Will you be ready when you testify before Congress? Argue before the Supreme Court? Defend your PhD thesis? After the past few weeks, each of our students is more prepared for these challenges. The reason? Their capstone collaborative policy document experience.Read More
Each semester we leave room for speakers who do not fit neatly into one of our weekly case studies. Some of these sessions blossom into popular new case studies (our Spring 2010 meeting with Lissa Muscatine, for example), and some become the stuff of SEGL legend (President Barack Obama in Summer 2017).
No part of our Constitution has generated more emotion than the Second Amendment. From school shootings to Charlton Heston’s famous rallying cry (“From my cold, dead hands!”), our debate over guns hits at our national core.
This week we met with three leading voices on different sides of that debate: an NRA past President, a leading Constitutional attorney, and a local activist. Their arguments bolstered our students’ critical thinking skills and brought nuance and complexity to their understanding.Read More
Last week at the end of Morning Meeting one of our students offered these words from Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre:
I can live alone, if self-respect, and circumstances require me so to do. I need not sell my soul to buy bliss. I have an inward treasure born with me, which can keep me alive if all extraneous delights should be withheld, or offered only at a price I cannot afford to give.Read More
Three long whistle tweets, four stretched-out syllables (“TOES–ON–THE–LINE!”), and dozens of scurrying first and second grade feet: it’s 4:30pm Wednesday at Thomson Public Elementary School and time for another “Books and Basketball” session!Read More
The “Master Class” is perhaps the most challenging and rewarding of SEGL’s academic traditions. Several times a semester, students present and defend a “deliverable” in front of a distinguished expert who questions, advises, and evaluates their effort. The deliverable might be a policy memo, an ethical argument, or–as it was last week–a three minute speech.Read More
Just weeks ago, the Trump Administration brought the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict back into the American limelight by unveiling a controversial peace plan. The unveiling, and the many reactions to it, brought new urgency to one of SEGL’s classic case studies.
Ghosts of Rwanda Night. It’s an SEGL rite-of-passage; an early turning point in every semester.Read More
In our first week we replace conventional classes with a series of learning adventures. These adventures encourage students to focus on critical thinking skills that will serve them at SEGL and beyond. This spring, our timing was serendipitous: our students got to test these new skills from the Senate gallery, listening live to the arguments in President Trump’s impeachment trial.Read More
Our Spring 2020 DC cohort is here and ready to make history! Read More
What a way to celebrate a decade! Last weekend over 300 strong converged on Washington, DC to honor SEGL’s first ten years and to look toward the future. Along the way, they heard a Congressman weigh in on impeachment, asked questions of a former UN Ambassador, honored a former White House official, and packed a rooftop overlooking the U.S. Capitol on a perfect fall night.Read More
It’s Wednesday at 4:30pm and dozens of little toes are gripping the mid-court line in Thomson Public Elementary School’s third floor gym. Each group of ten toes belongs to a first or second grader greeting us with eager, unvarnished energy. They laugh, cry, ask questions, work through challenges, and show off new discoveries. It’s time for another “Books and Basketball” session: a meaningful change of pace and an important opportunity to learn from and serve our neighbors.Read More
This week Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry concerning President Donald Trump. Our students and faculty leaped into action and are already transforming this historic moment into the best possible learning opportunity.Read More
Among many academic traditions at SEGL, the “Master Class” is perhaps the most challenging and rewarding. Several times a term, students present and defend a “deliverable” in front of a distinguished expert who grills, mentors, and evaluates their effort. The deliverable might be a policy memo, an ethical argument, or–as it was this week–a three minute speech.Read More
Ghosts of Rwanda Night. Every SEGL graduate remembers it. Read More
The Israeli-Palestinian is perhaps the quintessential disagreement of our time. It has brought American presidencies to their knees, created untold layers of disagreement, and dominated contemporary college campus debates. Is the conflict intractable? Or could new leaders (perhaps some of them SEGL graduates) with new ideas find a solution? These questions, and many others, made up our second case study of the fall. Read More
In our first week we replaced conventional classes with a series of learning adventures. These adventures encouraged students to focus on critical thinking skills that will serve them at SEGL and beyond. Read More
Our second decade is off to a promising start, with a fantastic group of students leading the way!Read More
Our second week in London is in the books and boy is there a lot to read about our adventures!Read More
The SEGL Summer Institute in London is officially underway, and the days are just packed!Read More
Editor’s note: This week Spring 2019 student Eve G. is our guest blogger!
We have had a very busy week at SEGL. With APs approaching, the students are balancing exams, classwork, and Ethics and Leadership Projects. To add to this already-packed week, we learned last Sunday at our dorm meeting that dress would be formal (jackets and ties, dresses, and dress shoes) every day this week. This was because we got to meet with four very interesting guest speakers, and go to SEGL Networking Night! Read More
Editor’s note: We hope you enjoy Spring 2019 student Josh L.’s second blog post of the semester!Read More
Every Wednesday afternoon from 4:30-5:30pm dozens of tiny friends greet our students with eager, unvarnished energy. These first and second graders laugh, cry, ask questions, work through challenges, and show off new discoveries. We are in Thomson Public Elementary School’s third-floor gymnasium for another “Books and Basketball” session: a meaningful change of pace and an important opportunity to learn from and serve our neighbors.Read More
Climate change is perhaps the defining issue of our generation: as its effects grow larger, it will affect every person on this planet. And it is clear that we will have to be the generation that tries to stop it before it can wreak utter havoc.
That is why I was so excited to begin this week’s case study on climate change. The week was all the more special because we were making SEGL history: we are the first semester with a case study on global climate change. In short, it turned out fantastically.
The “Master Class” is a signature SEGL experience. Several times a term, students present and defend a “deliverable” in front of a distinguished expert who grills, mentors, and evaluates their effort. The deliverable might be a policy memo, an ethical argument, or–as it was this week–a three minute speech.Read More
The 2008 financial crisis is perhaps the most important event of our current students’ lifetime. (Remember, this is the first year in SEGL’s history when nearly all our students were born after September 11, 2001.) Yet even basic financial knowledge–let alone terms like mortgage-backed securities and credit default swaps–is beyond the scope of most high school educations. Given this, how can we avoid such devastating events in the future, and if they do happen, how can we ensure the next generation knows how to respond? These twin questions guided our case study this week. Read More
Can Palestinians and Israelis make peace, and if so, how? Is the conflict intractable? Or could new leaders (perhaps some of them SEGL graduates) with new ideas find a solution? These questions, and many others, made up our third case study of the fall. Along the way, we met with two key leaders (another will meet with us later this spring) whose work continues to impact the conflict.Read More
The 2020 election will not only be one of the most important in U.S. history; it will also be the first time many members of our current class will be able to vote. These twin observations made our recent visit with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), one of the major candidates aspiring to the Democratic Party’s Presidential nomination, particularly instructive and valuable.Read More
Ghosts of Rwanda Night is a well-remembered SEGL rite-of-passage. Since our first semester, the powerful PBS Frontline documentary has challenged our students with classic leadership dilemmas: What is the most ethical response to mass atrocities? Should American leaders always prize American interests above all? Is it ever worth risking American lives to help halt tragedy abroad? How do we prevent human rights abuses from ever occurring? Ghosts, and our second case study of the semester, raises these questions.Read More
Dear friends of SEGL:
I write with exciting news: SEGL is launching a semester program in South Africa!Read More
Our tenth spring semester is off to a roaring and unique start. For the first time in our history we’ve pushed traditional classes to the second week; this allows us to focus on building critical thinking skills that will serve us throughout the semester and beyond. (Along the way, we had a great deal of fun!)Read More
Both the federal government and SEGL are open for business this weekend, and we couldn’t be more excited. This group of students is already distinguishing itself for its camaraderie and depth of thought, and the weeks ahead look particularly promising.Read More
ELBOW! OVER KNEE UNDER BALL!
FOLLOW THROUGH! COOKIE JAR!
