Consulting Practicums

Giving students applied learning opportunities with real-world partners.

Consulting practicums place students in real world situations, working under faculty supervision for the United Nations, the U.S. State Department, non-governmental organizations, and private firms on projects of immediate importance. These practicums exist across our eight concentrations, are full credit bearing, and have become a key element in our commitment to bridge classroom learning with practical applications.


Consulting Practicums

Practicum Partner: Counter Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED) of the United Nations

For the Counter Terrorism Executive Directorate CTED) of the United Nations, CGA has collaborated on 16 projects over the last 8 years, on a range of terrorism and counter terrorism topics. They include ISIS use of social media to recruit and incite; how UN member states deal with terrorist fighters returning from Iraq and Syria; how the UN can work with the private sector and academic institutions to track emerging terrorist threats; the role of technology in countering terrorist threats; and currently, the rise of right-wing terrorism and member state responses. 

Deliverables are shaped by our UN client needs. We have written papers, held workshops and conferences, delivered briefings, and built processes for collaborating with non-UN experts, firms and state political actors. These deliverables have shaped UN Security Council resolutions, made their way into CTED briefings for member states and other UN bodies, and helped CTED keep abreast of emerging trends and disseminate these trend reports to their global network of experts.

Our project for the spring 2022 semester, a continuation of the fall 2021 project, was to construct alternate scenarios for the future of Afghanistan. The scenarios were structured around internal, regional and global drivers of change, and depicted three distinct futures ranging from a consolidation of Taliban governance, to a fragmentation of the state, to state failure. Each scenario described a different terrorism landscape, and the types of counter-terrorism challenges CTED and UN members would face in each scenario. The research was based on a thorough search of the literature, including an examination of Afghan social media, and a half day workshop of twenty experts from around the world.

Practicum Partner: Institute for Healing of Memories

Project: Building Sustainable Peace

In close cooperation with IHOM’s Executive Director, students conduct research and analysis of current and past peacebuilding and reconciliation processes and practices in IHOM’s current focus countries—Bosnia Herzegovina, DRC, Nepal, and the US—specific to current IHOM projects that focus on trauma healing, capacity-building, women’s self-empowerment, child soldiers, adverse childhood experiences, sexual violence in the US military, and the ethnic/religious composition of a country’s political institutions.

Deliverables were determined by our client’s needs, principally the objective to facilitate effective trauma healing and healing of memory workshops, and included three reference/background chapters for IHOM workshop facilitators, and two workshop intake surveys for women survivors of sexual violence in the DRC, in partnership with the DRC-based NGO, Heal Africa.


Practicum Partner: Global Network of Women Peacebuilders

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Project: Investigating Challenges in Gender-responsive Peacebuilding

These are research projects investigating questions posed by the client.  The client provides students with knowledge, information and guidance to shape research methodology, and increase their understanding of the gender dimensions of peacebuilding. In 2019, students developed an analysis of 51 peace agreements to assess the impact of gender-sensitive provisions on women’s post-conflict economic and political inclusion in the years after the signing of the peace deal. In 2020, they studied the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the activism of women peacebuilders in Colombia, South Sudan, the southern Philippines, and Ukraine.  

Deliverables:  Research outputs include reports, infographics, and statistical analysis.  The 2019 research report:  'Gender-sensitive provisions in peace agreements and women’s political and economic inclusion post-conflict has been published online and picked up by the Council on Foreign Relations.  The 2020 report on the impact of COVID on women’s peace work was converted to an academic paper submitted to the Journal of Social Politics, and presented in international meetings including the 2021 UN Commission on the Status of Women.  The client uses the research findings in its advocacy work to obtain funding for women’s peace work in fragile states. The 2021 cohort produced a study of how young people, particularly young women, engage with national peacebuilding planning in Tunisia, Jordan, Iraq, the Philippines, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Nigeria. The study attracted interest from United Nations staff involved in advancing the global Youth, Peace, and Security agenda.

