Maryland’s proximity to D.C. to gain professional experience across the federal government during my time at the School,” she said.

Williamson earned a degree in international relations with minors in spanish and world languages & cultures from Samford University. She has served as an international ambassador at Samford’s Global Engagement office and studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

“I’ve had the opportunity to meet people from all over the world and came to realize that I was really interested in learning more about global culture,” said Williamson. “ It is very important for us as a nation to be aware of what is going on in the world around us and how that affects not only our interests as U.S. citizens, but also as world citizens in a larger global community.”

Williamson also hopes to one day serve as a foreign service officer in the U.S. State Department, serving the government in an overseas capacity. She believes that it’s necessary to have passionate, educated people working on policy issues, and is excited about the opportunities the Robertson Fellows program has opened to her.

“I am really looking forward to moving to a new city and making new connections and friendships that I trust will be invaluable in the future,” she added.

Students selected as Robertson Fellows must be enrolled in the two-year Master of Public Policy program and have a commitment to a career in the federal government in foreign policy, national security and/or international affairs. Robertson Fellows also participate in a Robertson internship and are required to work for the federal government for three of their initial seven years following graduation and to demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language at the time of graduation.

The Robertson Foundation for Government is a nonprofit family foundation that works to identify, educate and motivate U.S. graduate students to pursue federal government careers in foreign policy, national security and international affairs. The foundation was established by the family of the late philanthropists Charles and Marie Robertson, and named in their honor.

The Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security (GIWPS) launched a new resource portal on diversity, equity and inclusion in international affairs education.

The DEI portal responds to growing demand from American colleges and universities—often pushed by students and alumni this summer—to revisit and enhance commitments to DEI.

The portal includes syllabus guides, research summaries, and a list of DEI strategies and plans from American universities compiled through an initiative led by GIWPS Distinguished Fellow Carla Koppell with support from the Robertson Foundation for Government.

“Increasing the focus on issues of equity and inclusion is essential so that the next generation of leaders can navigate global heterogeneity to foster peace, security and prosperity,” said Koppell.

Adding Diverse Voices & Perspectives to Syllabi 

To make it easier to include diverse scholarship in syllabi, GIWPS published syllabus guides that identify books and articles by scholars from underrepresented communities.

The guides enable instructors to easily bring a broader range of voices into international courses on topics including: IR theories; conflict and security; human rights; and transnational threats like climate change or global health.

“This is an important new resource for Georgetown colleagues, and others, to utilize in their efforts to make their courses more inclusive and representative of a broad range of perspectives, not just in international relations, but in a host of international affairs subfields. I look forward to the continued growth of this vitally important effort,” said Scott Taylor, Vice Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, School of Foreign Service.

Academic Research on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

GIWPS also published summaries of research on DEI-related issues in curricula, in campus culture, and in the diversity of the faculty, students and staff.

These annotated bibliographies and key takeaways can be leveraged when creating and implementing DEI strategies. GIWPS compiled links to diversity and inclusion strategies and plans from a range of international affairs and public policy schools for reference.

Pro Tips from Professors

Georgetown students were asked which faculty members stood out as allies for diversity, equity and inclusion, whether because of the material on their syllabi or the way they cultivated a welcoming classroom culture.

9 of the selected professors from Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service and College shared their stories and pro tips for promoting inclusion on the GIWPS blog.

“I’m a first-generation college graduate,” said Dr. Lahra Smith, Director of the African Studies Program, School of Foreign Service. “I like to reveal myself as a first-generation college grad and start by introducing myself as a human being, as a person, on day one.

“If students are used to being in an environment where all perspectives are accepted and promoted, where women have a voice, where minorities have a voice, they will grow to be citizens of a world where this is normal, not the exception,” said Dr. Marwa Daoudy, Chair in Arab Studies, School of Foreign Service

RFG is pleased and proud to announce the most recent additions to the Robertson Fellows’ network. Seventeen new fellows began in the 2020-2021 academic year, which marks the 12th class supported by RFG.

Bush School, Texas A&M University 
Robyn Battles
Demetria Charlifue
Autumn Clouthier
Clay Parham
Ryan Sullivan

Maxwell School, Syracuse University
Ricky Cieri
Eli Marin
Katherine Maxwell
Kelli Sunabe

School of Global Policy & Strategy, University of California San Diego
Jack Alegre
Rory Guild
Cate Pollock

School of Public Policy, University of Maryland
Victoria Adofoli
Ryan Damron
Phoebe DeVos-Cole
Katherine Carson-Seevers
Sarah Williamson

We now have 32 current fellows and 153 alumni of the fellowship.