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Pepperdine School of Public Policy Students Attend Closed Middle East and Islamic World Working Group Event in Washington, DC

Right is Russell Berman, middle is Kiron Skinner, left is Joel Rayburn

On Tuesday, December 12, Pepperdine School of Public Policy students Sophie Collins and Talar Haidossian were invited to a closed policy working group hosted by the Hoover Institute in Washington, DC. The Middle East and the Islamic World Working Group is a cohort of policy experts assembled by the Hoover Institute for the purpose of discussing the Middle East as “both a region and a culture, while also addressing challenges outside the Middle East itself.” The opportunity demonstrates the School of Public Policy’s strong emphasis on a seamless integration from the classroom to the workplace by learning and experiencing the philosophical and historical foundations of policymaking and the real-world implementation of those ideas. 

This event, titled "American Grand Strategy—and the Middle East Today," was led by Hoover senior fellow and Stanford professor of humanities Russell A. Burman and featured a variety of field experts including former White House staff as well as State Department and Defense Department officials. Among the visiting speakers was Kiron Skinner, Taube Professor of International Relations and Politics at the Pepperdine School of Public Policy, and Andrew Peek, former National Security Council senior director for European and Russian affairs. Skinner and Peek presented on the questions “How can the State Department be more effective?” and “How do the Pentagon and Congress steer foreign policy?” A detailed discussion by members followed. 

Haidossian, who is set to graduate in April 2024, was a student in Professor Skinner's class “US International Politics: Past is Prologue” this spring. 

“It was an honor being in a room of experts of high caliber discussing current and potential grand foreign policy strategies for the Middle East,” said Haidossian, who is specializing in international relations and national security. “The discussions were thought-provoking and enriching. Of special interest to me was the way the arguments were structured and stayed true to the geopolitical context of the region. This experience broadened my perspectives and clarified my passion to pursue a career in foreign policy. Thank you to Dr. Kiron Skinner for giving me this opportunity and to the Hoover Institute for hosting.”