Practicum Partner: United States State Department, Global Engagement Center

Students work collaboratively on projects that center on the Global Engagement Center’s mission of exposing and countering state and non-state actor propaganda and disinformation that “undermines or influences the policies, security, or stability of the US and its allies and partner nations.” Previous projects have focused on identifying the nexus between state and non-state actor disinformation as it pertains to the rise of racially and ethnically motivated violent extremism, investigating what vulnerabilities make individuals and entire societies more susceptible to disinformation, mapping media literacy education and potential partners, responding to Islamist and far-right violent extremism in the Western Balkans, and countering radicalization and recruitment into terrorism in Somalia and Nigeria. Deliverables are determined in close consultation with the Global Engagement Center and have included infographics and reports that are disseminated across US government agencies and to US embassies and partners abroad to inform policy and practice. As the Global Engagement Center is an interagency body, participants also have the opportunity to share their findings with an inter-agency US government audience and relevant partners are brought into projects accordingly.


Practicum Partner: New York City Cyber Command

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Students provide hands-on research and consultation on a topic of critical importance to New York City Cyber Command (NYC3). NYC Cyber Command is a centralized organization created by NYC Executive Order to lead the City's cyber defense efforts, working across more than 100 agencies and offices to prevent, detect, respond, and recover from cyber threats. NYC Cyber Command is committed to protecting NYC infrastructure and critical systems from malicious attacks through the use of the latest technologies, public-private partnerships, and regular training and exercises for City employees.

Deliverables: Executive level recommendations for policies and procedures as well as action plans for how NYC3 can best provide cybersecurity services to the City of New York.

Practicum Partner: Department of Defense, Hacking for Defense

Description of Projects: unique and forward-thinking educational model engages teams of university students to solve some of the nation’s toughest national security and defense problems using Lean LaunchPad® principles. H4D is offered at premier private institutions of higher education, large public universities, and small public and private universities at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

H4D pushes students beyond their comfort zones and stretches them intellectually and practically as they navigate the difficulties that naturally arise from working in multidisciplinary teams into an unfamiliar (to many) field at a faster tempo than what is common in most university classes.

Government problem sponsors value the course for the perspective and ingenuity the students bring in responding to problems, often finding that input from the student teams allows them to arrive at a not-yet-thought-of solution.

More information can be found at the Hacking for Defense Website:

Hacking for Defense

Practicum Partner: MasterCard

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The Global Business Consulting Practicum allows students to work closely with leading companies that tackle global challenges, and to embark on action research that benefits the company, students, and society alike. Mastercard made a commitment to bring one billion people into the digital financial system by 2025. Alongside these efforts, the company aims to support 50 million small and micro-merchants and provide 25 million women entrepreneurs with solutions that help them to grow their businesses. This project focuses on Mastercard’s efforts in the financial inclusion, humanitarian/international development, and/or sustainability space, and students work on specific projects that are directly responsible for delivering the above-mentioned goals of the company. Students also benefit from immersive sessions with the directors of the CGA Global Economy, CGA Global Gender Studies, CGA International Development, and SPS Human Capital Management programs.  

Students work together as a team and conduct significant academic research with deliverables in the form of a report/white paper, including a set of practical recommendations. The project culminates with a presentation to Mastercard executives summarizing the key findings.

Practicum Partner: International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ)

The International Center for Transitional Justice Practicum gives students the opportunity to work with a pioneer in the promotion of transitional justice around the world. The ICTJ seeks to bring justice to societies emerging from armed conflict or repressive rule, striving to prevent the recurrence of violations and ensure the dignity of victims. It addresses the challenging task of putting the pieces of broken societies back together on a foundation of justice and rule of law. This requires exposing the truth about past atrocities, holding perpetrators accountable, providing reparations for victims, and fundamentally reforming the state and social institutions that allowed or participated in atrocities. To achieve these goals, the ICTJ partners with activists and victims, provides governments with advice and expertise, conducts innovative research, and convenes groundbreaking forums and discussions.

