Field Intensives

The NYU School of Professional Studies CGA Global Field Intensives offer low student-to-faculty ratios and afford students an intellectually rigorous experience in the classroom and in the field. Students in good academic standing in the MS in Global Affairs program are eligible to apply for these field intensives, which are listed by region.

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Ghana: A Case Study in Development

Ghana was the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to gain independence from colonial rule, but it has endured political upheaval, military rule, and economic collapse. Despite significant political and economic reform, more than a third of the Ghanaian people still live in poverty. This field intensive examines multiple dimensions of development—economic, political, environmental, social, cultural, and regional. In partnership with the NYU Ghana Center, students visit development projects and organizations and use briefings and individual field research to develop their study.

South Africa: Challenges of Transformation

The world celebrated South Africa’s swift transition from apartheid to democracy in the 1990s. Nelson Mandela brought magnanimity to the office of president, and the hearings before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission exposed the cruelty of racism and wrongdoings by all parties. But the fairytale ending collided with high expectations abroad and the intractable problems of poverty, inequality, AIDS, and crime at home. In the years since apartheid's end, South Africans have struggled to transform their society. This field intensive is designed to explore the political, justice, economic, regional, and social challenges they face.

China: China's Reemergence: The Changing Political, Economic, and Social Landscape

Its increasing global economic influence has thrust China onto the world stage, and along with its BRIC counterparts (Brazil, Russia, and India), it is at the forefront in seeking greater involvement with the developed countries of the world.

Students visit Shanghai, Hangzhou, Suzhou, and Beijing to meet with leaders from both the public and private sectors, along with leading academics. They engage and study the enormous political, economic, and social changes taking place in the world's most populous country and deepen their perspective and understanding of the new global order that is evolving on the world stage.

Delhi and Mumbai: The Two Worlds of India: Poverty and the Economic Rise of "New India"
Over the past two decades, India's economic reforms have spurred a period of unprecedented economic growth, and India has become the fourth largest economy in the world. Despite this, government reports indicate that some 645 million Indians lived below the poverty line in 2010, and this growing division challenges the nation's capacity to meet demands for development among the Indian poor. Students examine the political economy of development in India in an era of open markets, including the traditional role of economic institutions in governance, and the new sources of power and change that have emerged with the reforms, including NGOs and microfinance institutions.

Moscow: Security, Stress, and Stability in the New Russia

Even today Russia represents a complex of paradoxes. Its economy, in desperate need of modernization, is nonetheless a powerhouse in Eurasia. It has the institutions of democracy, yet many of the instincts of authoritarianism. Moscow is a perfect reflection of these paradoxes, a high-energy global city still shadowed by its Soviet past. This GFI explores contemporary Russia and its role in the world. How far do concerns about domestic and international security drive Russia's political evolution? Does its role as an energy exporter to the world provide it with security, or is it a threat to the country's long-term development? Is Russia a police state or a haven of transnational criminality?

Vietnam: An ASEAN Case Study

The Vietnam GFI provides a lens through which students can study other ASEAN countries and their changing roles on the global stage. During this field intensive, students research and evaluate Vietnam's rise from a war-torn country to a growing presence in the international arena, and they analyze the economic, political, and social challenges to assess the country's outlook. Students meet with representatives of multinational corporations, NGOs, trade and business associations as well as major foreign contractors and government officials. Visits to major political and cultural sites are also included.

Bolivia: A Case Study in Sustainable Development

Students research sustainable development in the fascinating, little-known South American nation of Bolivia, which has the highest percentage of indigenous people in the western hemisphere. This economically poor but ecologically and culturally rich country is landlocked between BRIC powerhouse Brazil, to the east, and fast-developing Chile, to the west. Students visit key regions for their projects that include meetings with government officials, NGOs, private companies, indigenous populations, and representatives of agricultural, environmental, and urban development projects.

Chile: Democracy of Institutions and Social Market-Friendly Development

Chile is a positive—but imperfect—Latin American case study of democratic consolidation, economic development, and poverty reduction under a market friendly model with strong democratic institutions. Students examine the Chilean miracle in the context of the successes and failures of post-Pinochet Chile. Speakers include researchers at national think tanks; social science, history, and economics scholars from private and public institutions; government officials (technical positions rather than political appointees) that have designed and implemented different policies; and public intellectuals.

Cuba: An Intercambio

Students examine unique approaches to development and economic and social reform in a Caribbean context. In Havana, students work in collaboration with the Ludwig Foundation Center to translate academic discussion into an in-depth field study and gain exclusive exposure to an "inside out" perspective of a country that is most often viewed by Americans from the "outside in." The program includes organized lectures and meetings at local organizations and educational institutions. Site visits allow direct access to research topics such as sustainable agriculture, cultural preservation, and the development of private enterprise and social entrepreneurship.

Geneva: International Organizations: A Focus on the UN in Geneva

Geneva is the European headquarters of the United Nations, the primary seat of many specialized and affiliated agencies, and global responsibilities. Students meet at the Palais des Nations, where they are briefed by senior UN officials, diplomats, key representatives of governments, and non-governmental organizations on such topics as human rights, refugees, peace and security, world health, world trade, development, women and gender, international labor issues, and humanitarian assistance. Students examine the effectiveness, strengths, and limitations of all of these organizations while assessing the impact of future challenges and of political forces on the realization of their goals. 

The Hague/Sarajevo/Belgrade: War Crimes Prosecutions in the Former Yugoslavia: The Pitfalls and Promise of International Justice

During the 1990s, in the three horrific wars that occurred in the former Yugoslavia, mass ethnically motivated crimes were committed, resulting in hundreds of thousands of victims. In 1993, the UN Security Council created the first ad hoc international tribunal to bring some justice for victims of war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity. Today, domestic courts in the former Yugoslavia are also pursuing such cases. Students examine international justice through the successes and failures of these international and local tribunals. They also assess the non-prosecutorial methods by which former enemies attempt to ascertain the truth of the crimes, reform their institutions, and attempt to achieve reconciliation.

Prague: Prague and Beyond: Security and Transition in Central Europe

How and when are countries able to recreate themselves, and what determines how successful such changes can be? Students consider these issues, using the Czech Republic as a case study, through the prism of security, conceptualized broadly. How far, for example, were the Central European transitions influenced by fears of Russian imperialism and interference? Are these new nations able to address crucial human and economic security challenges, from transnational crime and people trafficking to the influx of dirty money and a dependence on Russian energy supplies? Briefings are held with policy makers, journalists, diplomats, business people, academics, and NGO staff.