Over time, Humphrey students have told me they'd like to see more policy-oriented capstones, including in Global Policy. Thus, I'm writing to gauge possible interest in a new human rights and foreign policy capstone for the spring semester.
The U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor -- also known as the Human Rights Bureau -- would like Humphrey School students to undertake a project on the U.S. government's human rights policy. A senior official at the Bureau in Washington, Scott Busby, has outlined four possible projects, which are described very briefly below. I think it is most likely that, if we go forward, it would probably be with the first project, though that is not certain. I would be involved in the development of the capstone, but it would likely be supervised week to week by a practitioner who also has significant experience in this area. (I have several possible instructors in mind, but this has arisen only recently, so we have yet to get to closure on that.)
I also plan to discuss this possible capstone with DRL's Assistant Secretary of State, Michael Posner, when I see him next week in Washington.
I think this would present a wonderful opportunity for students interested in human rights, international affairs and/or work in the DC policy environment, and I'm prepared to do what is necessary to put this together. However, given the work involved in establishing this capstone, I want to be sure there is sufficient student interest before we move forward.
Thus, if you think it is likely you would register for such a capstone this spring if it were offered, please send an email directly to Stacey Grimes (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let her know. Please do so by Monday, November 12. Don't worry -- your email does not represent a commitment on your part to be part of the capstone, but it will help us to determine if it is worth going forward.
The possible projects appear below.
Many thanks, and best,
1. Human rights vetting of munitions and crime control sales/transfers: This is an underexplored topic but of high public and congressional interest. It is particularly important in light of the export control reform process that the President launched early in the administration and which is not complete (which will reform the way in which licenses for the international sale of certan items is done). It is very complex and there are few, if any, experts in the NGO or academic world on it. This would be the project of greatest use to us and the wider human right world.
2. What are the policies and practices of governments and companies regarding legal surveillance and privacy protection on the Internet. Lots of people interested in this but not a lot of data. Would be highly useful to many.
3. Evaluating the Millennium Challenge Account and whether and how it's produced progress on democracy and human rights issues. Could be quite interesting. Would also be interesting to evaluate whether the democracy and human rights metrics they are using are right.
4. Whether and how human rights concerns are considered in the context of multilateral financial assistance programs (e.g. World Bank, IMF, ADB, IADB, etc.)
Eric P. Schwartz
Humphrey School of Public Affairs
301 19th Avenue South, Suite 300
Minneapolis, MN 55455