Students in the Practicum will aid these efforts by providing research, writing and analysis for current ICTJ projects, such as researching the modalities of victim participation and reparations in proceedings at different international justice institutions.


Practicum Partner: Manhattan District Attorney’s Office (DANY)

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Students work on a research-based project with important policy and practical implications in consultation with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office of New York (DANY). Previous projects included an investigation into the relationship between misogyny, mass violence, and violent extremism and the development of a practitioner friendly report on the involuntary celibate (incel) movement. Students are expected to summarize their findings in user friendly reports and/or infographics for dissemination to prosecutors, detectives, analysts, and DANY partners (FBI, NYPD, JTTF). In previous years, students have also been invited to deliver a training to relevant stakeholders.

Practicum Partner: United Nations Foundation (UNF)

In his recent report, Our Common Agenda, the UN Secretary-General proposed a Global Digital Compact, building on his Roadmap on Digital Cooperation. He proposed that the Compact could outline shared principles across a number of areas, including principles for a free and open digital future for all, closing the digital divide, and regulating artificial intelligence in line with shared global values. The purpose of this United Nations Foundation (UNF) practicum is to advance the state of knowledge about multilateral and multistakeholder digital technology governance initiatives, and to support the UN’s work in preparing for a Global Digital Compact. The main output of the practicum will be a mapping of tech governance initiatives developed across sectors (governments, private sector, civil society, technical communities, etc.) and a final report that offers insights into types, membership, focus, and representation. The report can also include an overview of relevant research reviewed (can be in the form of a list or annotated bibliography). Given the topic’s frontier nature, an assessment or ranking of initiative effectiveness is optional, but not required.



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Practicum Partner: Reconstructed Living Labs


Reconstructed Living Labs (RLabs), a social enterprise based in the Cape Flats in Cape Town, has impacted hundreds of thousands of people in Sub-Saharan Africa and beyond, and aims to reach millions more with an effective low-cost education model that engages local communities. It has shown that a different approach to development is possible – driven by community rather than top-down international organizations. This Social Enterprise Practicum (equivalent of a 3 credit course) focuses on 1) capturing the “playbook” of how RLabs was able to reach such a wide and deep impact: How do you stay community-focused while scaling? What are the gaps?; 2) How does RLabs “systemically” enable locals to create their own “luck” locally / how do they support serendipity (unexpected good luck)? What is the kind of “mindset” that can be facilitated, and what systems and processes need to be in place to make it effective and create “serendipity fields”?; 3) How does the RLabs model cultivate an environment for the development of social innovations? Deliverables include 1) Playbook/report and related presentation to the RLabs management team, and 2) Case studies of inspiring stories across RLabs. These case studies will be used to a) celebrate community entrepreneurs/inspire others; b) in related research; c) a related NYU event that will include at least 1-2 student representatives. Beyond the work required to execute on project objectives, the team will also have weekly planning/review sessions with the course instructor, Professor Christian Busch, and fellow student participants. Course credit will be determined by the instructor with input from the RLabs Management team. The practicum is open to students from all concentration (upon approval by their advisor).

Practicum Partner: The Global Accountability Network (GAN)

A worldwide consortium of practitioners, academics, and students, the Global Accountability Network provides professional legal services in atrocity accountability investigations to real-world clients. The Network provides its clients with criminal information/data through conflict maps, crime base matrices, and other associated documents, to include white papers, so that a future local, regional, or international prosecutor can take the case files and start their investigations and prosecutions. Founded by David M. Crane, the Chief Prosecutor of the UN Special Court for Sierra Leone, the Network has been doing work in atrocity zones for over ten years. Current ongoing projects are in Syria, Yemen, and Venezuela, with groundwork being laid for a Uyghur Accountability Project. Associated universities are Syracuse, Michigan, Case Western, Cleveland State, Florida International, Emory, Toronto, and McGill. NYU-CGA joined this Network, to work on the Uyghur Accountability Project compiling evidence of crimes being committed against the Uyghurs.

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