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 51 articles

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.
Denver public school teachers went on strike on Feb. 11 and successfully eliminated a controversial bonus-based pay system. David Zalubowski/AP

Striking teachers in Denver shut down performance bonuses – here’s how that will impact education

Through a three-day strike, Denver teachers got rid of a bonus-based pay system that they say was unfair. An education policy expert explains what the end of bonus-based pay means for Denver schools.
Trump before delivering the State of the Union address with Pelosi and Pence. Doug Mills/The New York Times/Pool via REUTERS

Immigration, legislation, investigation and child poverty: 4 scholars respond to Trump’s State of the Union

Four scholars weigh in on President Donald Trump's State of the Union speech, exploring his statements on immigration, childhood poverty, the border wall and the investigations into his campaign.
Destiny Watford and other Baltimore youth leaders derailed plans to build a big incinerator in their neighborhood. The Goldman Environmental Prize

3 ways to make your voice heard besides protesting

Showing up at school board meetings might not sound as exciting as marching in the streets. But it can be an effective way to change things at the local level.
When subsistence farmers become climate refugees, who will help them pay the cost of relocation? gregorioa/Shutterstock.com

Foundations are making climate change a bigger priority

The $4 billion that foundations are pledging to spend within five years amounts to less than 1 percent of what businesses and governments spend on global warming every year.
A pot of flowers adorned with a cross hangs from the picket fence where University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard was tied, beaten and left for dead in October 1998. Gary Caskey/Reuters

Out of Matthew Shepard’s tragic murder, a commitment to punishing hate crimes emerged

Twenty years ago, Matthew Shepard was brutally murdered for being gay. A lawyer who helped implement hate crime legislation in Shepard's name reflects on its strengths and limitations.
Keluarga para korban Bom Bali 2002 berpelukan dalam peringatan 10 tahun serangan mematikan yang membunuh orang-orang terdekat mereka di Bali tahun 2012. Serangan teroris di Kuta, Bali membunuh 202 orang, 88 di antara mereka adalah warga negara Australia. Made Nagi/EPA

17 tahun sejak kejadian 9/11, mengapa Al-Qaeda masih kuat?

Gempuran dahsyat dari AS belum dapat menghancurkan kelompok teroris tersebut. Apa rahasia Al-Qaeda?

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