GIA Graduate Certificate

GIA Graduate Certificate in Security Studies (SS)

Faculty Coordinator: Scott Nelson

The certificate in security studies is open to Virginia Tech and non-degree graduate students interested in learning more about conflict, security, and war. Students will explore U.S. foreign policy-making and its impact on the world. The certificate is uniquely geared for students interested in careers in national security, the military, intelligence, legislatures, think-tanks, and NGOs. Courses are offered in Blacksburg, Arlington, and online.
The requirements for the certificate are completion of a total of twelve credit hours, 6 credits in required courses and 6 elective hours. Students must receive a grade of B or better in each course.
Applications for the Graduate Certificate in Security Studies will be considered from students enrolled in a graduate degree program at Virginia Tech and from non-degree and Commonwealth Campus students who have been permitted to take courses by the Graduate School

Course Requirements

Completion of a total of twelve credit hours; 6 credits in required courses and 6 elective hours. Students must receive a grade of B or better in each course.
(Note: Students will not be allowed to retake a course for a better grade if they receive below a B.)

Required courses:

PSCI/GIA 5444 – International Politics
PSCI/GIA5484 – Contemporary American Foreign Policy

In addition, students must complete at least 6 credit hours from the following:

PSCI 5324 – Executive Branch
PSCI 5464 – Critical Security Studies
PSCI/GIA 5474 – Global Governance
PSCI/GIA5514 – Global Security
PSCI/GIA 5524 – U.S. Foreign Policy after 9/11
PSCI/GIA 5534 – Regionalism and Political Developments

Government and International Affairs (GIA)

Advance your career by earning a graduate degree in International Affairs in the Washington DC area

Address complex global issues through multidisciplinary, problem solving and participatory learning

Today’s most pressing political, economic, environmental, and social challenges are truly global. Traditional frameworks and singularly disciplinary approaches are no longer sufficient for making sense of the complex and changing landscape of global affairs. To be effective, meeting that challenge requires knowledge from the social sciences, humanities, policy studies, arts, and advanced technologies.

The Government and International Affairs (GIA) program provides researchers and students the skills to leverage their experiences and further their knowledge of contemporary security and economic governance practices. Combining theory and practice, the programs in Government and International Affairs enable students and practitioners to develop critical thinking and learn how to conduct interdisciplinary, innovative, and independent research.

What the Government and International Affairs program offers

  • Flexible scheduling designed for the full-time working professionals
  • Individual guidance from academic advisers
  • Classes taught in small seminars and mostly in the evenings
  • Online classes taught by full-time faculty
  • Study Abroad option for full-time students
  • One of the most cost-competitive graduate programs in the Washington D.C. area

The opportunity to become part of the large Virginia Tech networking community and have access to all that VT has to offer at its different locations in Virginia.

GIA Degrees, Certificates, and Special Programs

The Master’s in Public and International Affairs (MPIA) draws from across the fields of political science, international relations, geography, history, sociology, and economics to understand the impacts and evolving challenges of globalization on international, national, and local politics.

The program focuses on the governance of political, economic, social, and environmental security and risks at the global level. Courses include:

  • contemporary American foreign policy,
  • conflict resolution,
  • global security,
  • international development,
  • global political economy,
  • global social policy, and
  • environmental politics.

The regional politics of the Middle East, post-Soviet Eurasia, and Latin America are analyzed in particular.

The program can be can be taken on a full-time or a part-time basis.  There is also an option for studying abroad for a semester.

Graduates go on to work for the federal, state, and local governments, military and intelligence agencies, a variety of nonprofits and NGOs, as well as private sector consulting and management.

The Ph.D. in Planning, Governance, and Globalization (PGG) draws together insights from the social sciences and humanities in order to study governance processes at all levels of society and international affairs.

The PGG program, managed by Government and International Affairs, offers a unique environment in which faculty and students work closely together to build a research-based program in which students use an interdisciplinary framework to leverage their professional experiences when exploring scholarly puzzles.

