PubPol 475.002

PubPol 475.002: Topics: Writing Persuasively About International Relations

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Fall 2021
Fall 2021
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It's been decades since the United States has faced such a critical mix of foreign policy challenges as today.  This course aims to ensure students are equipped to take policy positions on foreign policy and defense issues and argue their cases cogently, clearly and effectively in the format of newspaper editorials and op eds. Writing for general interest publications is very different from academic writing and is an essential skill regardless of how your careers evolve. As a basis for these opinion pieces, we will examine an array of current challenges -- including threats to democracy, Iran's nuclear ambitions, the new Cold War with Russia and growing competition with China. How would you propose that Congress, the president, the United Nations, Beijing -- or any other major player -- act to address these challenges? The course will feature guest speakers who are prominent experts in their fields, specific readings for each class and regular discussion of news and opinion coverage by major publications. We will study the elements of effective opinion pieces and the best and worst examples of the genre. Students can expect 3 or 4 600-800 word assignments that offer students the chance to improve their writing skills as well as their ability to think critically about foreign policy.   Each assignment has 2 parts: a draft that I will edit and give back and a rewritten final version.

Carol Giacomo became the chief editor of Arms Control Today, a monthly magazine on nonproliferation and global security, in April 2021 following 13 years as a member of The New York Times editorial board writing opinion pieces on all major national security issues including nuclear weapons, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan. Her work has involved regular overseas travel, including trips to North Korea, Iran and Myanmar. She met a half dozen times with President Obama at the White House and interviewed scores of other world leaders.

A former diplomatic correspondent for Reuters in Washington, she covered foreign policy for the international wire service for more than two decades and traveled over 1 million miles to more than 100 countries with eight secretaries of state and other senior U.S. officials. During the 2020 spring semester, Ms. Giacomo was a Ferris professor of journalism at Princeton University, a position she also held in 2013. In Fall 2020, she was a fellow at the Institute of Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School. In 2019, she held the Poynter Chair at Indiana University’s School of Media Studies.

In 2018, she won an award from The American Academy of Diplomacy, an organization of retired career diplomats, for outstanding diplomatic commentary.  In 2009, she won the Georgetown University Weintal Prize for diplomatic reporting. She has also received two publisher’s awards from The New York Times. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. In 1999-2000, she was a senior fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace, researching U.S. economic and foreign policy decision-making during the Asian financial crisis.

Born and raised in Connecticut, she holds a B.A. in English Literature from Regis College, Weston, Mass. She began her professional journalism career at The Lowell Sun and later worked at The Hartford Courant in the city, state and Washington bureaus. She lives in Connecticut.