Every Wednesday afternoon from 4:30-5:30pm, dozens of 1st and 2nd graders swarm around our SEGL students. Tiny uniformed bodies laugh, cry, ask questions, and show off new skills. We are in Thomson Public Elementary School’s third-floor gymnasium for another “Books and Basketball” session: a meaningful change of pace and a wonderful opportunity to both learn from and serve our neighbors.Read More
Criminal justice reform. It is both polarizing (think #blacklivesmatter vs. #bluelivesmatter vs. #alllivesmatter) and unifying: in recent years both Democrats and Republicans have worked together on the issue. This semester our students have tackled this issue in several memorable ways, gaining insight from (among others) an Attorney General, a Congressman, and a judge.Read More
Thinking on your feet is among the most important skills a leader must learn. One cannot present a doctoral thesis, testify before Congress, argue a case before the Supreme Court, or lead soldiers through battle without the ability to think and speak quickly. At SEGL, we work to ensure our students think ethically on their feet. And there is no better teacher of this skill than former White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry.Read More
What a jam-packed weekend! Our 10th anniversary year started with a bang last weekend: hundreds of guests, top-notch speakers, insightful conversation, a sparkling rooftop Gala, and–of course–plenty of camaraderie between old friends and new!Read More
So five governors walk into a room, and…
This isn’t the set-up for a joke: it really happened this week at the Bipartisan Policy Center. Over an hour-long lunch, the students shared insights and questions with five former governors about free speech on high school and college campuses. (They also traded thoughts on the week’s most captivating headline: the Brett Kavanaugh controversy.)Read More
The “Master Class” is a formative SEGL experience: several times a term, students present and defend a “deliverable” in front of a distinguished expert. The deliverable might be a policy memo, an ethical argument, or–as it was this week–a three minute speech.Read More
This week we finished our case study on Media Literacy, Bias, and Ethics with a visit from CNN White House Correspondent Abby Phillip and a trip to see a live taping of Tucker Carlson Tonight on Fox News. In the process, our students caught a glimpse of two different approaches to covering today’s news, and generated important questions to consider in the months and years ahead.Read More
Watching the 2004 PBS Frontline documentary Ghosts of Rwanda is an SEGL tradition, and every SEGL graduate remembers “Ghosts of Rwanda Night.” The powerful, emotional film poses essential ethical questions: What is the best response to mass atrocity? Should American leaders prioritize American interests at all times, or is it worth risking American lives to help stave off widespread havoc? How do we prevent these events from ever occurring? These questions, and more, made up our latest case study.Read More
When, if ever, will Palestinians and Israelis make peace? Is the conflict intractable? Or could new leaders (perhaps some of them SEGL graduates) with new ideas find a breakthrough? These questions, and many others, made up our third case study of the fall. Along the way, we met with two key leaders (another will meet with us next month) whose work continues to impact the conflict.Read More
What is truth? Where can we find it? How do we recognize it? In 2018, these questions are more difficult than ever to answer, especially when we consume the news. These questions of truth dominate our first case study of the semester: media literacy, bias, and ethics. Along the way, our students meet with three leading media figures from very different backgrounds, and gain tools to help them through the “fake news” era. Read More
The tenth year in SEGL history began with vigor and verve this weekend! We welcomed what by many measures is the most diverse class in our history, and its energy and enthusiasm is already apparent.Read More
The capstone collaborative policy document may be SEGL’s most challenging assignment. Each SEGL cohort must select a current international crisis, research that crisis and collaboratively craft a 40-page scholarly document, and then present and defend the document’s recommendations before real-world policymakers. All in about three weeks while also continuing with regular classes.
Our students are always up to the challenge. Read More
How absolute are Constitutional rights? Under what circumstances should we limit them, and why? These challenging questions have stayed with our students for much of the semester, during a case study that spanned two months and brought us everywhere from NRA Headquarters (to meet with its former President) to the Supreme Court (where we sat in on an entire oral argument).Read More
Each spring, on the last day before Spring Break, we welcome family and friends to Capitol Hill for a morning of engagement and fun. This year, we also welcomed former Secretary of Education Rod Paige, who led a compelling and energizing discussion with our community.Read More
“TOES ON THE LINE!” “TOES ON THE LINE!” “TOES ON THE LINE!”
Each Wednesday afternoon, several dozen 1st and 2nd graders at Thomson Elementary in DC hear us shout those words. It’s Books and Basketball time, and our SEGL students are in charge–and learning.Read More
(From left: Arielle Galston, Rosa Cartagena, and Jordan Star, all Fall 2010)
What happens when a DC journalist, a globe-trotting entrepreneur, and an SEGL teacher reflect on a memorable photo from their SEGL Fall 2010 days? In our inaugural SEGL Spotlight, Rosa Cartagena, Jordan Star, and Arielle Galston discuss how a semester at SEGL helped shape who they are today. Read More
The SEGL Master Class is one of our favorite academic traditions. Several times a semester, our students present and defend a “deliverable” in front of a distinguished guest expert. The deliverable might be a policy memo, an Constitutional argument, or a performance. Our first Spring 2018 deliverable was a memorable mash-up: a three-minute speech followed by a ten minute press briefing. Our teachers? Longtime top Hillary Clinton speechwriter Lissa Muscatine and the dean of White House Press Secretaries, Mike McCurry. Read More
The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict may be the most infamous disagreement in modern history. Not only does it consistently defy the best laid diplomatic plans; it also influences countless related contemporary problems. Leaders of the past and present have worked tirelessly to address it, with limited success. This week–against the backdrop of intensifying tension in the region–our Spring 2018 cohort took its turn, with promising results.Read More
It is a sober SEGL tradition: Ghosts of Rwanda Night. Since our first semester, the powerful PBS Frontline documentary has challenged our students with essential leadership questions: What is the most ethical response to mass atrocities? Should American leaders always prioritize American interests? Is it ever worth risking American lives to help halt tragedy abroad? How do we prevent human rights abuses from ever occurring? Ghosts, and our second case study of the semester, poses these questions.Read More
The truth can be hard to find, perhaps especially in Washington. But that difficulty makes the search even more important–and in our first week of the semester, we’ve been searching.
Spring 2018 is taking flight! 24 young people eager to change our world began their journey at our Capitol Hill residence (which thanks to a successful Capital Campaign our school now owns!) with an enthusiastic move-in.Read More
Are you ready to testify before Congress? To argue before the Supreme Court? To defend your PhD thesis? After the past few weeks, each of our students is more prepared for these challenges. The reason? Our capstone collaborative policy document experience.Read More
As we enter a week of Thanksgiving recess, we’re thinking about everything we’re thankful for at SEGL. One of the top items on our list is the first and second graders at Thomson Elementary, who have taught our students an enormous amount this fall.
Thinking on your feet. It’s one of the most important skills a leader must learn. One cannot present a doctoral thesis, testify before Congress, argue a case before the Supreme Court, or lead soldiers through battle without the ability to think and speak quickly. At SEGL, we also work to ensure our students think ethically on their feet. And there is no better teacher of this skill than former White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry.Read More
Imagine you are in charge of U.S. HIV/AIDS funding for Haiti…or Indonesia…or Botswana…or any of the countries that now receive support from PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief). It is time to present a five-year plan for that country to PEPFAR’s head, the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator. Will you recommend more funding? Where will the money come from? Why does your country deserve those funds more than others? Will you reallocate it? How can you be sure your reallocation will save more lives? Will you reduce funding? Why?Read More
Hundreds of graduates, family members, and friends joined our students and faculty for an extraordinary Family/Homecoming Weekend this October. Attendees participated in a remarkable series of speaker sessions, connected with old friends and new, and heard good news about SEGL’s future.Read More
The “Master Class” is a classic SEGL challenge: several times a term, students present and defend a “deliverable” in front of a distinguished guest expert. The deliverable might be a policy memo, an ethical argument, or–as was the case this week–a three minute speech.Read More
Is there a more frustrating dispute than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? It is so filled with fierce misunderstanding that every word, every historical event, every intention can cause unhappiness. And yet the problem remains–and will remain–until we have leaders (perhaps including a few SEGL graduates) who fix it.Read More
Every SEGL graduate remembers “Ghosts of Rwanda Night.” Since our first semester, the powerful PBS Frontline documentary has served as an early turning point for our students. The film’s tragic story and graphic images provokes inspired soul searching. What is the best response to mass atrocities? Should American leaders always prioritize American interests, or is it worth risking American lives to help stave off tragedy abroad? How do we prevent such human rights abuses from ever occurring? Ghosts, and our second case study of the semester, poses these questions.Read More
What is truth is no longer just a question for philosophy majors. Today, we must ask it every time we consume the news. This question of truth dominated our first case study of the semester, on media literacy and media bias. Along the way, our students met with two respected newspaper journalists and one of the most powerful TV news hosts in the business.Read More
Suppose you were called to testify before Congress…or argue a case in front of the Supreme Court…or defend your PhD thesis…how would you prepare? Over the last three weeks our students underwent a boot camp for those (and other similar) leadership challenges. And their preparation ended with a real-life State Department presentation.Read More
This past week the Congressional showdown over health care grabbed headlines across the country. Across the street from the showdown, our students were paying attention, and the results created memorable learning–and photo–opportunities.Read More
The 2004 PBS Frontline documentary Ghosts of Rwanda is an SEGL rite-of-passage. Since our first term, the powerful film has captivated, alarmed, and inspired our students. What is the ethical response to mass atrocity? Should American leaders prioritize American interests at all times, or is it worth risking American lives to help stave off widespread havoc? How do we prevent these events from ever occurring? Ghosts, and our next case study of the semester, poses these questions.Read More
Fmr. FBI Senior Intelligence Adviser; Colin Powell Chief of Staff visit SEGL for Crisis Management Week
In these times, information and choices come at us like water from a fire hose: fast and hard. If we wait to set our ethical compasses until the hose points our way it will be too late. We must decide on our values before a crisis hits.