Possible research areas include:

  • US foreign policy,
  • new global security threats,
  • conflict resolution,
  • studies in critical geopolitics,
  • global social policy,
  • global political economy,
  • international development challenges and institutions,
  • social movements and
  • political systems.

Faculty expertise covers the regional politics of the Middle East, post-Soviet Eurasia, and Latin America.

Many of our PGG students are professionals working in the Washington D.C area working in research positions and a range of nonprofit/NGO, public and private organizations at national and international levels.

The certificate focuses on the politics, society, and history of the peoples of North Africa, Southwestern Asia, Asia Minor, and the Arabian Peninsula, related borderlands and island groups, and including emigrant and immigrant groups.

It addresses the causes and consequences of conflict in the region, the impact of external interventions, including colonialism, and the drivers of political and social change.

Total Number of Credit Hours: 9 credit hours.
Transfer credits are not permitted.

Students will choose three courses:

GIA 5314 Middle East Geopolitics (3 credits)

GIA/PSCI 5614 (HIST 5544) Understanding the Israeli Palestinian Conflict (3 credits)

ASPT 5134 Islamic Political Thought (3 credits)

ASPT/HIST/RLCL 6124 (PSCI 6234) Pre-Modern Christian and Islamic Political Theory (3 credits)

Another 5000-level or 6000-level course subject to approval by the certificate candidate’s advisor

Applications for the Graduate Certificate in Security Studies will be considered from students enrolled in a graduate degree program at Virginia Tech and from non-degree and Commonwealth Campus students who have been permitted to take courses by the Graduate School. Certificates will be awarded upon completion of twelve credits (4 courses) and application for the certificate and application for certificate conferral once course requirements have been completed.

Course Requirements

Completion of a total of twelve credit hours; 6 credits in required courses and 6 elective hours. Students must receive a grade of B or better in each course.
(Note: Students will not be allowed to retake a course for a better grade if they receive below a B.)

Required courses:
PSCI/GIA 5444 – International Politics
PSCI/GIA5484 – Contemporary American Foreign Policy

In addition, students must complete at least 6 credit hours from the following:

PSCI 5324 – Executive Branch
PSCI 5464 – Critical Security Studies
PSCI/GIA 5474 – Global Governance
PSCI/GIA5514 – Global Security
PSCI/GIA 5524 – U.S. Foreign Policy after 9/11
PSCI/GIA 5534 – Regionalism and Political Developments


Washington, D.C. is at the center of global affairs. It is home to government agencies, many of the world’s leading think-tanks, numerous international organizations and a range of non-governmental organizations. Here, the most significant policy decisions are debated and made, holding both domestic and international importance.
The Washington Semester in Global Engagement is a unique 15 credit program open to all Virginia Tech majors. The Washington Semester consists of a combination of courses on global affairs, internships opportunities, workshops, seminars and networking opportunities with DC professionals and policy makers. It offers students the opportunity to experience policy-making firsthand, and explore the wealth of political and cultural opportunities available in Washington D.C area.
Stay on track for graduation whilst obtaining skills which will help your career opportunities in virtually any sphere.
– Open for sophomores (by year not credit), Juniors and Seniors in all majors
– Minimum 3.00 GPA.
– Housing is available in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia

Students in the MPIA program can spend a semester studying in:

This semester abroad can count up for four courses towards the completion of the degree. In exceptional circumstances and with permission, students may spend a year overseas and take five courses. Students need to have completed 9 credits and have their plan of study abroad approved prior to going abroad.

For further details:

Virginia Tech and University of Kent, Brussels have partnered in creating a unique, time efficient graduate program for students to study international relations in a Euro-Atlantic context. Two Capitals, Two Masters is a new and innovative double Master’s program, designed to offer students the opportunity to study, train, and network in two major centers of political activity, Washington D.C. and Brussels. It allows students to earn two graduate degrees – an appealing feature in the job market – in half the time, and for half the cost of a typical graduate degree in the United States, making it a cost and time-effective alternative to existing graduate programs in international affairs.

