IR Policy Task Force

The International Relations Policy Task Force invites Schar School sophomore, junior- and senior-year students to engage deeply with pressing global challenges. Over the course of the year, students will pursue individual research on a topic of interest, network with subject area experts, and work collaboratively to propose policy solutions.

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Tackle Pressing International Challenges

Spring Break Study Abroad: Ciudad Juárez and El Paso (1 Credit)

Students will explore the challenges and opportunities of trade, trafficking, and immigration while immersing themselves in the unique culture of the border cities of El Paso, TX and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Students will visit natural, historical, and political landmarks integral to the interconnected communities of El Paso and Ciudad Juarez. Students will also meet with representatives of governmental and non-governmental organizations, collaborate with faculty and students from institutions in Ciudad Juarez, and meet with local community members and activists working collaboratively on both sides of the Mexico-US border. The spring break study abroad trip is optional and is not a requirement for enrollment in the fall and spring 6-credit IRTF sequence.

Three IR Policy Task Force students pose for a photo on white sand dunes while on the spring break study abroad trip to Ciudad Juárez and El Paso.

Schar School learning communities students help welcome Australia’s Prime Minister to the White House.

Become a Policy Expert

A learning community open to sophomores, juniors and seniors, the International Relations Policy Task Force teaches students how to draft compelling policy reports appropriate for different audiences while earning course credit. With this specialized training, students will gain a comprehensive understanding of different policy areas and develop valuable skills to help them secure future employment—and be highly effective in their chosen role. 

“By joining the IR Task Force learning community, I have gained the research fundamentals that I otherwise would not have gained at an undergraduate level for policy research and design. IR Task Force has given me an in-depth perspective of what it looks like to be a young social scientist in a growing political state. By engaging with real-life case studies, current international conflicts, and peers who share the same passions as mine, I’m confident I can take all the tools that I have learned in this learning community towards my research goals and later professional life”


Rubbiya Azhar, IRTF '23

Rubbiya Azhar

Gain Critical Skills—And Class Credit

Fall Semester GOVT 399: Disinformation’s Global and Local Effects on Politics and Culture (3 credits)
Students will be introduced to the methodology of Case Study Analysis (CSA) and how CSA informs policy making, while diving deep into successful and flawed policy responses.

Spring Semester GOVT 444: Policy Task Force (3 credits)
Students will individually draft reports on specific sub-areas relevant to each policy area and program, and draft a policy report that will be delivered to the appropriate institutions, organizations, and parties.

IR Task Force students posing with a statue of John F. Kennedy at the Kennedy Center.
IR Policy Task Force students climbing a hill.

Fulfill Requirements for Your Degree

The IR Task Force fulfills requirements in the following concentrations:  

  • Government and International Politics

    • Comparative Politics
    • International Relations
    • Political Analysis
    • Public Policy and Administration  
  • Public Administration

    • Economic Policy Analysis
    • Public Policy 

A Memorable Year

Past events have included:

  • The opportunity to present individual research at the URAP Fair and Internship Expo
  • In-class guest speakers such as former White House Daily Briefer Beth Sanner, Ambassador Richard Kauzlarich, and Vice President for Immigration Policy and Campaigns Andrea Flores
  • Field trips to the Kennedy Center, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Mexican Geniuses Exhibition in Washington, D.C. 
An IR Policy Task Force student with glasses in a black suit and white shirt standing in front of a poster on the Pathways to Prevention of Gun Violence.

Former IR Task Force students presenting their individual policy briefs

Eric McGlinchey standing in front of Van Metre Hall on Mason Square in Arlington, VA.

Meet the International Relations Policy Task Force Director

Professor Eric McGlinchey

For any questions or to learn more, contact: