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The Washington Center for

Internships and Academic Seminars

Governors Seminar: A Practitioners
Guide to Public Policy in
Washington, DC
Spring 2014

Peter J. Stephens


INSTRUCTOR: Prof. Peter J. Stephens

INSTRUCTOR CONTACT INFORMATION: 202. 412. 5304 or by email at office hours are available by appointment.

INSTRUCTOR BIOGRAPHY: Peter Stephens is a public policy professional with
over 25 years of experience and is currently Vice President North America, IDE
Group, Washington, DC. IDE Group is an international public policy consulting
company specializing in market-based solutions to public-private partnership
challenges. IDE Group represents both the government and private sector. We design
sustainable solutions to meet the demands of shrinking resources and increasing need
for informed public policy. IDE Group also provides effective advocacy and
representation for its US and international clients.
Before IDE Group, Peter was Executive Vice President for NCCEP. An education
non-profit NCCEP believes that the strength of democracy rests on the education of its
citizens and that public-private partnerships serve as models for a more diverse,
democratic and prosperous society. NCCEP identifies locally effective practices,
programs, strategies, and models that can be adapted to community-based contexts
that build on students educational success. It works with over 1,200 grassroots
educational partners dedicated to the principle that education must relate to workforce
needs in ways that support individuals and their local communities.
Prior to NCCEP, Peter was the Managing Director for Internships at The Washington
Center. Peter introduced market-based management reforms designed to improve
operations and client satisfaction. A key aspect of this is the introduction of an
Ombudsman position for interns. Interns who have concerns and challenges that are
preventing them from meeting their professional goals are given an opportunity to
meet with TWC staff.

Peter cultivated an increasingly large international constituency of senior policy
practitioners, universities and governments, which have joined The Washington
Center's flagship North American Advanced Leadership Training NAFTA/Americas
program. Tasked with training the next generation of world leaders, Peter's innovative
methods have placed young professionals in change-driving positions in key posts
across the public policy field. According to Peter, the most important aspect of what
The Washington Center does is to provide access to senior policy-makers here in DC
for outside the beltway people like myself - to help build students careers, form
professional networks, and sharpen their skills and abilities. TWC offers young
professionals the opportunity to change their lives and the training TWC provides is
truly transformational.

Before joining The Washington Center, Peter was Director of Governmental Affairs
for the Council of the Americas. There he served as the U.S. private sector
representative to the Free Trade Area for the Americas, Sustainable Development
Accord and also worked on Trade Promotion Authority, energy/environment, climate
change, drug trafficking & certification and the North American Free Trade
Agreement report card. He enjoyed his job at the Council and the travel to Latin
America, working the Hill and advancing trade liberalization. He truly believes that
market-based management, responsible government, and free trade create wealth and
lifts people from poverty.

From 1991-1996, he was a public affairs officer at the Canadian Embassy in
Washington, D.C. He worked on bi-lateral relations, trade, development, and the
environment at the Canadian Embassy, where he first heard of The Washington Center
and the concept of internships.

Peters areas of expertise are trade, international organizations, and North American
political economy. He worked on a PhD at the University of Maine (Canadian Studies)
and he earned his M.A. in international relations from the University of Manitoba; an
M.A.T. in social studies from the University of New Jersey/Escuela Americana, Spain;
and a B.A. in political science from Rutgers University.

CLASS HOURS: Evenings: 18:00 21:00hrs


The first half of the semester examines the most current research on development-
based, public policy: theory, history, organizations and issues. The second half will be
spent addressing topics germane to the research projects for each of you. A case study
or module approach will look at national strategies and government responses to the
pull and push of globalization - how it drives, and informs policy debates will be
examined in the context of specific countries. The United States, Mexico and other
American nations will be studied. We will also look at larger policy issues in the
Americas, specifically relations with global state, corporate, and civil society actors.