It is with this principle in mind that each semester we challenge students with a four-hour crisis simulation, in which each plays a key role in the Executive Branch. Aided by visits from key guest experts who have faced countless crises themselves, they confront together a host of problems ripped straight from the headlines.
Is there a challenge more intractable than the Israeli-Palestinian dispute? The conflict is so filled with fierce misunderstanding that every word, every historical event, every intention can cause conflagration. And yet the problem remains, and will remain until we have leaders–perhaps including a few SEGL graduates–who fix it.
This past week, our students heard and discussed three key viewpoints from three key leaders whose work continues to impact the conflict.Read More
The “Master Class” is a signature SEGL experience: several times a term, students present and defend a “deliverable” in front of a distinguished guest expert. The deliverable might be a policy memo, an ethical argument, or–as was the case yesterday–a three minute speech.Read More
What is truth? It used to be a question for philosophy class. Today, we ask it every time we consume the news. And our Summer 2017 cohort asked it many times this past week during our case study on media literacy. Along the way, they met with two respected newspaper journalists and two of the most powerful TV news hosts in the business.
They are here and they are terrific! Our Summer 2017 students began their five-week tenure in DC with icebreaking laughter, intense discussions, and an SEGL tradition called “The Infamous Skittles Scenario.”
Our five-week Summer Institute focuses intensively on our core Ethics and Leadership program, while also allowing participants to enjoy the best summer offerings of our nation’s capital.
This past week, as our students juggled Social Venture Project presentations, policy document defenses, and English Credo preparations, they also made sure there was plenty of time for fellowship and laughter. Read More
What would you do to prepare yourself for a four-hour crisis simulation in which you and 23 peers each played a key role in the Executive Branch? How about acting as White House Press Secretary while one of the most accomplished people ever to hold that title peppers you with questions? That’s what we did during our final academic week this spring!Read More
What is it like to argue a case in front of the Supreme Court? To testify before Congress? To defend a PhD thesis? In the last few weeks our students got a taste of those challenges when they presented their capstone policy document on drone strikes to a leading Pentagon expert.Read More
SEGL’s founding team wrote diversity into our mission statement. As powerful as diversity is here (for example, we have a need-blind admissions policy and 50% of our 2016-17 students are of color), we know that numbers alone are not enough. What are we doing to ensure all students are welcome here? How do we ensure each student has what she or he needs to succeed?
What can a first or second-grader teach a high school junior? A lot, it turns out. And each Wednesday afternoon in the third floor gym at Thomson Public Elementary School, we learn more.
For just over an hour, dozens of 1st and 2nd graders look up at–and to–our SEGL students. It’s another week of our “Books and Basketball” program: a meaningful change of pace, a mixture of hard work and good fun, and an opportunity to learn.Read More
Each spring, on the last day before Spring Break, we welcome family and friends to Capitol Hill for a morning of engagement and fun. This year, we also welcomed noted PBS NewsHour commentator and nationally syndicated columnist Mark Shields, who led a compelling and energizing discussion with our community.Read More
What is truth? That used to be a question for philosophy class. These days, we ask it every time we read or watch the news. We also asked that question many times this past week during our case study on media literacy.Read More
The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict may be the most notorious dispute in modern history. Not only is it apparently intractable; it also influences countless related contemporary problems. Leaders of the past and present have worked to address it, with limited success. This week our Spring 2017 cohort took its turn, with hopeful results.Read More
The “Master Class” is a signature SEGL experience: several times a semester, our students present and defend a “deliverable” in front of distinguished guest experts. The deliverable could be a funding proposal, a policy memo, or–as was the case last week–a three minute speech.Read More
Each SEGL student completes three capstone projects: the ethical Credo, the collaborative policy document, and the social venture project. Each is essential to the SEGL experience, and each tests our students’ mettle. The first challenge is the social venture project: a from-the-ground-up business plan to create positive change (for profit or nonprofit), to be implemented upon returning home. Along the way, students gain countless leadership skills (and, perhaps, a nice college admissions boost!). Our social venture journey started last week.Read More
“Ghosts of Rwanda Night” is a sober SEGL tradition. Since our first semester, the powerful PBS Frontline documentary has saddened, focused, and challenged our students. What is the best response to mass atrocities? Should American leaders always prioritize American interests, or is it worth risking American lives to help stave off tragedy abroad? How do we prevent such human rights abuses from ever occurring? Ghosts, and our second case study of the semester, poses these questions.Read More
Keeping pace with a new Presidential Administration can be a challenge, especially in one’s first week in DC. With some help from their Ethics and Leadership course, our Spring 2017 students are doing just that.Read More
Some semesters start just like any other. And some semesters are different. The Spring 2017 semester begins in historic fashion, as the Trump Administration and its adversaries do historic battle in our backyard.Read More
What is the purpose of education? That was the question legendary Princeton professors Cornel West and Robert George addressed at the American Enterprise Institute yesterday, with SEGL students and faculty in the front rows. Read More
Yesterday morning we gathered in our West common room and held a Quaker-style meeting to assess the previous night’s election results. One by one, our students shared hopes, fears, questions, and ideas.Read More
What did you do the day before the Presidential election? At SEGL, we had a conversation with His Excellency Carlos Manuel Sada Solana, the Mexican Ambassador to the United States.Read More
Family/Homecoming Weekend 2016: Sec. of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, a $400,000 matching challenge, and more!
SEGL’s growing community celebrated Family/Homecoming Weekend 2016 in extraordinary fashion this year. Highlighting the event was an interactive session with Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson and a $400,000 matching challenge from the Dan, Nanna, and Sebastian Stern Family. Once we meet the Stern challenge, our capital campaign will be complete!Read More
Last week the man at the heart of the maelstrom came to SEGL. FBI Director James Comey, whose decision not to indict Hillary Clinton for improper use of a private email server (and, later, to inform Congress he was reviewing additional emails) have profoundly impacted the current Presidential campaign, spent over an hour with SEGL students in our main parlor. The visit was collegial, exciting, and meaningful.Read More
Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, Amb. George Moose head Family/Homecoming Weekend speaker line-up
Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson will headline a terrific line-up at this year’s SEGL Family/ Homecoming Weekend festivities!