The program consists of the following:

  1. One year of study at Virginia Tech, National Capital Region (VT-NCR): Students enroll in the Master’s in Public and International Affairs (MPIA).
  2. One year of study at the University of Kent, Brussels (UKB): Students select an MA from the following specializations: international relations, international conflict and security, international political economy, European public policy, or international development.
  3. At the end of two years, students earn an MA from UKB, and an MPIA from VT.

For further details: Dr. Georgeta Pourchot, Director, Two Capitals, Two Masters Program:

Current GIA Students

Master’s of Public and International Affairs

I grew up in a military family and am deeply grateful to have had the eye-opening opportunity to live overseas and experience other cultures. I obtained my B.A., majoring in English and German, from Hillsdale College in 2017. While at Hillsdale, I was involved in the International Club as secretary, foreign language coordinator and also served as the club’s essay-writing tutor for international students. I am interested in Just War Theory, national defense, conflict resolution and overseas U.S. military engagement. The MPIA program has proven invaluable in my professional development: professors brings something new and relevant to the table each time they lecture, they bring in practitioners, work with students on their interests in addition to the coursework, and always encourage scholarly discussion.
The MPIA program has changed the way I approach critical problem sets in my daily work as a National Security consultant. The academic theory with which students wrestle in the classroom both enlightens and enables, which has allowed me to think strategically and analyze geopolitical issues on a deeper level. The reading, writing, discussion, and interaction with professors of the highest caliber have all contributed greatly to daily successes both in the classroom and in the workplace.
Victoria earned a B.A. from Virginia Tech in 2016 double majoring in International Studies and Religion and Culture with a minor in Spanish while also focusing on sociology. She has been a full-time student in the MPIA program with research interests in global governance particularly regarding immigration and refugees.
Allison is originally from Utah. She currently works as a communications specialist supporting Customs and Border Protection. She previously worked as a contractor supporting the Department of Veteran Affairs. Allison graduated from the University of Utah in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science in Economics, Bachelor of Science in Journalism, and a Bachelor of Science in International Studies. While earning her undergraduate degrees, she had the opportunity to travel to more than fifteen countries. These experiences included teaching English in Japan, studying in Italy, traveling in India, and volunteering in Uganda and Mexico. Her research interests include global health issues, food security, and immigration.
Bukhari was born and raised in Darfur Region of Sudan. He graduated from George Washington University with a B.A. in International Affair. Before joining Virginia Tech, he worked for AmeriCorps for a year. Currently, he works for Amnesty International as a Field Representative and is an Arabic linguist for Ad Star. Bukhari’s is interested in the history of International negotiations and conflict resolution.
Amanda is currently researching international cooperation in the global health sector. During her career Amanda has worked in project management, program implementation, and operations for several small consulting firms. Her work has been in support of many federal offices primarily within the Department of Health and Human Services, including the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), the Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals (OMHA), the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Amanda received her B.A. from James Madison College at Michigan State University, majoring in International Relations (IR) and Political Theory & Constitutional Democracy (PTCD).
Leah earned a B.A. in International Studies, magna cum laude, from American University in 2014 where she focused her studies on Central Europe. While at American University she studied abroad in Berlin and Prague. Leah is currently the Country Director for the United Kingdom and Ireland in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Before joining the Department of Defense, she worked for the Senate Armed Services Committee as a Research Analyst and then a Professional Staff Member overseeing military readiness budgets. Prior to that she had various internships at European-focused think tanks in DC. Leah’s research interests include national security and the backsliding of democracy in Europe.

Ph.D. in Public Administration and Planning

Martin earned a BA in History from the University of Illinois (1999) and a MA in Security Studies from Georgetown University (2013).

His research interests are in the geopolitics and development of energy resources.

