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February 3, 2012

Did You Know?: Seminar in Global Policy Issues

GPRI seminar

Students talk to Arden Bement Jr. (right), chief global affairs officer for Purdue and director of Purdue's Global Policy Research Institute, and Dennis Depew, professor and former dean of the College of Technology, during a session of GPRI's Seminar in Global Policy Issues. Bement and Depew are lead instructors of the seminar, which educates students on topics such as climate change, invasive species, pandemics and terrorism. (Purdue University photo/Mark Simons)
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Purdue's Global Policy Research Institute (GPRI), in partnership with the College of Technology, offers students the chance to learn about global policy from an assortment of perspectives.

In GPRI's Seminar in Global Policy Issues, 18 co-instructors are collaborating to educate students on topics such as climate change, invasive species, pandemics and terrorism. Topics will focus on the seven GPRI theme areas of agriculture, economy, environment, energy, health, security, and society and leadership.

Each spring semester, faculty members are invited to co-instruct the class along with lead instructors Arden Bement Jr., chief global affairs officer for Purdue and director of GPRI, and Dennis Depew, professor and former dean of the College of Technology. Faculty co-instructors are encouraged to audit the class to help retain the seminar's focus.

"GPRI has three pillars -- research, outreach and education. This course is a critical element of the education pillar," Bement says. "The international and disciplinary diversity of the instructors provides a rich source of learning in discussing different perspectives and alternative policy options."

In addition to lectures, students have the opportunity to prepare and defend their own research. Every student team is tasked with a grand challenge policy theme for which they must prepare a presentation and field questions. Bement says the opportunity to create an analysis and then defend it is just one part of a necessary repertoire for Purdue graduates interested in policymaking.

"This course provides valuable background for students seeking career leadership opportunities in academic, governmental and international positions," Bement says. "In these positions, an interest and understanding of global issues is absolutely essential."

In addition to the academic course, GPRI also offers the Global Connections Lecture Series , which brings world-renowned speakers involved with policymaking to West Lafayette. The lecture series, which is open and free to the public, gives the opportunity to hear unique perspectives on topics in the headlines. GPRI will welcome its next guest lecturer, Jordan's former ambassador to the United States, Marwan Muasher, at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 20 in Stewart Center's Fowler Hall.