The Secretary will speak briefly and answer questions from the audience starting at 12:45pm on Saturday, October 15th. The event will be in the Kenney Auditorium at the Johns Hopkins SAIS Nitze Building.Read More
Every Wednesday afternoon the third floor gym at Thomson Public Elementary School transforms. For just over an hour, dozens of 1st and 2nd graders look up at–and to–our SEGL students. It’s another week of our “Books and Basketball” program. The experience is a meaningful change of pace and an opportunity to learn from our neighbors.Read More
The SEGL Master Class: it is something of a trademark experience here. Several times a semester, our students present and defend a “deliverable” in front of a distinguished guest expert. The deliverable might be a policy memo, an Constitutional argument, or–as was the case this week–a three minute speech.Read More
The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict is perhaps the greatest of all modern international challenges. Not only is it perniciously intractable; it also influences countless related contemporary problems. Leaders of the past and present have worked to address it, with limited success. This week our cohort took its turn, with promising results.Read More
Watching the 2004 PBS Frontline documentary Ghosts of Rwanda is an SEGL tradition. Since our first semester, the powerfully evocative film has captivated, alarmed, and inspired our students. What is the ethical response to mass atrocity? Should American leaders prioritize American interests at all times, or is it worth risking American lives to help stave off widespread havoc? How do we prevent these events from ever occurring? Ghosts, and our second case study of the semester, poses these questions.Read More
Week one of our Fall 2016 semester is complete, and our students are already leaving a positive impression. Read More
After one of the most newsworthy summers in memory and with the Presidential election on the horizon, our Fall 2016 cohort has arrived in DC. And we couldn’t be more excited!Read More
What is it like to testify before Congress? To argue a case in front of the Supreme Court? In the final days of the Summer 2016 semester our students got a taste when they presented their capstone policy document to a leading White House expert on cyber warfare.Read More
The day after the Dallas police shootings we gathered our 20 SEGL Summer Institute students together after Morning Meeting and read them a series of challenging, conflicting statements:
“Black Lives Matter.” “All Lives Matter.” Read More
Iraq, Libya, and Crisis! Summer 2016 with former Chief of Staff to Colin Powell; State Department attorney
Our final case study of the summer is a blockbuster that allowed our students to showcase much of the knowledge and many of the skills they have gained this summer. Everything in the week pushed the students toward an intense cumulative SEGL tradition: a four-hour crisis simulation in which each student played a role in the Executive Branch.
Ethics Mash-up: Rwanda, Israelis and Palestinians, and The Second Amendment (with a side of Marco Rubio)
Our Summer Institute days pack a powerful punch, and recent domestic and international events have heightened our purpose here. In the last week and a half we have confronted three complicated cases and visited with a former NRA President, the Executive Director of a leading gun control group, a former Assistant Secretary of State, genocide survivors, a former lead Palestinian negotiator, and President Bush’s lead Middle East advisor.
See what I mean?Read More
Our first week is in the books and it was jam-packed! Already we have launched our first two case studies, taken time out to see a blockbuster art exhibit, and learned a new sport.Read More
Summer 2016 has arrived in DC and our newest students are off to a tremendous start!
The five-week Institute focuses intensively on our core Ethics and Leadership program, while also allowing participants to enjoy the best summer offerings of our nation’s capital.Read More
We ended our final academic week with White House-infused gusto! Our students also had the chance to showcase much of the knowledge and many of the skills they have gained this spring.Read More
As the semester zooms toward its end, many of our students want to take a piece of SEGL home with them. In fact, they can, and they do: the Social Venture Project capstone ensures that.Read More
Have you ever looked into the eyes of the Assistant Attorney General and defended your ideas on combatting ISIS? What about the eyes of the State Department’s lead expert on counter-violent-extremist communications? Our students did so this week when they presented their capstone policy document at the Departments of State and Justice.Read More
By Toluwani Roberts
The first SEGL SAFE Club meeting was held during lunch on April 22 in the Lacy Room. Students, faculty and a few visitors sat with me and my co-founder Lebanos to discuss internalized stereotypes. Read More
“If you take nothing else from today’s talk, remember this: change is the only constant, and you had better embrace it.” So says the noted business executive Robert “Kam” Kamerschen, who joined us this week for a session on crisis management. (Kamerschen is the first of a series of speakers this semester to focus on crisis management; the others will come in our final week of classes.) Read More
ONE TWO THREE, EYES ON ME!
ONE, TWO, EYES ON YOU!
Every Wednesday afternoon for just over an hour, dozens of 1st and 2nd graders look up at–and to–our SEGL students. We are in Thomson Public Elementary School’s third-floor gym for another week of our “Books and Basketball” community service program. It’s a meaningful change of pace and an opportunity to both learn from and serve our neighbors.Read More
This week the SEGL community paused to honor the life of Harry Wu. Mr. Wu, whom the New York Times called “the éminence grise of Chinese dissidents,” died in an accident on Tuesday while traveling in Honduras. (You can read the Times‘ obituary here.) He was also a longtime SEGL guest speaker.Read More
Each fall semester has Homecoming/Family Weekend, which draws hundreds of graduates, family members, and friends for a weekend of discussions, awards, fellowship, and fun. This spring for the first time we’re giving our current family members “Family Day,” a taste of what’s to come in October.Read More
Broderick Johnson wears many hats at the White House. He is Assistant to the President. He is Secretary of the Cabinet, responsible for coordinating all Cabinet affairs. He is Chair of President Obama’s initiative to improve life outcomes for young men of color, the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force. Just before Spring Break, Johnson added another hat: SEGL guest expert.Read More
Spring Break affords our students more than an opportunity for rest and rejuvenation: it allows them to reconnect with their home communities and begin to think about the transition home. One important part of that transition is the capstone social venture project that each student completes.Read More
By Maria Katsulos
Editor’s note: SEGL is a non-partisan institution and both seeks and celebrates political diversity in its student body.
After an early wakeup on Monday morning, last Wednesday’s delayed start of classes was definitely welcome. Plans were made to go to the gym at a more leisurely pace, or to have a long breakfast, or even to sleep in until the last minute and relish that luxury.Read More
Spring 2016 takes on the Supreme Court; gets Master Classes from White House speechwriter and Constitutional expert
The most effective educators help students wrestle with classic questions and current challenges. And they design learning activities, built around those questions and challenges, that allow students to build lifelong leadership skills. The past two weeks at SEGL help exemplify our commitment to these goals.
Each week included a signature part of the SEGL experience: the “Master Class.” Several times a semester, students present and defend a “deliverable” in front of a distinguished guest expert. The deliverable might be a policy memo, an ethical argument, or–as was the case these past two weeks–a Constitutional argument and a three-minute speech.
The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict is not only one of the most complicated challenges of our time; it influences countless related contemporary problems. Leaders of the past and present have worked to address it, with limited success. This week our team of emerging leaders took their turn, with hopeful results.Read More
After the Holocaust the United Nations overwhelmingly passed the Genocide Convention, which stated that “genocide…is a crime …which [we] undertake to prevent and to punish.” In other words, “never again.” But how do we prevent and punish genocide? How serious is the world about this commitment? There is no better example of the world’s uncertainty toward genocide than the subject of this week’s case study: the 1994 Rwandan genocide.Read More
The first full week of Spring 2016 is already complete!
Our Ethics and Leadership class began with an “Introduction to Ethical Decision Making” case study, which included several SEGL traditions and one of network news’ most experienced journalists. Read More
Our Spring 2016 crop of students is here and already blossoming!Read More
The capstone collaborative policy document may be SEGL’s most challenging assignment. Each SEGL cohort must select a current international crisis, research that crisis and collaboratively craft a 40-page scholarly document, and then present and defend the document’s recommendations before real-world policymakers. All in about three weeks while also continuing with regular classes.
Our students are always up to the challenge. Read More
Ready to apply to SEGL? Our 2016-17 application is now live!
We are raising $2 million to purchase and renovate our current residence at 202/4 East Capitol Street in Washington, DC. And we have already raised the first $1 million!Read More
Family/Homecoming Weekend 2015 was our best ever!
In addition to a successful launch of our $2 million capital campaign to purchase and renovate our Capitol Hill home (click here to read more about the campaign), we welcomed hundreds of graduates, family members, and friends for three packed days of extraordinary learning, fellowship, and fun.Read More
Sometimes our Ethics and Leadership case studies track uncomfortably closely with current events. That was the case this week as the mass shooting in Roseburg, Oregon interrupted our investigation of the Second Amendment. As a result, one of our key speakers was not able to join us, and so we’re postponing the end of the case study until later in the semester. Instead of discussing our academic work, this week’s blog post is about our weekly service activity.
