Policy in Action

By University of Washington staff

Through the Task Force program, students in the Jackson School of International Studies tackle critical policy challenges — and set their career paths in motion.

A country is in the midst of a brutal conflict.

The capital city has become a battlefield, and residents are caught in the chaos. Food is scarce, and every bed in the understaffed hospital is full. Public utilities were cut off months ago, so there’s no running water, electricity or garbage collection.

As a foreign aid worker, you’re trying to get basic supplies to civilians. It’s work that involves more than simple logistics: Will you need armed protection to reach people safely? If you do, will some groups see you as a threat? And should you even be doing this if the government in power doesn’t want your country’s help?

At the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, students grapple with questions like these as part of the Donald C. Hellmann Task Force Program. By giving undergraduates the chance to address real-world crises, Task Force — the capstone project for all international studies majors — immerses them in culture, politics, economics and human rights.

It has also created a pipeline for the next generation of global leaders, which is more crucial now than ever. Read More