Many thanks for considering the National Security Studies Program (NSSP), as well as residential housing at our Student Center on Capitol Hill. The Student Center is located just 12 blocks from the United States Capitol, and one block from the Metro subway system. We conduct a Spring, Fall and Summer Semester, and dozens of students also serve as non-residential interns.
The NSSP involves a variety of academic courses, and it has a long and distinguished history. The key to its success is that it combines academics with valuable work experience. The faculty and guest lecturers include many important decision makers, and I hope this blog will help you decide if the program is right for you.
It has often been said that Washington, D.C. is the most important and powerful city in the world. We are especially interested in students who want to learn how this power is used in the area of national security, foreign policy, and international trade, as well as in initiatives to foster democracy, human rights and political and economic freedom.
We encourage applicants with a keen interest in the development and implementation of public policy, those who desire a career in public service, and others who just want to contribute back to society in a meaningful manner.
You will soon be making important decisions regarding a future career path, and we hope the NSSP will open new possibilities for you to explore. The financial benefits offered by the private sector should never be discounted, but many people involved in public policy have jobs they truly enjoy, and at the same time they are fostering a better world one step at a time.
We always emphasize that one person can make a profound difference if they are persistent and knowledgeable. The NSSP‘s upper echelon are the students who are staying with us as Residential Associates and are also enrolled in a university program.
For undergraduates there are the specific courses offered by Georgetown, American, Catholic, George Washington and the University of Maryland. We strongly encourage participation by students enrolled in the various Washington semester programs, as well as the John Engalitcheff Institute on Comparative Political and Economic Systems at Georgetown University.
John Engaliticheff served on the ASC Board of Directors for 22 years, and as far as we know, he is the only person to have died in Oval Office of The White House. (He was participating in a 1987 ASCF meeting with President Reagan.) For graduate students there are two M.A. programs offered by the Institute of World Politics (IWP) where transferable academic credit is received from Boston University.
Many students are only interested in an internship, and they have no desire to participate in the NSSP courses. An intern can stay at the Student Center without enrolling in the NSSP.
For students coming to the Washington, D.C. area to participate in an internship, we strongly encourage you to first determine the number of credits you will receive from your college or university. This is especially important because while we provide housing, a variety of activities and a meal plan, the internships are not paid.
I have been associated with the NSSP for over 20 years. From personal experience I know the founders, benefactors and strategists are truly unique. The group includes conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats, but they are always able to work together when America‘s foreign policy is at issue. Many of the founders came together in an informal manner immediately prior to World War II to oppose isolationism. They were also vehemently opposed to Nazism, Fascism, Communism and any other form of totalitarianism.
The United States confronted major challenges in the aftermath of the WW II, and the founders soon realized it would be necessary to continue working together throughout the Cold War era. For almost six decades the founders, benefactors and strategists addressed the causes and concerns most people wanted to ignore.
This struggle was often lonely, but it was always necessary. What they accomplished is best described by the late Governor Adlai E. Stevenson (D-IL) who said “All progress has resulted from people who took unpopular positions.“
The founders would have preferred to devote themselves to lucrative private sector activities, but they knew the importance of public service. The mission they outlined involves sustaining and exporting the ideals of the United States: At home, we emphasize that American citizenship is a gift and a duty. To foster America‘s goals abroad requires bipartisan United States leadership, as well as military, economic, diplomatic and moral strength. We also believe in “mobilizing for peace“ which means staying engaged after a conflict is over.
We want the U.S. flag to stand not only for America‘s power, but also for its ideals. That is why we emphasize the United States is not merely a country, but a cause and a principle. These universal goals were advocated by our founding fathers, peace, justice, democracy, human rights as well as political and economic freedom. They are as relevant today as they were in 1776.
Despite the progress which has been made in recent years, the world is still a dangerous place and freedom is still denied to many. The United States has active enemies and America‘s opponents are both clever and determined. International terrorism continues to be a major problem and civil war is still rampant throughout the world.
In 2008, according to the U.S. Institute of Peace, 95 ethnic groups were involved in violent conflicts. In the past decade wars have killed more than five million people. Two million of the victims were children and another six million were maimed. This has resulted in 21.5 million refugees, and 24,000 of them die of hunger and disease every day.
A global leadership role is also necessary because a billion people go to bed hungry every night. The lack of health care means one woman dies every minute in childbirth. There are 100 million children today who have no access to any school system. A billion and a half people never get a clean glass of water, and exploding populations mean these problems are going to get a lot worse.
For billions, especially in Africa and the Islamic world, poverty is spreading, and per capita income is falling. In Malawi, thousands of teachers die each year from AIDS, and life expectancy has fallen to only 38 years. In Sierra Leone, nearly one-third of all babies born today will not reach the age of five. In Sudan, only half the children attend school.
The United States is the world‘s only superpower, but our mission has nothing to do with promoting global dominance. The semester you spend with us will hopefully increase your commitment to public service, as well as your desire to advance programs for peace and freedom.
P.S. We are often contacted by people who want to help us but they are not students; they have no need for academic credit, and they have no desire to relocate to the Washington, D.C area. Many of these volunteers are middle aged or senior citizens. We definitely need and want your help. In the Information Age anyone with access to the Internet can be in instant contact with us. Tell us about your skills and desires and we will design a program just for you.