Every Wednesday afternoon at 4:30, dozens of 1st and 2nd graders put their toes on the mid-court line in the Thomson Public Elementary School third-floor gym. For the next hour, 24 “big people”–students from The School for Ethics and Global Leadership–give their time to coach basketball and reading.Read More
Former lead Hillary Clinton Speechwriter Lissa Muscatine gives first Fall 2015 Master Class (and we see the pope)
An SEGL “Master Class” is a signature experience for our students: several times a semester, they present and defend a “deliverable” in front of a distinguished guest expert. The deliverable might be a policy memo, an ethical argument, or–as was the case this past week–a three minute speech.Read More
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of only two case studies that SEGL has taught every semester/summer session since its inception. Each cohort of students views the conflict through a different lens: whether the Gaza War, or renewed hope for negotiations, there is always something in the news. This semester the picture is more complicated than ever: the war in Syria, the Iran nuclear deal, purported cool relations between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu, and renewed clashes on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. Read More
“Never again,” is an oft-quoted post-Holocaust imperative. In 1948 the United Nations overwhelmingly passed the Genocide Convention, which stated that “genocide…is a crime …which [we] undertake to prevent and to punish.” But how do we prevent and punish genocide? Most observers say the world is still uncertain. And there is no better example of this uncertainty than the subject of this week’s case study: the 1994 Rwandan genocide.Read More
The first full week of Fall 2015 is complete! Our opening case study is called “Introduction to Ethical Decision Making” and it includes several early-semester highlights.Read More
Our fall 2015 cohort has arrived and it is already clear that this semester will leave an extraordinary mark on our school’s history.Read More
Why do so many teachers want to work at SEGL? Why do those of us who do keep coming back? Yes, our dedicated students, our unique mission, our vibrant surroundings, and our relationships with colleagues all contribute.
But without professional development, each teacher can only grow so much.
This is why The Gray Pederson Fund for Teaching Excellence was established in 2011, the same year I joined the SEGL faculty as Academic Dean and U.S. History/Comparative Government teacher. That year, a group of parents seeded the Fund in honor of founding SEGL Academic Dean Gray Pedersen’s retirement. Since then, parent and board support of the Fund has facilitated dozens of important opportunities for each SEGL teacher to grow professionally and personally. Read More
With the events in Charleston, South Carolina and Chattanooga, Tennessee as sober fodder, Summer 2015 took aim at the Second Amendment last week. The case study led to many robust exchanges and a great deal of reflection.Read More
During the semester, we tend to end one case study before beginning another. In the summer, when students can keep more in their heads and when opportunities can be had at any moment, we like to mash-up our subjects. This allows for students to make fascinating cross-cutting connections. During our first week together, we began three case studies: an introduction to ethics, the Rwandan genocide, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.Read More
Our 2015 Summer Ethics and Leadership Institute has arrived, and our 20 students are already making their mark on SEGL.
The five-week Institute focuses intensively on our core Ethics and Leadership program, while also allowing participants to enjoy the best summer offerings of our nation’s capital.Read More
Have you ever been put on the spot? In front of your school? With the fate of the free world at stake?
In more ways than one, that’s exactly what happened to each member of our Spring 2015 cohort in our final week of Ethics and Leadership class.Read More
What do you feed our nation’s future leaders? Red meat or vegan tofu? Fair trade chocolate or Hershey’s Kisses? All-American hot dogs or exotic Indian curries?
The answer, of course, is “all of the above.”Read More
The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation has awarded The School for Ethics and Global Leadership (SEGL) one of nine 2015 Good Neighbor Grants, SEGL Founder and Director Noah Bopp announced today.
The $35,000 grant is the first major contribution to SEGL’s new Greater DC Scholarship Fund. This fund will enable the school to provide ongoing scholarships for outstanding SEGL students from the Greater DC area.Read More
The capstone collaborative policy document is one of SEGL’s signature projects. Each semester of students must select an international ethical challenge to research and then prepare a 40-page scholarly document that proposes practical solutions to that challenge. Once the document is complete, the students present and defend the document’s recommendations before real-world leaders. All in about three weeks while also continuing with regular classes.
Sound like fun? It is!Read More
It is rare to have the best in the world critique your work. But that’s just what our students received this week in our speechwriting/first amendment case study. Our featured guests, Lissa Muscatine and Megan Rooney, are seasoned White House and State Department speechwriters who have written some of the most famous American speeches in the last 25 years.
Under what circumstances, if any, should our government put someone to death? Does our current system ensure that everyone gets a fair chance at justice? If there are problems, is it worth investing the necessary time and money to fix it?
After focusing our first few weeks on international issues, in our fourth case study we turned our attention to one of our thorniest domestic ethical issues: the death penalty. In our exploration we met with three distinguished attorneys, each at a different stage of his career. Each gave a different view on the topic and each provoked us into a greater understanding of the issue’s complexities.Read More
The Israeli-Palestinian dispute is arguably the most intractable of our times. The disagreement is so fraught with anger and misunderstanding that many question every word, every historical event, every intention presented. And yet the problem remains, and will remain until we have leaders–perhaps including a few SEGL graduates–who conquer it.
This week, our students heard (and discussed) three key perspectives from three key leaders whose work continues to impact the conflict.Read More
How do we recognize and respond to the roots of genocide? How do we confront genocide when it happens? Before it happens? After it happens? These weighty questions inspired our second case study of the semester, and inspired our students toward new reflections, new conversations, and new choices.Read More
Just eight days ago, our Spring 2015 students had never met each other. We are thrilled with how close they are growing after just one week! Read More
Spring 2015–our twelfth semester–is here! Already our hallways, dorm rooms, and class discussions are full of boisterous energy, thoughtful reflection, and growing camaraderie.Read More
If you had a few moments with a Supreme Court Justice, what would you ask? What if you had 90 minutes?Read More
The capstone collaborative policy document is one of SEGL’s most challenging and meaningful assignments. Each semester cohort must choose a topic, research that topic and prepare a 40-page scholarly document, and then present and defend the document’s recommendations before real-world leaders. All in about three weeks while also continuing with regular classes.
It’s really fun, actually.Read More
“Toes on the line!” “Toes on the line!”
Every Wednesday afternoon at 4:30, dozens of 1st and 2nd graders hear those words and scurry to mid-court at Thomson Public Elementary School’s gym. They are surrounded by 24 “big people”–students from The School for Ethics and Global Leadership who give their time to our “Books and Basketball” community service program.Read More
Over 200 graduates, parents, board members, and friends joined us last weekend for an amazing and inspiring Homecoming weekend in Washington, DC! Below are galleries of our Ebola panel discussion (featuring the Ambassador from the Republic of Guinea), our Egil “Bud” Krogh Master Class, our Fishbowl Discussion on drone strikes, and our Social Venture Fair. We have also including a few photos from our Gala and a video of Laura Lane’s powerful Golden Mug acceptance speech.Read More
The “Master Class” is an SEGL signature experience: several times a semester, our students present and defend a “deliverable” in front of a distinguished guest expert. The deliverable might be a policy memo, an ethical argument, or–as was the case last week–a three minute speech.
Lissa Muscatine, who was Hillary Clinton’s top speechwriter for nearly twenty years (and who also wrote speeches for President Bill Clinton), is one of SEGL’s favorite Master Class teachers. Almost always accompanied by Megan Rooney, who currently writes speeches at the White House for President Obama and others, Muscatine is adept at preparing our students to write convincing speeches. And she critiques those speeches with a collegial incisiveness that leaves students impressed and ready to revise.Read More
Suppose you were in front of a Supreme Court justice and had to argue for or against an American citizen’s right to own a gun for self-defense. What would you say? What arguments would you use? That’s the challenge our students confronted this week as they prepared to meet one of the nation’s leading Constitutional scholars head-on.
What did YOU do in school last week?
Sometimes we can’t help asking that question after a particularly meaningful seven days at SEGL. Our recent Israeli-Palestinian case study, and the way our intrepid cohort responded to it, exemplifies the “best possible opportunity” language of our mission, and we are delighted to share the highlights with you.Read More
The 1994 Rwandan genocide is one of the darkest times in modern history. It is also a remarkable learning opportunity: not only for current world leaders still reeling from the collective decision not to intervene, but for future world leaders who will no doubt confront similar challenges in the future. Because of this, SEGL students have confronted Rwanda every semester since the school’s inception. Through studying several key responses to the violence, they can better understand the complexities of leadership in times of international crisis. And they can discover what it takes to be effective under this type of pressure.
It’s hard to believe that just one week ago our 24 extraordinary students had never met each other. After just seven days, they are already becoming a family.
SEGL’s eleventh semester is off to a strong start! The 24 new members of the SEGL family (including our first students from Japan and South Africa) are already distinguishing themselves intellectually and interpersonally.
The 2014 Summer Institute launched on Sunday and our 16 enthusiastic students are already distinguishing themselves. The five-week Institute allows students to focus intensively on our core Ethics and Leadership program, while also enjoying the best summer offerings of our nation’s capital.Read More
“Stories and Service.” 2012 Golden Mug Award winner Carl Wilkens says they are our most effective tools. Together, he says, they build interpersonal bridges, they conquer differences, they teach empathy, they sway the unconvinced.
