The Jackson Foundation has a long and proud history tied to the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies. Our support for undergraduate and graduate student programming, faculty positions, conferences, visiting lecturers, and research has been at the core of the Foundation’s work since its inception. The School was close to Senator Jackson’s heart, as it promotes new generations of leaders who will help our country understand the world and take part in America’s foreign policy establishment.
The School is always innovating, and we have been supportive in launching many of the new programs developed over the past decades. The Master of Arts in International Studies, or MAAIS, a program created two years ago, is a great example of the reinvention and re-thinking at the School under the leadership of Jackson School director Resat Kasaba. MAAIS is designed to attract early and mid-career professionals from all over the world who have an interest in a 10-month Master’s program that tackles critical global challenges in a pragmatic, policy-oriented manner. Conceived as a way to connect the university community with the broader Puget Sound region – and all the expertise of its business, philanthropic, and policy circles – the program marries lectures, field visits, and group projects with in-depth international affairs education.
Seattle’s location and the excellence of the university draw the dynamic young individuals to this program. The MAAIS Civic Council, created to support the students, consists of corporate, philanthropic, NGO, political and security sector figures from companies and organizations influencing global policy and decision making. Recently I had an opportunity, along with a few other members of the Civic Council, to meet with the new MAAIS students from the 2016-17 class and talk about how we can connect them to the broader community. Once again the students are diverse in every sense of the word – hailing from Afghanistan, China, New England, Hungary, the Pacific Northwest, and Pakistan, among other geographic origins – and representing interests from food security, disability rights, and international trade to journalism, diplomacy and humanitarian development. Several of the students have had extensive careers in the military, and plan to return there once they’ve received their degrees. They are experienced young professionals who hope to gain new skills from the MAAIS program, where they will find exposure to new ideas, technology, and a vibrant Seattle community of entrepreneurs and NGOs.
The Jackson School is already a nationally-recognized leader in international affairs education. This professionally-oriented new degree allows more students to take advantage of all the Jackson School has to offer and then go out and share what they’ve learned with the world. The Foundation is proud to have made another grant of support to this important program just this week.
Read more about the MAAIS program and the wonderful cohort of students engaged at the School this year. And tell young professionals about it as they consider navigating international affairs to move forward in their careers.
Lara Iglitzin, Executive Director