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American University School of Public Affairs

The School of Public Affairs at American University has a storied legacy that informs our values and approach.

In 1934, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt began implementing New Deal programs that sought to increase “practical contacts between the collegiate and educational world, and the operations of government.” He believed that the collaboration of academia and public service would result in better decision-making, not only for Depression-era American, but also for future generations to come. From FDR’s vision, American University’s School of Public Affairs was born.

Over the last 80+ years, SPA has cultivated a culture of excellence. Our personalized teaching and experiential education transform the student experience. We empower those who seek knowledge to conduct and produce research. And we promote engagement to build a bridge between academic thought and policy planning - inspiring change in the world.

Today, with 1,800 current students and 23,000+ alumni, SPA continues to tackle complex issues with thoughtful research that educates, informs, and promotes change across a multitude of fields.

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Displaying 1 - 20 of 64 articles

Honduran and Cuban migrants cross the Rio Grande River on the U.S.-Mexico border, June 26, 2019. Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Cuba’s economic woes may fuel America’s next migrant crisis

The dire conditions that brought waves of Cubans to the US in the 1980s and 1990s are again escalating on the communist island, provoked by Trump-era sanctions and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Is Sen. Marco Rubio, espousing a polished populism, the future of the GOP? Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A less Trumpy version of Trumpism might be the future of the Republican Party

Donald Trump's ticket to the White House was a coarse version of populism. Will his successors in the GOP be different – or simply present a more polished version of his antagonistic rhetoric?
In Atlanta, people gather to dance and celebrate the election of Joe Biden as the next president. AP Photo/Brynn Anderson

How Joe Biden did so well in Georgia

A set of efforts that registered 800,000 new voters since 2018 may have been the key to Georgia turning blue in a presidential election for the first time since 1992.
La sénatrice de Californie Kamala Harris est la colistière du candidat démocrate Joe Biden, en lice pour la présidentielle américaine de 2020. SAUL LOEB / AFP

Avec Kamala Harris, Joe Biden espère recueillir les votes des jeunes Noirs américains

Les résultats d’une enquête récente montrent que la participation électorale des Noirs américains de moins de 30 ans aura un rôle déterminant dans la présidentielle américaine.
Will young, Black Americans turn out to vote in November? Probal Rashid/LightRocket via Getty Images

Young Black Americans not sold on Biden, the Democrats or voting

It's a myth that Black voters represent monolithic support for Democrats. A recent survey shows that young Black Americans in swing states have big reservations about Joe Biden, Democrats and voting.
Life Care Center in Washington state was at the center of the U.S. outbreak back in early March. AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Why some nursing homes are better than others at protecting residents and staff from COVID-19

While nursing homes have accounted for more than half of COVID-19 deaths in some states, they've barely been a factor in others. Three experts explain why.
Top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine William Taylor, left, and Foreign Service officer George Kent are sworn in before the House Intelligence Committee during the first public impeachment hearing. AP/Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool Photo

Impeachment: Two quotes that defined the first day of public hearings

The first day of public impeachment testimony was defined, in part, by strongly worded statements from Representatives Adam Schiff and Devin Nunes.
Can a country move ahead when its citizens hold dueling facts? Shutterstock

From ‘Total exoneration!’ to ‘Impeach now!’ – the Mueller report and dueling fact perceptions

How can a community decide the direction it should go, if its members cannot even agree on where they are? Two political scientists say the growing phenomenon of dueling facts threatens democracy.
Airlines that fly into Cuba’s main airport could now be sued for profiting off of property confiscated during the country’s 1959 revolution. AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa, File

Trump declares economic war on Cuba

The Trump administration has declared the most severe new sanctions against Cuba since President John F. Kennedy imposed an economic embargo banning all trade with the communist island in 1962.
Three British teenagers, including Shamima Begum, center, left the U.K. to join the Islamic State in 2015. Begum wants to return home now. AP/Metropolitan Police

Is it more dangerous to let Islamic State foreign fighters from the West return or prevent them from coming back?

Many of the men and women who left homes in the West to join ISIS or similar terrorist organizations in Syria and Iraq as fighters or supporters now want to come home. Should they be allowed back?
A new bill to provide affordable child care for working families faces an uphill battle in Congress. Rawpixel from www.shutterstock.com

Why Congress needs to make child care more affordable – 5 questions answered

Working class families have struggled for years to afford quality child care. Could the newly proposed Child Care for Working Families Act make a difference? A child care policy scholar weighs in.
If Cuban exiles can sue businesses operating in Cuba, it could affect flights to the country, like this JetBlue landing in Havana. AP/Desmond Boylan

Trump may seek more punishment of Cuba

Cuban exiles in the US may soon be able to sue companies that use property seized from them in the Cuban revolution. If Trump moves to allow that, it could slow economic development in Cuba.

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