The Master Class. Every SEGL cohort experiences several each semester. And every SEGL student takes some of her or his most defining leadership lessons from them.
This afternoon former Nixon White House official Egil “Bud” Krogh led the first Master Class of the Fall 2013 semester. Our students spent all week preparing for it.Read More
Our fifth year is off to a terrific start with the arrival of our Fall 2013 cohort.
After closing out our trip with an incredible hike in Swaziland, we’re heading to the airport in an hour. Check out these pics of our final performance at Bajabulile, Bry (BBQ) with our friends from the Mamelodi Initiative, and the hike! Thanks for following our blog. It’s been a pleasure to travel with you!
As we wind down our trip, we’re excited to share a few more snapshots from our journey. Last weekend we held a talent show and visited Johannesburg’s Lion and Rhino Park for a closer look at the big cats.
This Monday’s soccer match with our South African friends (teenage participants in Mamelodi Initiative Programming) was particularly epic, and we are eagerly awaiting our last hoorah tomorrow (word has it we have been challenged to a World Cup finals – USA vs. South Africa).
Tomorrow is also our grand finale at Bajabulile, where our workshop groups will perform in an all school assembly closing our the program. It’s going to be hard to say goodbye!
What an incredible week we’ve had since our last update! Amid workshops at Bajabulile, visit to the Apartheid Museum, a personalized tour of Soweto, and action-packed Game Drive, we are eager to finally share our adventures with you.
Yesterday we had an incredible first full day of service at Bajabulile, and the experience was phenomenal all around. It was such a privilege to see our own students taking the reigns and effectively leading up to 50 talented and eager 7th graders in artistic workshops ranging from photography to spoken word. The second portion of our service was (and will routinely be) spent getting our hands dirty revamping the Kindergarten playground (see attached picture). Closing out the day in epic form, we challenged the teens of Mamelodi Initiative to the most dynamic game of soccer many of us have ever experienced (followed by an impromptu rap/dance battle).
Spring 2013 final weeks: Former White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten, Vietnam War POW Bob Shumaker, Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense Bailey Hand, Venture Projects, and Crisis Simulation
The final days of the Spring 2013 semester were packed! Read More
Spring 2013 presents policy document before former Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell; State Department Desk Officers
After presenting to former DC Mayor Adrian Fenty on Friday, our students had barely two hours to prep for their next assignment: defending their North Korea policy document recommendations at the State Department.Read More
Spring 2013 Researches North Korea, Visits NRA to Meet with President David Keene, Confronts Boston Bombings
Our students slept well this weekend after what was arguably the busiest week in SEGL history.Read More
DC is ground zero in the debate over the Second Amendment’s meaning. Our students saw that debate up close last week during a compelling case study on gun legislation and speechwriting.
Reflection. In an age of smart phones, microwave ovens, and GPS guidance, reflection is increasingly a lost art. And yet, reflection–perhaps more than anything else–helps us discover who we are and who we want to be. Reflective practice creates expertise far more efficiently than simple practice. And reflection helps us avoid what Thoreau calls “lives of quiet desperation” and lead more meaningful lives.Read More
The national debt. It may earn more groans than a bad Seth McFarlane joke at the Oscars, but nothing is more serious to our future. Last week our students put themselves in the place of the Members of Congress charged with solving the fiscal crisis they may well inherit.Read More
Attention all prospective students:
We are excited to announce our SEGL in Paris summer trip!
Please visit our SEGL in Paris page (http://schoolforethic.wpengine.com/segl-in-paris/) for more details.
Israelis and Palestinians: Spring 2013 meets Jonathan Kessler, Aaron David Miller, and Ghaith al-Omari
The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict looms over a myriad of contemporary problems. Countless leaders of the past and present have worked to address it in fits and starts and with limited success. This week our intrepid cohort of future leaders confronted the challenge, with hopeful results. Read More
In 1994, Rwanda lost nearly a million lives to a horrific genocide. The choices that Americans made during that genocide both haunt and inspire us. They also provide a compelling case study for SEGL students each semester.Read More
The Master Class. It is a hallmark of the SEGL experience. Several times a semester, we ask our guest experts to do more than provide expertise: we ask them to lead a class. These experiences become some of the most memorable intellectual moments of the entire semester. On Friday, former Nixon White House official Egil “Bud” Krogh led the
first Master Class of the Spring 2013 term.Read More
Do infants understand right and wrong? 60 Minutes recently did a fascinating piece on Yale researchers who think the answer is yes. Click here to view a compelling 15-minute piece that features puppets, Cheerios, and the specter of bigotry in babies!Read More
It has been quite a week for ethics in sports. Lance Armstrong admitted to Oprah Winfrey that he took performance-enhancing substances that helped him win seven Tour de France titles. The heart-wrenching tale about Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o’s girlfriend, whose alleged death inspired millions of college football fans, turned out to be a hoax. And Al Pacino is set to play Joe Paterno in a movie about the child molestation debacle at Penn State University.Read More
The Sophists. We know them as the infamous hucksters of rhetoric in Ancient Greece. For the right price, they could teach you how to manipulate words so that anything would sound good. The trouble with them–at least according to Plato–is that they weren’t concerned with what is just. Better to be convincing than truthful.Read More
General Stanley McChrystal, former White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolton, and former CEO Robert Kamerschen visit SEGL for blockbuster “Crisis Management” week
It is hard to imagine a more fulfilling week than the one our students just shared. Read More
The first of our Fall 2012 semester capstone projects is in the books…or, more accurately, in the hands of the State Department’s leading experts on Chinese human rights. Read More
Attention all prospective students:
We are excited to announce our newly released 2013-2014 application for admission! All current sophomores are eligible to apply for our Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 semesters (each with a Priority Application Deadline of February 15, 2013).
Please see our admissions page for more details on the process, our apply page for the application download, our tuition and financial assistance page for an overview of costs and available aid, and our calendar page for an outline of significant semester dates.Read More
Since our first fall semester, SEGL has shared a traditional Thanksgiving feast on the last night before Thanksgiving break. It is a time to come together as a community, to reflect on the semester, to look toward the end of our time together, to celebrate the end of the year’s biggest stretch of school days without a break, and–of course–to eat. Read More
SEGL continues Veteran’s Day tradition; visits Arlington National Cemetery to meet with military leaders
Fewer than 1% of Americans serve in our all-volunteer armed forces–nine times fewer than in World War II. And the great majority of young Americans do not have a close relative in the military.Read More
What’s it really like in Washington, DC? Why might students consider spending four months of their junior year at The School for Ethics and Global Leadership? Today, SEGL is proud to release our new promotional video answering all these questions and more.
Our third annual SEGL Homecoming Weekend was our best yet. But that doesn’t do justice to how memorable it was.Read More
Ambassador Mark Dybul, who visited SEGL this week for a Master Class, is the closest thing we’ve found to Socrates. His vast knowledge and enlightening questions consistently push students to the edge of their abilities, while his collegial manner and insightful encouragement help build their confidence. Dybul, who served as President George W. Bush’s U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, was the final step in this past week’s global HIV/AIDS case study.Read More
Is the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict an intractable dispute that will continue for centuries? Or will the dispute end with savvy negotiations and effective leadership? Our students confronted this central geo-political challenge this week with the help of leaders from many sides.Read More
When is the last time you had to make a big presentation? Was it in front of your class? Your boss? Your family? This past week, SEGL students presented at the White House as part of our case study on energy efficiency.Read More
“What do you do for fun?” It is a question many prospective students and parents ask when they see our challenging curriculum.Read More
This week our students got a bittersweet treat: when Hillary Clinton shared the tragic news from Libya on Wednesday morning, she was reading text that SEGL guest speaker Megan Rooney helped to craft. And on Friday, Rooney was an hour late to our culminating session because she was co-writing Secretary Clinton’s eulogy for the late Ambassador Christopher Stevens. After the session was over, the news headlines trumpeted words that Rooney helped to write.Read More
Confronting Rwanda: Students visit Holocaust Museum; meet Carl Wilkens, Laura Lane, and Ambassador George Moose
The first Friday evening of the SEGL semester has become something of a tradition. As the sunlight fades over the horizon, we huddle over tables in the Academic Building’s Parlor, grappling with Bud Krogh’s life-and-death case study and putting newfound ethical thinking skills to the test. It is more than enough critical thinking for one day.Read More
Each semester our students tackle a variety of challenging case studies. Each case study focuses on a different issue, gives students new background knowledge, and requires new skills. Each case also includes a culminating assignment; a chance for students to demonstrate what they have learned.
