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“The purpose of planning policy is to fuse thought with action.” Zbigniew Brzezinski

Carnegie-Maxwell Policy Planning Lab

European Union and Ukraine flags

The Experience

The Public Policy Lab (PPL) is a six-month-long program for emerging leaders in foreign affairs. Over the course of the lab program, participants will participate in two weekend-long, in-person workshops in which they will tackle a policy planning challenge in a foresight and planning exercise.

During the workshops, the team will analyze contemporary regional and functional issues, identify policy gaps and faults, and plan and formulate policy to address these issues. During the workshop, participants will cultivate relationships with academic issue experts, faculty and peers that will last throughout their careers.

Between the two in-person workshops, participants will complete an online seminar focused on developing the management and leadership skills they will need as they move into the higher echelons of U.S. policy formulation. Participants will learn how to build a team, develop a vision for their team, provide constructive feedback to team members, negotiate in an interagency setting and manage “hot moments.”

The Theme

The theme for the first cohort will be “Postwar: Europe, Ukraine and the Future of European Order.” The first session took place at Syracuse University from April 19-21, 2024. The second session will be held at the University’s Minnowbrook Lodge in the Adirondacks from Aug. 16-19, 2024.

As we approach the two-year mark of Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, the conflict looks to stretch far into the future without resolution. Ukraine’s success to date is indisputable. Kyiv held off a full-scale invasion of the entire country in February 2022, and, in the months since, Ukraine has undertaken both a massive military transformation and successfully waged a defensive war against the Kremlin.

While those who favor liberty and democracy wish to see a total Ukrainian victory that recaptures all Russian occupied land, the feasibility of this goal is debatable. How long can Ukraine, a country of 40 million citizens, continue to wage attritional war against Russia, a country of 130 million people? How long will the U.S. remain committed to Ukraine “winning” the war, especially as the U.S. presidential election heats up? What does Europe need to do to prepare and sustain Ukraine for a long-term conflict against Russia? Is economic rehabilitation and development, to facilitate Ukraine’s integration into the EU, possible alongside attritional war? What needs to be done in the near and medium term to advance this goal?

The Process

Early career foreign policy professionals may apply directly to the program. Alternatively, if you are a senior policymaker familiar with a candidate you believe would benefit from the program, you can nominate an individual to apply. Travel and accommodation for all PPL participants is covered by the project.

To Apply

If you are an emerging leader, send your CV and a one- or two-page cover letter to apply using the form on our website.

Your application will also need one letter of recommendation. Please ask your reference to use the form on our website to submit their letter.

To Nominate

If you are a senior leader, we invite you to nominate an emerging leader for participation in the program. Please use the form on our website to submit your nomination.


    Contact the Carnegie-Maxwell Policy Planning Lab director, Michael J. Williams at

    Stephen Del Rosso

    “We hope that our Bridging the Gap program provides an exemplar for leaders, organizations and grantmakers in fields beyond international relations as they work to advance institutional change and introduce policy-relevant ideas, reforms and research to help solve problems across disciplines and around the world.”

    Stephen Del Rosso

    Senior Program Director, International Peace and Security, Carnegie Corporation of New York

    Carnegie's Bridging the Gap Project

    Bridging the Gap Funded Programs

    Carnegie-Maxwell Policy Planning Lab
    346 Eggers Hall