Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts International Crisis Management Course

Course Partners

Dan Whitman, PhD, Foreign Service Officer (ret.)

In collaboration with 

Foreign Policy Research Institute, Philadelphia (FPRI)

Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES), George Washington University

The Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI) and partners are excited to announce the upcoming International Crisis Management certificate course for Ukrainian university students. Others may join by separate arrangements.


A committee from the partner organizations will select 50 students, who will be candidates for certificates of participation. The course is free of charge and will be conducted online through Zoom. Others are encouraged to follow the sessions as auditors/observers. Registered students will attend sessions, take notes, maintain weekly readings, and submit 5-6 short reflection papers, an After-Action Report, and a short final project. Estimated preparation time of 4-6 hours per week outside of class. The course calls for 8 hours of work per week, for 12 weeks. Candidates should have comprehension and writing skills in English.

To apply for full participation (readings, assignments, final paper):

  • Ukrainians registered in Ukrainian universities: o Please submit a statement of interest, and CV, to Dan Whitman at and Ann Hart at no later than July 31, 2023.
  • Registered students and auditors in cooperating universities in other countries: Please apply directly to your university mentor.
  • For auditors in other countries: Please send a brief email to Ann Hart and Dan Whitman stating the reason you wish to be included.


 Not all human and natural disasters yield “resolution.” Effective planning requires a clear description of the challenge, and a stated vision of the desired outcome, sometimes called the “endpoint” or “End State.” In cases of conflict, planners must understand the motives of the opposing force, even when the latter is committing criminal acts.

The course engages students in simulated task force operations, drawing on real life situations adapted for the classroom.  Scenarios will put the student in the position of analyzing and addressing crisis situations within working groups. Active class participation is essential.


  • • Understand the nature and recent history of international politics and conflict.
  • • Gain an overview of theory and practice of foreign policy formulation and implementation.
  • • Develop analytical skills needed to assess major global and regional foreign policy challenges.
  • • Practice international legal advocacy in peaceful settlement of disputes.
  • • Conduct simulations drawn from recent crisis management approaches by the US, UN, and other policy makers.


Sessions begin September 12, 2023, and will take place Mondays and Thursdays at 1700 Ukraine time (1000 Washington), for 75 minutes. Alternating sessions will include lecture/discussion sessions, usually Mondays; and selected speakers, usually Thursdays.


  • Conflict/strategy – Definition and examination of each. From the origins – Sun Tzu, Clausewitz, Tolstoy – to the Grand Strategies of the Cold War (George F. Kennan and “The Long Telegram”) – to the present (Sir Lawrence Freedman).
  • Simulation – A real-time role play requiring quick research in a simulated crisis. Courtesy the U.S. Department of State’s National Museum of American Diplomacy. • Public Diplomacy – A discussion of the history and objectives of “PD,” and demonstrate public information strategy. “Hard, soft, smart power” (Joseph Nye).
  • Disinformation – Tracking the history and technique of disinformation, with available technologies for countering it.
  • Principles of International Law – Conducted by professors from Yaroslav Mudryi University, Kharkiv.
  • Managing an Embassy – A brief history of diplomacy, protocol, intra-organizational communication, management.  ICS process (State Department Integrated Country Strategies for U.S. embassies abroad).