Prior to enrolling at Virginia Tech, he worked in investment banking, covering natural resource and infrastructure companies. Martin later worked at the Department of Energy focusing on new energy technology and on international policy.

Pishtiwan was born in Iraqi Kurdistan the same year five thousand Kurds were massacred by chemical weapons, nearly two hundred thousand Kurdish women and children were buried alive in the desserts of Arabia, and 5,000 villages (including his) were destroyed. He grew up and finished school within a civil war zone.

After earning his BA at the University of Kurdistan-Hewler, he started a masters program in International Security at the same university and worked as the deputy manager of Radio Dewran. After winning a scholarship from the Kurdistan Regional Government, he moved to Washington, D.C. earned an MA in International Affairs at the Catholic University of America, and worked as a research assistant at the Rethink Institute.

His main research interests are terrorism, Islamic radicalism, political Islam, democracy and the Kurdish issue.

Craig’s research interests include international organization and nuclear security regimes.

He holds an MA in Security Policy Studies from The George Washington University and a BA in Political Science from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

He is a Seminar XXI Fellow with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a recipient of the Pat Roberts Intelligence Scholarship Award. He currently serves as a national security analyst for the United States Government.

Joe earned a BS in Political Science from Central Michigan University (2010) and an MA in International Relations (2016) from Texas A&M University.

His interested in analyzing US nation building efforts in the Middle East since 9/11, particularly the way interactions between US personnel and local leaders (governmental and military) impact the development of governance and security structures.

Joe served as a paratrooper in US Army’s 3/509th Parachute Infantry Regiment as was deployed to Afghanistan from 2011-2012.

Major Walter “Rick” F. Landgraf III is an active duty U.S. Army officer currently serving as a research fellow at the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, CA.

He earned a BA in Political Science from McDaniel College in 2003, an MPIA from Virginia Tech in 2010, and an MS in Strategic Intelligence from the National Intelligence University in 2013.

He has 16 years of experience in intelligence analysis, multi-discipline intelligence collection management, and collection operations. Rick has served overseas tours in Afghanistan, Belgium, Georgia, Iraq, and the United Kingdom.

His dissertation research focuses on how NATO interprets security challenges associated with its functional and territorial expansion in Eastern Europe and former-Soviet republics.

Julian is a part-time student in Virginia Tech’s Planning, Governance, and Globalization (PGG) doctoral program. His research interest is Arctic region governance and geopolitics.

He earned a M.S. in Strategic Intelligence from the National Intelligence University (2000), a master’s in Political Science from Auburn University at Montgomery (1999), and a bachelor’s in Political Science from the University of Nebraska at Omaha (1997).

Julian is an Assistant Professor for Intelligence Studies at the National Intelligence University. He retired from the U.S. Air Force after more than 21 years on active duty and was deployed to Iraq in 2005.

Gela holds a BA in international Relations and an MA degrees from Tbilisi State University. On a graduate level, he narrowed his focus on the politics of South Caucasus (2013). He also holds a MA degree in European Studies from Maastricht University (2012).

His professional background includes internships at the Embassy of Georgia to Hungary, Center for EU Enlargement Studies, and the Hungarian Institute of International Affairs (all in Budapest) and research assistantships at Center for European Policy Studies, and European Stability Initiative (both in Brussels). He is interested in how sub-state actors, such as cities and regions, influence international politics.

In terms of geographic regions, he is interested in the EU, particularly its foreign and security policy, Russia, and the countries in their shared neighborhood.

Gabriel is the US Representative of Mitvim – the Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies. O

riginally from the United State, Gabriel moved to the Middle East after completing his Bachelor of Arts in History at The Ohio State University. He also holds an Master of Arts in Political Science from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Gabriel’s interests include regionalism, majority-minority politics, and the formation of state foreign policy. His dissertation explores the relationship between energy policy and foreign policy in Israel and the Eastern Mediterranean.