To ensure this, we will divide-up into working groups. Each working group will
choose a captain. The captain is responsible for coordinating the working groups
weekly review and discussion of the readings. Towards the middle of the semester
each working group will report on the weeks readings to the class:

1. Each group is to present the main ideas found in the articles assigned to
them, and facilitate discussion of the main themes, which they select. The
presentations are to capture the main themes of the articles, and facilitate
a discussion of those themes

2. No individual presentation may exceed five minutes. No single member
of the group may speak for more than five minutes. Time will be
monitored, and the rules gently enforced.

3. The presentations are not to be summaries of the articles we will all
have done the reading, and we will all know what the articles say. Tell us
what you think, your informed opinion: the good, the bad and the ugly.

4. The working groups are free to criticize the readings, applaud the
readings, present ideas from outside readings, and, most important of all,
measure the readings by the standard of common sense.

5. Substantiate what you say: the class will be encouraged to interrupt the
presentations with questions, and your ability to answer those questions
will figure in your grade.

6. To this effect, each group must include a question period of at least five
minutes after its presentation.

The midterm will be a written and oral exam. The written exam requires students to
prepare, in their assigned Working Groups a written summary and analysis of the
exam topics. For the oral exam component, the students will pick a topic at random
and give a five-minute information briefing. The terms are provided two-weeks prior
to the midterm and each student is responsible for having a working knowledge of
each topic. The topics are taken from the readings, lectures and class discussion.

Oral Exam format: individually, each team member selects a term, at random, reads it
to the judges, and then has two minutes to prepare (no notes). You then have five
minutes to define, provide examples, put into context and spin your way to success.
The grades are Pass, Fail and Exceptional (AKA excellent). Any contestant who
receives a grade below Pass is required to redeem him or herself by writing a one-page
response to their missed question.

The final exam is a brief, no more than two-page, informational memo. The goal is to
write a short and tight brief that provides analysis of an article, white paper, speech or
editorial. Two pages maximum of tight, clear and cogent argument per question,
bearing in mind the overall discussion in class of the benefits of strong institutions,
rules and discipline, transparency and public good. Use work-related examples,
TWCs Monday programming, course discussions and readings to guide and inform
your response. The exam questions are provided one-week prior and the exam is due
the following week please, no drama.


This course will introduce you to the Washington, DC, public policy community who
work in the public policy process. What is the political/business culture here in DC
and how does it operate? You will learn about the actors, organizations, issues, and the
politics involved in the public policy process in DC. The DC public policy community
represents actors and interests from across the US and internationally. We will
examine the on-going factors/actors that impact the creation of public policy in
Washington, and we will examine its impact both in the US and internationally.

Current thought defines public policy as an attempt by the government to address a
public issue. The government, whether it is city, state, or federal, develops public
policy in terms of laws, regulations, decisions, and actions. There are three parts to
public policy-making: problems, actors and the policy. The problem is the issue that
needs to be addressed. The actor is the individual or group that is influential in
forming a plan to address the problem in question. Policy is the finalized course of
action decided upon by the government. In most cases, policies are widely open to
interpretation and influence by non-governmental actors, including those in the private
sector. Mass media, cultural icons, and the growing international community, also
influence public policy, especially in the US.

The rational model for the public policy-making process can be divided into three
parts: agenda setting, option-formulation, and implementation. Within the agenda-
setting stage, the agencies and government officials meet to discuss the problem at
hand. In the second stage, option-formulation, alternative solutions are considered and
final decisions are made regarding the best policy. Consequently, the new policy is
implemented in the final stage. Implied, although not necessarily delivered, within this
model is the fact that the needs of the society are a priority for the actors involved in
the policy-making process. Also, it is believed, again optimistically, that the
government will follow through on all decisions made by the final policy.
In order to address your research project we will look at specific issues in the context
of the public policy process: international relations: regionally and globally, trade and
trade agreements (NAFTA/TPP/TTIP), energy production, environmental policy,
competition policy, development, immigration, labour, infrastructure: physical and
social, public education, health care, rule of law/civil liberties, security and smart
borders, drugs, crime and corruption, and terrorism.