One of my favorite culminating assignments is the “Master Class,” in which a distinguished SEGL guest walks students through a particularly complex situation. These Master Classes have become traditions at SEGL, and our first of the Fall 2012 semester featured former Nixon White House official Egil “Bud” Krogh. Read More
Fall 2012 is here and they are terrific! 24 students from across the United States (and Costa Rica) arrived in Washington, DC on Saturday and already they are making the most of their experience.Read More
The School for Ethics and Global Leadership is proud to announce that it has received a transformative grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The grant is the largest in SEGL’s three-year history.Read More
When asking current students and alumni which of our Ethics and Leadership case studies was the most challenging, many of them say that it is the week that we spend learning about the 1994 Rwandan genocide. As part of this learning experience, we view the powerful Ghosts of Rwanda documentary, talk with Carl Wilkens, the only American to stay behind during the genocide, and struggle with the tough ethical questions that arise from a crisis such as this one.Read More
Spring 2012 presents capstone policy document to Ambassador Daniel Fried, Special Envoy to Guantanamo Bay
Each semester our students select one issue of international significance and draft a collaborative policy document that responds to that dilemma. In the past, students have tackled Mexican Drug Cartels, Somali Piracy, Sex Trafficking in Thailand, Conflict Diamonds in Zimbabwe, and Burma. This semester’s cohort chose one of history’s thorniest challenges: Guantanamo Bay.Read More
In the last 25 years, no one has better symbolized Washington’s ethics challenges than Jack Abramoff. Read More
Former U.S. Congressman and Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer spent 90 minutes with SEGL students on Saturday afternoon as part of his unconventional campaign for President of the United States. Roemer, whose main issue is campaign finance reform, garnered rapt attention, smiles, and plenty of challenging questions during his time on campus.Read More
In the landmark 2008 DC. v Heller case, the Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment gives Americans the right to own handguns. Was this the right decision Constitutionally? Ethically? What about related issues, like registration requirements, trigger locks, concealed carry permits, and assault weapons? These questions and others made for an exciting, dramatic, and enlightening week.Read More
More than 40 1st and 2nd graders pack the Thomson Elementary gym each Wednesday afternoon for “Books and Basketball,” SEGL’s signature community service program. For the first half of every afternoon we play basketball, and for the second half, we read with the students.Read More
As our semester hits the midpoint and cherry blossoms explode all over the city, our Ethics and Leadership curriculum moves into its second phase. Now that our students have learned about many of the planet’s key challenges and gained a variety of new leadership skills, we ask them to look inside themselves.Read More
The conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is certainly intractable, but is it impossible to solve? This was one of the key questions our students confronted last week as they met with three leading players in the dispute.Read More
Imagine you are in charge of U.S. HIV/AIDS funding for Haiti…or India…or Botswana…or any of the countries that now receive support from PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief). It is time to present a five year plan for that country to PEPFAR’s head, the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator. Will you recommend more funding? Where will the money come from? Why does your country deserve those funds more than others? Will you reallocate it? How can you be sure your reallocation will save more lives? Will you reduce funding? Why?Read More
“Do you do community service at SEGL?”
It is a question I hear regularly when sharing our school with new audiences. Until this semester, my answer has been incomplete. Yes, we have students who perform service while at SEGL, yes, our students’ social venture projects demonstrate service at its finest, and yes, the topics we learn about often inspire service. But we have always felt we could do more.Read More
Last Friday SEGL held its second Master Class of the Spring 2012 semester with former State Department Chief of Speechwriting Lissa Muscatine and current State Department Speechwriter Megan Rooney. In five groups, our students presented speeches they wrote for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to deliver before five different audiences.
The topic? The current violence in Syria.Read More
Genocide Case Study: the Holocaust Museum, Carl Wilkens, Ambassador James Kimonyo, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Dan Baer
The PBS documentary “Ghosts of Rwanda” has become something of a right of passage for SEGL students. Shown in preparation for our second case study of the semester, the film challenges students with difficult imagery and what many observers call the U.S. government’s failure to respond.Read More
One of the best parts of our flagship Ethics and Leadership class is the “Master Class.” Each cohort of SEGL students meets with dozens of guests over the course of the semester, gaining critical insights and skills from each one. When our guests go beyond Q & A, something particularly special happens. Our first Master Class of the semester occurred Friday after a week of learning about ethical theories, past and present. Read More
SEGL’s Spring 2012 semester is underway, and what an auspicious start! Our 22 students come from a wide array of backgrounds, and each one is clearly working to take full advantage of the SEGL experience.
What if you had only three weeks left in DC? How would you spend your time?
Our Fall 2011 students made the most of their post-Thanksgiving days.
SEGL students present capstone policy document on Burma to Ambassador Derek Mitchell, U.S Special Envoy on Burma
What did you do in school today? Yesterday, our students were at the State Department presenting their policy recommendations for Burma to Ambassador Derek Mitchell, the U.S. Special Envoy to Burma. Mitchell is the highest ranking State Department official working on Burma.Read More
Three Star General John F. Kelly talks with SEGL students at Arlington National Cemetery on Veteran’s Day
Each Veteran’s Day our students meet with military leaders to discuss the life and sacrifices of military life. This year’s conversation was particularly poignant. It took place at Arlington National Cemetery with Lieutenant General John F. Kelly, the highest-ranking military officer to lose a child in the Iraq or Afghanistan conflicts. Read More
SEGL students and faculty had a brush with international music stardom this morning when Sudanese rap artist Emmanual Jal joined us for a private concert, motivational talk, and Q and A session. Read More
What if you could design your own case study? Our students confronted this question over the last two weeks during what is fast becoming an SEGL signature experience: the Odyssey.Read More
Our Second Annual Homecoming Weekend was a great success! About half of our graduates, along with scores of parents, board members, friends, and current students and teachers, shared a memorable two days in DC.Read More
At our Homecoming Gala on Saturday, October 15, 2011 we will inaugurate a new annual tradition: The SEGL “Golden Mug” Award. We are delighted to report that our graduates have voted Egil “Bud” Krogh as our first honoree. Krogh, a former Nixon White House official who is Senior Fellow and Chair on Leadership, Ethics, and Integrity at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, will be in attendance to receive the award from our graduates.
SEGL students sit in on Congressional Hearing with Ben Bernanke; meet Director of House Budget Committee
The National Debt. According to some estimates, the next generation of American leaders stands to inherit at least $14.5 trillion dollars in debt. And there is no consensus on how to stop our borrowing and spending. Our students faced this monumental task in our final week before the Columbus Day holiday.Read More
Former State Department Chief Speechwriter Lissa Muscatine; Silver Star winner Elliot Ackerman visits SEGL for Master Classes
Imagine writing a speech about the current crisis in Libya. Then imagine Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Chief of Speechwriting critiquing that speech. This was our task this week in Ethics and Leadership class.Read More
Last week was a busy one at SEGL, as students tackled their biggest assignment yet: a concise, meticulously-researched policy memo on U.S. HIV/AIDS policy. Students presented and defended these policy memos before Ambassador Mark Dybul, the Bush Administration’s Global AIDS coordinator.Read More
SEGL Students Meet with AIPAC and American Task Force on Palestine leaders; Visit Holocaust Museum for Special Tour
This week we confront one of the most challenging topics in the world: the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Read More
This week was one of the more fulfilling case studies in SEGL’s history. After a Monday morning session that got students reflecting on differences within our community (political, racial, socio-economic, geographic, and more), we spent time on Tuesday evening’s Flex period (the evening without homework before Ethics and Leadership Wednesdays provides an extra opportunity for learning) watching and discussing the PBS documentary Ghosts of Rwanda. The film outlines, in stark interviews and compelling images, the horrifying genocide that cost nearly 1 million Rwandans their lives.
Our first week is complete, and it is hard to imagine a more promising start to our Fall 2011 semester.Read More
Windswept, wet, and none the worse for wear, the 21 students of Fall 2011 are here, and they are fantastic. Hailing from California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and Vermont, they have already distinguished themselves by their enthusiasm, conviviality, and thoughtfulness.Read More
What can eight students from an extraordinary set of backgrounds accomplish in seven days? Our inaugural cohort of Summer at SEGL students found out last week in a jam-packed, enlightening, and meaningful session.Read More
“Hark, what fine change is in the music!” – Two Gentlemen of Verona
Join us on May 21 to hear how our young leaders are creating a better world!
Poets House*, 10 River Terrace, New York, NY
Saturday, May 21, 2011
On the afternoon of April 11, 2011, at 2nd and Constitution Avenue, there was a protest against Congress’s decision (as part of a budget deal) not to allow government-subsidized abortions for low-income women in the District, even though the DC government approved them and uses its own tax money to pay for them. Mayor Vincent Gray and several members of the City Council, as well as many others, sat down in the street and refused to move; they were then arrested by Capitol Police.Read More
If you were to walk into the SEGL Director’s Office, you would soon notice a prominently displayed photograph. The picture (left) shows the civil rights legend John Lewis in a tan overcoat at the front of a long line of protestors who have just crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge on the now-famous Selma-to-Montgomery March on March 7, 1965: “Bloody Sunday.” On the other side of the photograph, Alabama state troopers are walking toward the marchers with nightsticks and tear gas, ready to injure the protesters. In the middle of the frame, journalists look on at history, snapping photographs.
On Wednesday, SEGL students spoke with Lewis, now a ten-time Congressman from Atlanta and an elder statesman of the Civil Rights movement. He spent an hour with us in his office, telling stories and answering questions about America’s past–and current–struggles with civil rights. Read More
Should the government cut funding for organizations (at home and abroad) that provide abortion services? Congress is debating this issue vigorously this month, with passionate speeches from both sides of the aisle. We are doing the same at SEGL. Our featured expert this week was Lissa Muscatine, who retired as Senior Adviser and Chief of Speechwriting at the State Department in October. A longtime Clinton aide, Muscatine was responsible for authoring countless speeches, including Hillary Clinton’s famous 1995 “Women’s Rights are Human Rights” oration in China.Read More
How do you respond to evil? This was the question students wrestled with as we tackled our latest case study on responding to genocide. The case study brought out strong feelings and also great hopefulness.Read More
This week our students tackled the global HIV/AIDS crisis. The case study, which required embassy visits (the Dominican Republic, India, South Africa, Namibia, and Malawi), extensive research, and the authoring of a policy memo, culminated in a two-hour Master Class with Ambassador Mark Dybul. Dr. Dybul was the leading mind behind the creation of PEPFAR, the largest allocation any country has ever made to combat a single disease. For the final three years of the Bush Administration, he guided PEPFAR as the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, earning bipartisan praise for his effectiveness.Read More
However, a recent issue with our email server might have prevented some of your emails from reaching us. We have solved this problem, and we want to make sure no one fell through the cracks.Read More
Each semester several of our most distinguished guest experts teach “Master Classes” to our students. Former Nixon White House official Egil “Bud” Krogh taught our first Master Class of the semester (taught in two parts) last week.
Bud, who is one of a handful of speakers to meet each SEGL class, famously served as the Director of Nixon’s infamous White House “Plumbers,” whom the President charged with “plugging” the Pentagon Papers “leak.” Bud authorized the break-in at Dr. Lewis Fielding’s office, a decision that many historians feel led directly to Watergate and the downfall of the Nixon Administration.Read More
At SEGL, we are watching the events in the Middle East unfold with great interest. Students are sending links to news articles, watching Al-Jazeera English in-between classes, and requesting more information. And the learning extends into the classroom as well.
Too often schools ignore world events that will shape the lives of their students. Tackling these events inside the classroom is challenging in a world of high-stakes testing and cutthroat college admissions. The subject matter is also often outside the comfort zone of teachers. But by refusing to discuss global issues in depth, our schools tell our students they are not important. At SEGL, our intellectually entrepreneurial staff, our flexible schedule, and our firm mission allow us to learn about these events together while maintaining the integrity of our rigorous academic program.Read More
To what extent and how should the United States encourage China to grow in an environmentally sustainable manner?
Yesterday, as part of our first case study on China and climate change, we welcomed the first guest expert of the semester: U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern. Stern is the lead State Department expert on climate change, and he is the lead negotiator in global warming conversations with China and other nations. Read More
What do Alaska, California, Georgia, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, and Washington have in common? Each of these states contributed at least one student to our amazing Spring 2011 cohort. That cohort arrived on Saturday and has already begun to distinguish itself for its collegiality and enthusiasm.Read More
Excited to spend a semester at SEGL during the 2011-2012 school year? Fantastic.
Download an application from our Apply page and get started today. In fact, why don’t you contact us to let us know you are thinking about applying? We’re happy to answer any questions you might have.Read More
SEGL has grown tremendously over the past few years, and so has our website to-do list. After a long planning period we have finally crafted a new website to take us to the next level. Here’s a quick list of some new great features:Read More
The air is chilly this week as we head into our final two weeks together. We have experienced so much together this semester and the final two weeks are shaping up to be particularly special.
One of the semester’s most memorable visits came a week before the Thanksgiving Break, on Veteran’s Day. The day was sunny and crisp, with the autumn leaves rustling the trees and security tight in anticipation of the Vice President’s visit. Read More
There are many reasons why SEGL is the ultimate semester school for you. Here are ten of them.
- You will live and learn in the center of America’s political universe, Washington, DC.
- You get to learn from and talk to today’s national and international leaders.
- You will have the chance to tackle many of today’s most pressing issues.
- You are surrounded by peers that are as interested in changing the world as you are.
- You will hone ethical thinking skills that will give you the ability to make fair and just decisions.Read More
We returned from the October Long Weekend in time to begin two fantastic new SEGL traditions: Homecoming Weekend and the Ethics and Leadership class Odyssey. The first tradition brought nearly half of our first year graduates back to DC (many more attended our “virtual reunion”), along with dozens of parents, board members, faculty, and friends. The second tradition brought a new level of reflection and practical leadership skills into our curriculum.Read More
As we return from a short fall break there is anticipation in the still-warm fall air. Our Homecoming Weekend begins in a few days, and many of our first year graduates will be returning for a packed weekend of activities and fun.
The last two weeks brought two of our most difficult case studies of the semester. We first tackled the issue of women’s rights in Afghanistan. As the U.S. and Afghan governments contemplate reconciliation with the Taliban, many observers worry that women’s rights (which were dismantled under the Taliban) will recede. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, long viewed as a strong advocate for women’s rights, has the challenging task of balancing these imperatives.Read More
Imagine you are a member of Congress, trying to explain to your constituents why you just voted to send billions of dollars overseas to fight HIV/AIDS. Your constituents are angry. Why send money halfway around the world, they ask, when there are enormous problems right here at home? When thousands of your constituents are themselves battling HIV?Read More
The last two weeks have passed by quickly, and the leaves outside our academic building are slowly turning toward fall. DC is feeling more and more like home to our students, and the piece of the city they will take back with them in December is growing exponentially.
Our second case study this semester, “Leadership in times of crisis,” gave us the opportunity to meet several historical figures, and to see how these leaders applied their ethical beliefs in the most difficult real world situations.Read More
Our first full week is finished and our students are already building intellectual and interpersonal memories that will endure far beyond the semester.Read More
Our second year began in earnest yesterday and already the semester promises to be incredible. Eight states are represented this semester; in addition, four of our students were not born in the United States. Half of our students are of color, and half receive significant financial assistance. More important, each is articulate, thoughtful, collaborative, and great fun.Read More
America needs a new kind of leader. It needs leaders who are literate in the critical challenges facing our world. It needs leaders who can navigate with integrity the ambiguities of modern business, law, medicine, domestic politics, and international relations. It needs thoughtful activists, passionate social entrepreneurs, and relentless humanitarians.
If we show a talented, motivated cohort of young Americans how to be this kind of leader, that group will create currents of hopeful, infectious, and powerful change throughout the world.
The best time for this sort of inspiration is the junior year of high school: the critical moment just as young people are gaining the ability to think seriously about complex ideas. If we catch promising students at this moment and challenge them with new information, new questions, and new possibilities, we can help motivate these young people to change the world.
The School for Ethics and Global Leadership presents a compelling, unique opportunity to do just that.