Eric serves as Executive Vice President for Chemonics International, a leading global development firm promoting meaningful change around the world to help people live healthier, more productive, and independent lives.

During his career he has worked in development policy and program implementation in governance, urban development, conflict, food security, energy, health, education, environment, gender, and economic growth in more than 40 countries in the Middle East, Asia, Europe, Africa, and Latin America and lived in Egypt and Kosovo. His research focuses on the dynamics shaping global development policy and practice.

Eric holds an M.A. (1993) and B.A. (1992), both in international affairs from Florida State University.

Jeanette received an undergraduate degree from the University of Richmond and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Her research interests focus on understanding how information and communication technologies (ICTs) impact and empower informal networks as tools for re-shaping economies, polities, and international relations. She has worked as a contractor serving the Department of Defense.

Moon Yousif Sulfab holds a B.S (1999) and MS (2007) in Information Systems Management from Marymount University School; a Master of Arts (2014) in National Security Studies with a concentration in Cyber Security Policy from the American Military University, and two graduate Certificates from Air Command Staff College (2013), and US Army War College (2015).

Currently, Moon is the Administrator of Information Technology for the Office of the Senate Majority Leader. He is currently pursuing his PhD at University of Virginia Tech, School of Public and International Affairs. His research interests include national and defense strategy in Cyber Security in the Middle East, and the impact of Cyber conflict and information warfare on the future of politics.

GIA Alumni

Master’s of Public and International Affairs

I got my undergraduate degree from Virginia Tech in 2015 studying Political Science with a focus in National Security. I then became one of the first students to attend the University of Kent in Brussels under Virginia Tech’s new Two Capitals, Two Master’s program. I returned from Belgium, completing my first degree with the submission of my Dissertation on International Democracy Promotion. I am now completing the second part of the Two Capitals Program, attending Virginia Tech in Alexandria and planning to finish my MPIA in May of 2017. My research interests include the Security Studies and the Middle East as well as more practical concepts such as human rights and refugee law, refugee resettlement and asylum procedures and humanitarian action.
I received my Bachelor of Law degree from the Federal University of Paraná, in Curitiba, Brazil, and practiced at an international arbitration and contracts law firm. I received my LL.M from Georgetown University Law Center in 2016, focusing on international environmental law. I worked as an intern at the Georgetown Climate Center, The Nature Conservancy and the Humane Society of the United States. My research interests are on climate change policy and international development, especially within small island developing states.
For me, the MPIA program was a win-win-win. I completed the program at Virginia Tech’s Alexandria location. The program provided highly relevant content that offered both a foundation in theory and marketable skills in my field. The high caliber of both the faculty and my fellow students ensured relevant and real-world learning — and those relationships continue to have an important and lasting impact on my life. Career-wise, since the completion of the VT MPIA program, both my title and compensation have doubled.
I appreciate the breadth and currency that the MPIA program offered in areas ranging from governance and global security to geopolitics and political economy. As someone who took on a new career opportunity in homeland security while completing the program, having previously worked in public diplomacy, I can say that the knowledge I gained has been extremely applicable to both fields. I enjoyed studying alongside other government, military, and industry professionals, as well as the added benefits of Metro-accessible evening classes and in-state tuition.
My desire was to attend a graduate program filled with students who have real-world experience in public policy, international affairs, and conflict resolution. The Virginia Tech MPIA program in the National Capital Region provided me with this opportunity. During my time in the program, I participated in thoughtful and enlightening discussions in a classroom setting with my professors, members of the military, mid and senior-level federal and state employees, and members of private industry. Through this interaction, I was able to apply real-life lessons to theoretical topics assigned by the MPIA faculty. As a result, I have been able to build a toolkit of successful examples to utilize in my professional life that augment critical thinking and writing skills honed through coursework.
The MPIA program at Virginia Tech in Alexandria provided me with the critical, analytical, and communication skills necessary to excel as a government public affairs professional at various locations in the United States and around the world. In addition to the hard-earned benefits of the program’s academic rigor, I will always be grateful for the outstanding networking opportunities and real-world perspectives shared by the professors and students from diverse backgrounds in academia, the military, government, and civil society.
Mike graduated with an MPIA in 2015 with a focus in Governance and Global Security. Mike has works as a Major, Intelligence Offier and Foreign Area Officer specializing in the Middle East for the United States Marine Corps. In the past he worked as a Government Civilian at the Department of Defense. About his Experience Mike says: “My SPIA education made me increasingly competitive for more senior Department of Defense positions within both the military and civilian sectors, and complemented my current trajectory within the foreign policy/defense/international affairs realm. Furthermore, the degree and expertise garnered through the program enabled eligibility for the Marine Corps Foreign Area Officer program. Throughout my tenure at VT, I was consistently impressed by the caliber of instruction offered through this program which is a testament to the professionalism and quality of the university staff. This program substantially enhanced my critical thinking skills and broadened my aperture beyond exclusive security themes, incorporating economic, political, and international governance tenets. In light of my immensely positive experience in this program, I hope to continue my studies at VT in pursuit of a PhD.”
The Virginia Tech Master’s in Public and International Affairs (MPIA) program in Old Town Alexandria provided the flexibility I needed to complete my advanced degree. As a busy professional, this program had the capacity to absorb the demands of my schedule. There were moments when I struggled with the program, but they were short-lived, thanks to the willingness of my professors to accommodate one on one discussions, which furthered my understanding of the subject matter and alleviated my concerns. The program enhanced my critical analysis skills and increased my capacity to apply viable research methods to problem solving, which are invaluable assets in any profession. I would recommend this program to anyone, seeking to balance family and work responsibilities while furthering his or her education.
Katharine is the International Accounts Specialist at ThinkFun, working to empower minds through play across the globe! Previously, she served as a Senior Program Coordinator at the Federal Judicial Center, an independent agency in the judicial branch, developing educational and training programs for the federal judiciary. Katharine served two appointments at the Supreme Court of the United States, including Aide to Chambers for Justice Elena Kagan. She graduated from Virginia Tech in 2014 with a Master of Arts in Public and International Affairs and William & Mary in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts in Government and Psychology.

