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Curriculum and Professional Development

Students can follow a curricular path that focuses on inclusive leadership and women's contributions to international relations by enrolling in classes, the SWL Practicum course (full-year commitment), and additional cross-disciplinary courses from a comprehensive list. One of these courses, Women, Peace and Security: Moving Beyond the Myth includes a study trip to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women study trip.

Other course choices may include:

  • Gender Politics in Africa
  • Gender Inequality and Development
  • Multiculturalism and the Human Rights of Women
  • Microeconomics of Development


SAIS Women Lead Practicum Program

The SAIS Women Lead Practicum Program collaborates with government, corporate, and nongovernmental organizations to provide students with professional experience through action oriented research projects that advance women. A team of students works closely with a client to produce a high quality output in the form of a publishable report, policy or program that they present publicly and that the client organization may publish and implement. Students translate their knowledge into practice and contribute to women’s advancement within the organizational culture of the client organization as well as the global communities in which it operates.

Women in the Mexican Plant-Based Industry:
10 Lessons on Empowering Entrepreneurs

A plate of Mexican food
The SAIS team explores a deeply relevant topic not only to the future of Mexico’s economy but to the health of its population and the country’s ability to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Through select case studies and interviews in Mexico, the team identifies and proposes targeted strategies to support the success of women-led businesses in Mexico’s plant-based sector.

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Bettina Boekle

Client: Ananda Asset Management & Advisory, with Advisor Partners: The Inter-American Development Bank and the Aspen Institute of Mexico
Paper: Women in the Mexican Plant-Based Industry: 10 Lessons on Empowering Entrepreneurs
Student blog published by: Inter-American Development Bank

Empowering Female Educators in Uganda

Johns Hopkins SAIS students in Uganda
Political instability in neighboring countries along with relatively friendly refugee policies has made Uganda host to the third largest refugee population in the world. As a result, teachers and schools are overwhelmed by influxes of refugee and internally displaced children. After research and interviews in Uganda, the Johns Hopkins SAIS team provides recommendations to Creative Associates International on how to improve female teacher welfare in primary schools with large refugee student populations.

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Chiedo Nwankwor
Client: Creative Associates International
Paper: Empowering Female Educators in Uganda: Understanding Professional Welfare in Government Primary Schools with Refugee Students

Inclusive Engagement Strategies for the 
Metropolitan Museum of Art

Over the past decade, more than 5.9 million Syrian and Iraqis have been forced to flee their homes, many to the Global West. Such migration has changed the communities that museums in North America and Europe work with, creating new opportunities for gender inclusive, museum-diaspora engagement. After research and interviews in Germany, the Johns Hopkins SAIS team presents innovative engagement strategies to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Ancient Near Eastern Department.

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Sarah Chicone
Client: The Metropolitan Museum of Art Department of 
Ancient Near Eastern Art
Paper: Engaging Middle Eastern Diaspora Communities: 10 Takeaways from Innovative Museum Programs in North America and Europe


Breaking Barriers to Women's Political Leadership: Lessons from the Kingdom of Bahrain

A woman in Bahrain
What progress has been made with regard to women’s political participation in the Kingdom of Bahrain, and what are the legal, cultural, institutional, and other barriers that still exist that can prevent women from participating equally to men? After research and interviews in Bahrain, the SAIS team provides recommendations to the Supreme Council for Women, the country's advisory body to the government on women's issues.

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Kent Davis-Packard
Client: The Supreme Council for Women of the Kingdom of Bahrain
Paper: Breaking Barriers to Women's Political Leadership: Lessons from the Kingdom of Bahrain

In this course, students explore the relationship between women’s status and the political and economic security of nations and the international system. Through gender based analysis, they develop a theoretical and historical understanding of the mechanisms by which women have been excluded from political and economic power structures and the contributions they have made to the transformation of the international order despite this exclusion.

Through case studies, analyses of the historical and cultural framework of the global women’s movement, and guest speakers in the security sector, students gain the tools needed to articulate best practices for creating more peaceful, secure societies and nations to policymakers.

Johns Hopkins SAIS student speaking a conference

Students engage Ambassadors Lana Nusseibeh and Melanne Verveer on women and countering violent extremism at the 61st United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. 

Student Publications from the Course


Group of Students Standing for a photo

Students in the Women, Peace, & Security Course took a two-day study trip to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York City in March as part of the SAIS Women Lead Program. 

Power of Womenomics

Students put the power of womenomics, a term coined by Chief Japan Equity Strategist at Goldman Sachs and alumna Kathy Matsui, into practice during a study trip to Bangladesh. Womenonmics demonstrates that empowering women in the labor force leads to a nation’s overall economic growth and prosperity. Study Trek to Bangladesh and India Blogs, Photo Journal.

"I am convinced more than ever that more research and studies such as this one must continue if we hope to facilitate long-term meaningful change."

Leland Kruvant, President of Creative Associates International