The guiding principal and working concept that will inform our discussion is that
market-based, open democratic societies with liberalized trade and economic policies
(entrepreneurial culture); strong and responsive institutions are essential to the
successful future of the people of the Americas. We will examine the policy initiatives
of President Obamas administration, and study their impact on the Americas and
internationally. Specifically, what is the potential impact on Mexicos public policy
goals? We will also look at current economic/financial conditions, their origins and
possible outcomes in terms of the Americas and globally. Washington, DC has a rich
variety of public policy outlets: embassies, think tanks, associations, US government
agencies, international financial institutions, world-class universities, the media, and
the Hill. Our discussions will be informed by the outreach, advocacy and
representation these groups provide on the scope and substance of the policy process.
Again, this course is designed to reinforce, provide depth and background to the
overall TWC professional training experience. The demand for public-private
partnerships (P3s) to meet the needs of citizens through sound public policy continues
to grow. Prepared and informed professionals are required - this course, in conjunction
with the TWC professional training experience, seeks to round-out your understanding
of how public policy is practiced in Washington, DC. Additionally, this course is
designed to enhance your abilities to be an effective public policy practitioner in your


You will sharpen your ability to speak articulately, write compellingly, and argue
intelligently about the issues surrounding the public policy process. In addition to
thinking about the issues pertinent to public policy from a purely academic perspective
we will examine how practitioners, stakeholders, advocates and opinion-makers
work the issues the decision making process. A key aspect of mastering policy
discussions is to learn the terms of discussion, the schools of thought, leading
institutions, and the actors. For example, we will look at public policy theory,
governmental organizations, and structures that comprise both social and physical
infrastructure. To ensure retention, understanding and to make analytically based
informed decisions the course will focus on the following learning outcomes.


Name Recognition identify the actors, their roles, and what organizations
they represent
Leading Organizations know their names, mission, and what issues they
Agreements understand the agreements that define the rules of US-style
public policy
Ideas explain the leading concepts that inform policy process and decision
Trends predict where we are going and what could happen.

Taken together we will examine broad policy discussions, and then look into specific
opportunities and challenges in public policy.


There are three evaluations during the course. The mid-term, and working group
presentations are oral presentations. The final is a written analytical informational
memo that provides opinion and recommendations. Here is the evaluation rubric that
provides an overview:

For the mid-term, working group presentations and the final exam students will be
evaluated and scored based on the following learning objectives:



Able to clearly
define the
term, and
explain its
Define term,
explain, and
Define term,
explain with
examples, put
into context
with practical
applications or
Define term,
explain with
examples, put
into context
with practical
applications or
and include
related work


Within time
provide a
prcis of
concept or
Expand prcis
to include one
or more
explanation to
include two or
more practical
applications or
with other
and on the job

Final Exam
of the
through clearly
based on
as to the
impact(s) of
proposed ideas
or actions
In addition,
courses of
action based on
analysis with
other materials

* Your evaluation will be based in part on competency in basic written
business English.

Grade Measurement:

Numerical Grade Letter Grade
1 C
2 B
3 A
4 A+

The Washington Center grading matrix uses the following symbols as valid grades:

A+, A, A-
B+, B, B-
C+, C, C-
D+, D, D-
I (Incomplete).

Advisory note:

I will provide coaching and tips on how to organize the materials for the best
understanding and retention. I will also help with the oral presentations in terms of
how to be most effective. If I believe that you may benefit from help from an English
language and writing tutorial, I will suggest materials. Your evaluation will be based
in part on competency in basic business English. I understand that we all come from
outside the Beltway, and I am sensitive and supportive of the insights that we all bring
to the lecture hall; however proper working English is an asset we can all benefit from.


Required Texts: A compilation of all the readings for each week is provided via email
to your personal account. You can down load and print the readings either
individually, or as a working group. Regardless, it is strongly advised that you give
yourself sufficient time to read, reflect upon what you read, and prepare for class.