Ph.D. in Public Administration and Planning

Greg earned his PGG degree in 2018. Greg’s research interests are nationalism studies, ethnic conflict and civil war, and Middle Eastern Christian communities. His doctoral dissertation examines how Assyrian-Christian communities in Iraq have responded to ISIL and the breakdown of the state.
Greg worked at Georgetown University’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, and Penn State University’s Center for Network-Centric Cognition and Information Fusion. He was also an instructor in the Department of Political Science at Susquehanna University, teaching classes on world affairs and comparative domestic politics.

Greg has a B.A., B.S., and M.A from Penn State University.

Carl earned his PGG degree in 2018. His research focus is on national security and the social construction of threat perception. He is currently writing his dissertation on the evolution of American threat narratives around China.
Formerly an American military officer with experience in the intelligence community, he currently works in the financial industry.

Carl holds a Bachelor of Science in International Relations from West Point and a Master in Public Policy in International Security and Political Economy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

SONYA FINLEYAssistant Professor at the Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy
Dr. Sonya Finley earned her PhD in PGG in 2016. She is now a Professor of Strategy at the National War College, National Defense University and an Adjunct Assistant Professor for the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University. A retired Army officer with more than 26 years of experience, she served as a strategist in overseas assignments in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, and as an educator while assigned to The Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy and in the Department of Social Sciences at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Dr. Finley’s research and teaching interests include national security and defense strategy, public diplomacy and strategic communication.
Dallas Shaw’s research interests include third party interventions in intrastate conflict, the impacts of 2nd battlefield foreign fighters, and understanding how organizations innovate and adapt. He is currently working on developing theories of symbiotic adaptation and artificial adaptation as causal mechanisms to explain how intervening military and civilian representatives develop governance in weak, failed, or failing states.

