Question: Why is it important for this degree to focus on character-driven leadership?

Freakley: The importance of this degree, focusing on character-driven leadership is that we see a lack of leadership globally, including in the United States. Character-driven leadership is defined as the commitment to do the right thing, in the right way for the right reasons. Our degree ensures that the student understands the key elements of this principled form of leadership and knows how to apply it to an international setting. More than ever, our country and others in the international community need leaders who are globally literate and who embrace leadership driven by character. Our societies are seriously challenged in politics, national security, in our economies and by massive global threats ranging from a deadly pandemic to the very future of our global environment. Our degree prepares students with the knowledge, training, and the tools to lead positive change in this complex and turbulent reality.

Q: Why are the Washington, D.C., weeks important and what do the students get from it?

Polt: We leverage a common, shared, in-person experience in Washington, D.C., to reinforce our curriculum and provide intensive interactive sessions to deepen the learning experience for the student. At various sites in D.C., meticulously tailored leadership training modules will explore values, ethics and character-driven leadership. Students will be on the scene at the ASU’s Barrett and O’Connor Center a few blocks from the White House to interact with top foreign policy leaders and experts and to observe firsthand the national policy debates on international issues. Speakers will share their experiences and add unique insights and perspectives on current international events and policies.

In the final week in Washington, D.C., I will guide the students’ completion of their capstone project. During the MA IAL program, students will receive mentoring, career counseling and instruction from other experts with real world experience, U.S. ambassadors and U.S. military general officers who teach in the program.

Q: How might this program, and the faculty that lead it, help advance the careers of its graduates?

O’Donnell: Our faculty and leaders will make extra efforts to mentor and help students pursue follow-on fellowships, degree programs and jobs, including after completion of the MA IAL.

For our previous interns and students in ASU undergraduate programs, we have written numerous recommendation letters and made contacts that resulted in a number of ASU graduates finding their first professional position or career, such as the U.S. foreign service, U.S. military, U.S. civil service in federal foreign affairs agencies as program managers and policy analysts, NGOs and on U.S. congressional staff.  

Students in this hybrid online MA program will be offered the opportunity to connect individually with faculty to discuss foreign policy and international relations careers and to get support for the applications for jobs, fellowships and other mentoring as needed. Our alumni network already developing for ASU undergraduates will be supplemented by MA graduating cohorts which will expand the rich network of our faculty and ASU alumni and opportunities for professional growth and careers.

Learn more about the degree or request information

Matt Oxford

Manager of marketing and communications, School of Politics and Global Studies