Working Group 30%

Midterm exam 30%

Final Exam 20%

Class attendance 20%



Weeks 1 and 2
Introduction --- The DC Network: Business Culture, Access, and Influence.
For the first two-weeks we will examine the political/business culture of
Washington, DC. We will look at and explore what makes Washington, DC work.
who is here, where do they come from, and how do they interact? We will look at
etiquette, customs, social mores, expected social behavior, and how professionals
work effectively in DCs policy community. We will also look at the rich mixture
of cultures represented in DC, both from within the US, and internationally. By
whom and how are they represented? Additionally, we will explore how young
professionals from out side the beltway can build effective networks and
develop new professional contacts. Our discussions will be informed by the
economic-political activity of President Obamas Administration, the US election
cycle, and the impact it has on Washington, DCs public policy professionals.

The Business of Etiquette (2012):
Healy, John. A President, Not a Savior. Available at
pub_display.php? pub_id=9615.
The Daily Beast. Obama;s Second Term:
Andrew Selee. US-Mexico Relations. 2013. Woodrow Wilson Institute:
Congressional Research Service. Mexicos Pena Nieto Administration. (2013).

Weeks 3 and 4
Making Federal Policy; the Nuts and Bolts is it Exceptional?
Bowman, Karlyn. Understanding American Exceptionalism. Journal of American
Enterprise Institute. (April 2008).
Crain, Caleb. Tea and Antipathy. The New Yorker. (Dec. 2010).
Kennedy, Paul. Back to Normalcy. The New Republic. (Dec. 2010). How Federal Policy is Made. (2007)
CSIS. Economics as Strategy. (2014):
Ogden, Daniel M. How National Policy is Made. Colorado State Univ. (1977)

Week 5
How the Hill Works: Wading through Step by Step.
The Center on the Study of Congress:
CSPAN Videos. A background on the Hill: http://www.c-
Cockrel, Jerri. Public Policy Making in America. University of Kentucky. (1997).
Bardach, Eugne. A Practical Guide for Policy Analysis. Appendix B, Things
Governments Do. CQ Press. (2005).
Harvard Kennedy School. Working On the Hill:
NAFTA Congressional Testimony:
CSIS: Trade Promotion Authority. (2014) & What is TPA?

Week 6
Lobbying: Advocacy, Representation, Influence, Stakeholders and
Porter, Michael. The Five Forces that Shape Strategy. HBR. (1979)
Tomato Wars. A case study on behalf of the Mexican Tomato Growers
Tomato Wars: The Return of the Losers.
US Commerce Department, International Trade Administration:
National Public Radio:
Fox News Latino:
News Four Tucson:

Week 7
Think Tanks: As American as Apple Pie.
What Should Think Tanks Do? Andrew Selee. Wilson Center:
Think Tank Watch:
Forbes. Thinking about Think Tanks. (2013):
Boston Globe:

Week 8
Innovation Update: Big Data.
Kaplan, Robert D. The Revenge of Geography. Atlantic Monthly. (2009).
Harvard Business Review. How to Make Smart Decisions. (2013).
Harvard Business Review. New Rules of Globalization. (2014).
Luma Institute. The Taxomy of Innovation. (2014).
CSIS: New Models for Commercial Innovation:
Harvard Business Review. New Patterns of Innovation. (2014).

Week 9
Mid-term Exam (Week of 24 March).
In class oral exam/submit written analysis

Week 10
Engaging Citizens in Policy Making (WGI).
OECD. Policy Brief. Engaging Citizens in Policy Making. PUMA Policy Brief, No.10.
July, (2001).
Governing. Making Citizens Part of Government. (2012);
government.html &
The How To Manual:
Harvard Business Review. Emotional Agility. (2013).
Wilson Institute: Political Reform in Mexico. (2013):

Week 11
National Priorities: Where is Mexico Heading? (WGII)
Anthony Wayne, Mexico, the Rising Economic Power in Americas Back Yard:
Stratfor. Mexicos Strategy:
Mexico Rising. Economist:
The Rise of Mexico. Economist:
CSIS. The Costs of Corruption. 2014:

Week 12
Civil Society in the Americas (WGIII).
Casteneda, Jorge and Patricio Navia, New Priorities for Latin America. Current
History, May (2008).
Wilson Center; Civil Society and Government. (2013):
something-old-the-expert-take &
New Democratic Institute. Engaging Mexicans. (2013):
+Ndi-Mexico+%28NDI+-+Mexico%29&utm_content=FeedBurner &
Monitoring the Political Process:

Week 13
China the Celestial Kingdom: Opportunity or Threat?(WGIV).
Congressional Research Service; Chinas Rise/Trade Issues. (2013):
CCTV. China and Mexico:
Inc. Is Mexico the New China? (2013):
Financial Times. A New Dawn for China-Mexico Relations:

Week 14
Energy: Role for Government? (WGV).
Energy's Future in Latin America: Study by Bracewell & Giuliani and Business
News Americas Forecasts Region's Prospects and Challenges,
Congressional Research Service. Mexicos Energy Sector. (2103):
Bloomberg: Energy Reform in Mexico:
PEMEX Blues:

Week 15
Course Review/ Final Exam Prep. (TBA).

Think Thanks/International Organizations Links:

It is critically important that you get plugged-in to the on-going public policy
discussions in DC, across the US and internationally. The easiest and least painful
way is to load your favorite site on your computers home page. Additionally, you
can sign-up, for free, for updates available from the leading DC-based think tanks.
Here are a few recommendations:

Additionally, here is the link to a comprehensive list/description of the top 25
think-tanks. This a great resource, and one that I would suggest you utilize:

Here are some additional websites for leading Latin American public policy data:

Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Trade Directorate:,2688,en_2649_33705_1_1_1_1_1,00.html

Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Statistics:,2643,en_2649_33705_1_119656_1_1_1,00.h
World Bank, Latin American Trade:

World Trade Organization:

Disclaimer Readings, assignments, and due dates may change due to unforeseen circumstances.
Your professor will advise you of any changes and present them to you in writing.


We strongly encourage students to be professional at all times.

The Washington Center actively subscribes to a policy of equal opportunity in education.

Students are expected to attend every class period as scheduled unless there is an unavoidable
circumstance or illness. Classes do not meet on federal holidays; however, your professor may elect to
reschedule the class for another evening to make-up time and work. If you miss two classes, your
instructor will notify your program advisor.

The Washington Center does not tolerate harassment of any nature. Verbal, sexual, ethnic and or racial
harassment in any way of its students, staff, and faculty are prohibited. The Washington Center advises
students to notify their Program Advisor if they believe they may have been exposed to sexual or verbal

Students with Special Needs: If you are a student who is defined under the American with Disabilities
Act and requires assistance or support services, please inform The Washington Center's disability
coordinator, by emailing The coordinator will organize such services as
note takers, readers, sign language interpreters, etc. If you need course adaptations or accommodations
because of a disability, if you have emergency medical information to share, or if you need special
arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment to speak with
disability services upon arrival. Disability services information is available on online at

Plagiarism the use of ideas or writings of another as ones own. Students are expected to
submit original evaluations, essays and papers, and to cite all appropriate sources. If requested,
students should be prepared to provide original notes, previous drafts, and other materials to
indicate original research or intellectual ownership of an assignment.

Cheating the use of notes or books when prohibited, and the assistance of another student
while completing a quiz or an exam, or the providing of information to another individual for
this purpose, unless such collaboration is approved by the course instructor.

Falsification the improper alteration of any record, document or evaluation.

Obstruction behaving in a disruptive manner or participating in activities that interfere with
the educational mission of The Washington Center at lectures, courses, meetings or other
sponsored events.

Absenteeism the chronic failure to attend program components (including internship,
internship courses, or other scheduled activities) without a valid reason or prior notification.

If students have a problem with their instructor, the course material, class format, or other aspects of the
course, they should speak to the instructor first. If that is not possible or they choose otherwise, students
should speak with the course coordinator who will arrange a conference in consultation with the
managing director for academic affairs. If students wish to make a formal complaint, they must submit
it in writing to the course coordinator, who will then advise the vice president for academic affairs.