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May Program


While in Washington during the May intersession term, you may pursue one of the following courses: Current Policy Issues in US-Latin American Relations or Challenges to Crisis and Disaster Management.  These two seminars meet intensively each day, Sunday through Saturday, during the last week of May. Note that professional dress is required for seminars meeting in DC.


Current Policy Issues in US-Latin America Relations

PAI 703 Section M001 

2016 Current Policy Issues in US-Latin America Relations Schedule and Syllabus 

This one-week intensive seminar in Washington provides students with a detailed introduction to the contemporary relationship between the U.S. and Latin America.  The Maymester program offers students the opportunity to discuss current policy issues with current and former practitioners, scholars, and non-governmental organization representatives concentrating on Latin America and it’s relationship with the U.S.  

Students will supplement discussions of current regional affairs with readings on the historical context of the relationship.  The seminar will challenge common approaches and assumptions, address themes and events currently in the news, and explore possible responses to major social and political changes.

The seminar will provide participants context and substance from which to draw to answer questions about the current and historical relationship between the U.S. and Latin America; is U.S. policy “interventionist” or “neglectful?”  How is the so-called Latin American "new left" different from the old?  Is “participatory democracy” a legitimate alternative to representative democracy?”  How do U.S. narcotics, terrorism, and immigration policies shape relations with Mexico and Latin America’s perception of the U.S.?  Will normalization with Cuba have any real impact?  Why did the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas and the “Washington Consensus” fall out of favor?  Do the problems in Venezuela and Brazil, and the election of a center-right government in Argentina, indicate a regional political shift or merely local politics as usual?  What are the OAS, ALBA, UNASUR, and CELAC, and how do they fit together in regional integration efforts?  Can the region escape the boom-and-bust effects of commodity-based economies?

The one-week seminar in Washington, DC will begin with an introductory class in April in Syracuse, at which students will be introduced to the region through discussion and readings, and receive the course syllabus and reading requirements.

    Introductory seminar in Syracuse - Date TBA
    Seminar in DC: May 20-26, 2018

Instructor Philip French teaches this course

Challenges to Crisis and Disaster Management

PAI 700 / ECS 600

2017 Challenges to Crisis and Disaster Management Schedule and Syllabus

There is no place on earth immune from the effects of crises and disasters.  Leaders around the world struggle to protect their populations in an uncertain time of weather events, terrorism, and political instability.  Such events can emerge within any domain, have human and/or natural origins, and be of variable duration and scope.   How we anticipate, respond, and learn from crises and disasters often makes the difference between catastrophe and resilience.

This course examines the struggles that policymakers, disaster managers, and citizens face during crisis and disaster situations.  It identifies the reasons why these events are so difficult to plan for and to manage.  It also explores best (and worst) practices in forecasting, preparing for, managing, communicating, and learning from crises.  The course is held in Washington, DC in order to facilitate students interacting with persons experienced in managing crises and disasters at the local, national, and international levels and in government as well as intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations.  In the course students will cover such topics as understanding risk, leadership and decision making, vulnerability and resilience, preparedness and mitigation, and how institutions respond.  Students will apply what they are learning to a case study of a crisis/disaster, engage in simulation exercises, and visit where such management occurs.

Introductory seminar in Syracuse - Date TBA
Seminar in DC: May 20-26, 2018 

Professor Margaret Hermann and Randall Griffin instruct this course.