Leaders in Higher Education
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Reşat Kasaba, Director
University of Washington, Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies
“Developing a comprehensive, historical understanding of a particular region can be very helpful for international affairs professionals,” says Reşat Kasaba, director of the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington. “Regional expertise helps with the big questions and with thematic issues.”
Long known for its regional studies programs, the Jackson School has origins going back to an Asian studies program founded by linguists in 1909.
In recent years, the school has also placed growing emphasis on thematic issues, such as environmental studies, global health, human rights, international migration, and more. Kasaba, an expert in the history and politics of the Middle East, has been a faculty member for more than 30 years and understands the power of regional expertise in addressing thematic issues.
“Students are interested in understanding and changing the world. We want to make sure what we offer will be useful, even in an unstable world,” Kasaba says. Jackson School students often combine regional expertise with training in skills such as data analysis, management, and presentation.
Seven of the Jackson School’s 10 master’s degree programs focus on area studies: the MA programs in China Studies; Japan Studies; Korean Studies; Middle East Studies; Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies; South Asian Studies; and Southeast Asian Studies. The school also offers an MA in Comparative Religion, a general MA in International Studies, and a 10-month MA in Applied International Studies (MAAIS) for students who have at least five years of professional experience.
Four years ago, the Jackson School introduced the MAAIS program and a PhD program.
“We want to prepare our graduates to work effectively at the intersections of the business, government, and nonprofit sectors. In today’s world, these intersections are where we are seeing new, innovative solutions being built to solve the world’s most difficult challenges,” says Jennifer Butte-Dahl, director of the MAAIS program.
The PhD Program is one of the first in the nation to combine a new cross-disciplinary approach with intensive area studies. Its applied emphasis prepares graduates for careers in international aid organizations and more.
The regional studies MA and PhD programs examine issues in a historical and social sciences context. For example, Kasaba, an expert in the history and politics of the Middle East, teaches courses covering economic history, state-society relations, migration, ethnicity and nationalism, urban history in the Middle East, and more.
Jackson School students also take advantage of the school’s location: Seattle is home to Microsoft, Boeing, Amazon, Starbucks, and other leading companies, as well as many globally oriented nonprofit organizations and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest private foundation. Students often work in small groups on applied research projects with local partners. Such projects enhance students’ wide range of internship and career opportunities locally, nationally, and around the globe.
“This is an exciting time for careers in international affairs,” says Kasaba, who also serves as president of the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs (APSIA). “Uncertainties in government policies and negative messages, such as the defunding of U.S. State Department programs, are creating a need to find new ways of dealing with global challenges.”
Graduate Degree Program Options:
MA in International Studies:
• MA–China Studies
• MA–Comparative Religion
• MA–International Studies
• MA–Japan Studies
• MA–Korea Studies
• MA–Middle East Studies
• MA–Russian, East European, and Central Asian Studies
• MA–South Asian Studies
• MA–Southeast Asian Studies
• MA in Applied International Studies (mid-career)
Visit the Request Info page to receive information from the schools.
Bottom photo credit: Katherine B. Turner
- Leaders in Higher Education
- Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)
- Georgetown University, Walsh School of Foreign Service
- Stanford University, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
- Texas A&M University, Bush School of Government and Public Service
- New York University School of Professional Studies, Center for Global Affairs
- UC San Diego, School of Global Policy and Strategy
- University of Denver, Josef Korbel School of International Studies
- University of Washington, Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies
- Arizona State University, Center on the Future of War
- Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies
- Syracuse University, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs; and Center for Strategic and International Studies
- University of Kent, Brussels School of International Studies
- Sciences Po, Paris School of International Affairs
- Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA)
- The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University
- University of Notre Dame, Keough School of Global Affairs
- Arizona State University, Thunderbird School of Global Management