He is also a recently retired Marine Corps officer who has served 27 years in conventional and special operations units and led Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan. He currently teaches expeditionary warfare to Marine Corps captains and international officers with the Marine Corps University.

When he is not working or studying he spends copious amounts of time adoring his wife Jeannette, visiting his son Hithem in North Carolina, wrestling with his youngest son Sami, teaching professional ethics courses, or fellowshipping with friends from church.

David graduated from the PGG program in 2014, having written a thesis on “A Muslim-led Strategy for Countering Violent Extremism”, which explored national security discourse as a platform for politics. He is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy (1982), and earned a Masters in Resource and Security Strategy from the National Defense University (2005). Since 2008, David has led courses and mentored theses on security issues emerging in Islamic communities, and especially in the broader Middle East, at the National Intelligence University, Washington DC. In 2016, he co-founded and is the co-editor of the Journal of Strategic Intelligence. Prior to that, David was Assistant Professor of National Security Studies at the Eisenhower School of the National Defense University. In a former career, Captain Belt served twenty-six years in the Navy’s Special Operations Officer community, with a total of nine years in command, both afloat and ashore.
Heba earned her doctorate from Virginia Tech (VT) School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) and an MA in International Relations from Georgetown University. Heba is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at George Mason University’s The Schar School of Policy and Government and an adjunct faculty at Georgetown University’s Master’s Degree Program at the Center for Democracy and Civil Society. She teaches courses on governments and politics of the Middle East and North Africa, Islam and politics, international relations theory, Israeli-Palestinian politics, and role of civil society in democratization. Dr. El-Shazli has 28 years of professional work experience in civic and union organizing, institution building, leadership skills training, labor education and training methodologies, political advocacy, and development. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Her research interests include: civil society and social movements; challenges of democratization and political transition in the Middle East and North Africa, Islam and politics, and the political role of the labor movement.
Adis graduated from the PGG program in 2014. He is currently an Assistant Professor at the Department of International Relations and European Studies of International Burch University in Sarajevo, Bosnia. Adis wrote his dissertation on “Mobilizing for Ethnic Violence? Ethno-national Political Parties and the Dynamics of Ethno-politicization”, which won an Outstanding Dissertation Award at Virginia Tech. He earned his MA Degree in Political Science from Virginia Tech, while his BA is from Michigan State University. Adis produced several articles in notable academic journals that examined the mobilizing power of ethno-nationalist discourses in both prewar and postwar Bosnia-Herzegovina. His ongoing research examines nationalist mobilizations in the Balkans and the Caucuses.
Arnie works for Booz Allen Hamilton as an analyst in the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy. He retired from the U.S. Army in 2005 after 25 years of of service, having completed his last major assignment in Afghanistan. In May of 2016, defended his dissertation title on “Changing Patterns of Regionalism and Security in the Wider Black Sea Area: The Transformative Impact of Energy.” Arnie’s research interests are energy geopolitics and the confluence of the cyber and energy fields, particularly regarding the vulnerability of energy infrastructure.
Bryan earned his B.S. in the American Legal System from the US Academy (1998) and a M.S. in International Relations from Troy University (2006). He has concluded his Ph.D. in Planning, Governance, and Globalization in 2016. His research examined how we conceptualize the strategy making process and account for geostrategic change by exploring the decisions to employ counterinsurgency doctrine to failing war efforts in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. As a consultant at a not-for-profit organization, Bryan supports the Counterterrorism Partnerships Directorate within the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Combating Terrorism. In that capacity, he works with the US European Command CT Partnerships portfolio and supports the Counterterrorism Partnerships Fund.

Bryan’s book, Essence of Desperation: Counterinsurgency Doctrine as the Solution to War-Fighting Failures was published by Lexingtom Books in 2018.

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