Global Field Intensives

The NYUSPS Center for Global Affairs (CGA) provides students with unique opportunities to pursue their academic and professional interests abroad through Global Field Intensives.

About GFI


These immersive courses allow students to maximize their in-country academic experience by engaging in comprehensive pre-departure research and project planning, actively shaping their in-country experience and research. Global Field Intensives incorporate the following elements:

  • Pre-departure class sessions and consultation with professors that allow students to develop meaningful research goals in advance of each trip.
  • Partnerships with local academic institutions, as well as offices in the government, private, and international/multilateral sectors, offer unparalleled access to experts and practitioners.
  • Site visits at each destination translate ideas into action, and students network with speakers and organizations to advance their academic and professional contacts.

GFI Regions

United Arab Emirates: Gender and Sustainable Development in the Gulf Region

Over a period of less than thirty years, the United Arab Emirates, in particular Dubai and Abu Dhabi, have transformed themselves from small, oil-rich Gulf monarchies into “global cities,” ranking among the most highly developed nations in the world, leading innovators in renewable energy, glittering hubs for international art, media, finance and banking, hosts to globally renowned educational institutions, and at the forefront for women’s empowerment in the Gulf States. Yet the country is not resting on its laurels. Faced with finite natural resources and a young population, Abu Dhabi, in its Vision 2030, and Dubai, in its Dubai Plan 2021, lay out ambitious, holistic plans to transform the Emirates into a vibrant, modern, multicultural and global knowledge society that seamlessly integrates a constitutional monarchy, limited democratic participation, religion and cultural traditions with high technology. How is this kind of development sustainable, socially, economically and environmentally? How are the Emirates dealing with the inevitable social and environmental transformations and trade-offs such a success story requires? Is such extensive social and economic development possible without also expanding political participation rights? Additionally, the UAE, a close ally of the United States and Saudi Arabia, is located in one of the most volatile regions of the planet and conducts a moderate realist foreign policy that is anchored in state security, stability, regional co-operation, anti-extremism, and builds alliances through substantial development assistance. The principal objective of the course/global field intensive is to explore how the UAE navigate the complicated dynamics of cultural traditions, social change, the demands of gender equality, the post-2015 development agenda, and geo-political imperatives. Through site visits and meetings with representatives from academia, think tanks, women’s rights and youth organizations, government, the private sector, and the arts, we will explore the pathways and strategies for sustainable social development that the UAE have taken as well as ponder the challenges that remain.

Cambodia: Dilemmas in Global Affairs

Contemporary Cambodia is haunted by its tragic past. The period between 1970 to 1979 saw untold brutality inflicted upon its population. The scars from these traumas persist today. But that is not the entirety of its story. Even as the country struggles to reconcile itself with the past, Cambodia is host to a young, vibrant population, looking for opportunities to provide prosperity and security for its people, and a ruling regime seeking stability and longevity. To achieve anything resembling these goals, Cambodia and Cambodians must confront a panoply of options.

To those outside the country, particular solutions may appear obvious; upon closer examination it is evident that none of the choices confronting this country is easy: there are pros and cons to each and every decision. The nature of those trade-offs is varied, with impacts varying depending on a range of factors, including timeframes, beneficiaries, or values being considered. This course provides a variety of lenses through which we might better appreciate the dilemmas facing the country and people of Cambodia. While doing so, we will address the themes of power, identity, history, prosperity, security, autonomy, inequality, and contestation.

Humanitarian Aid in Complex Emergencies: Uganda

Recent reports from UNHCR put the number of refugees and internally displaced persons around the world at 68 million. This is more than at any time since World War II. The humanitarian crises that have created this massive movement of people away from their homes, and often into camps, are driven by many factors including violent conflict, climate change, natural disasters, environmental degradation, population growth, and poverty.

Uganda is a particularly interesting case for the study of humanitarian aid. Due to its relative stability and to the conflicts within many neighboring countries, it has become a haven for more than a million refugees. Instead of confining them to camps, it has offered them settlement areas with small plots of land for each family and has permitted refugees to move within the country, including to the rapidly expanding capital city, Kampala. Uganda’s national development policy seeks to meet the needs of both citizens and refugees. UNHCR and a large number of local civil society groups and international NGOs support this work. In addition, Uganda faces considerable risks from climate change and is striving to address the consequences for citizens and refugees alike, working in partnership with the United Nations Development Program.

The course will examine policies and practices at local, national and international levels, and it will ask what life is like both for people who have been forced to migrate and for humanitarian workers who respond to their needs.



This semester course will provide graduate students with an opportunity to explore and analyze the political, economic, and cultural landscape of the Scandinavian Clean Energy and Sustainability sectors through the lens of Denmark and Norway. Both as individual nations and as part of a regional bloc, these countries have committed themselves to being leaders in the fight against climate change and incubators for new technologies and innovations in this space. Across sectors - transportation, building, and generation - these countries have succeeded in widespread implementation of sustainability policies while maintaining economic growth, something other countries with equally ambitious carbon-reduction targets have struggled with. This course aims to give students the opportunity to understand the determinants used by government and the private sector in making decisions regarding energy policy. Students will be encouraged to challenge the way they think about energy in Scandinavia - specifically the costs and benefits of conventional and unconventional hydrocarbon sources and renewable energy sources, such as wind, hydropower, geothermal, solar, and biomass - and how these lessons may or may not be translatable to other countries in Europe or elsewhere globally.

Northern Ireland/London

The emergence of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), new technological advances, and the Syrian civil war and related refugee crisis have all contributed to a rise in violent homegrown extremism, lone actor incidents, and coordinated recruitment and attack efforts by Islamist and far-right terrorist groups in Europe and the United States. How should democratic societies respond to the threat posed by terrorism? This course will examine the ways in which democracies seek to combat and prevent extremism domestically, both in the short and long term. We will explore different initiatives undertaken by the United Kindgom (UK) to counter terrorism historically and in the present day, evaluate their effectiveness, and propose innovative solutions. Students will also learn about the reasons why sustained campaigns of terrorism emerge in democracies and what conditions are necessary for terrorism to thrive in relatively free societies. This will be achieved first through an in-depth examination of the causes of ethnic conflict and terrorism in Northern Ireland and the ways in which different Loyalist and Republican terrorist groups mobilized support, designated territory, and carried out operations during the Troubles. We will then evaluate the effectiveness of different efforts by UK security and intelligence agencies and other stakeholders in Northern Ireland to counter terrorism including the present day threat posed by dissident Republican terrorist groups. Such measures include emergency legislation, the militarization of the conflict, counter-financing, the use of informers and infiltration of groups, physical separation of Catholic and Protestant communities, peace agreements, community policing transnational justice, and community relations or peace building initiatives. Students will then move to London to examine how the UK is addressing the threat posed by far right and Islamist terrorism and how the terrorist threat (e.g. targeting, organization, financing) and the UK's CT strategy has evolved over time. We will learn about the existence of so-called "Muslim ghettos" - community dubbed terrorist recruiting grounds throughout Europe, and existing efforts and challenges associated with the integration of the Muslim population into the British state. Students will hear from experts on how Islamist and far right terrorist groups recruit, organize, and carry out operations and how they can best be thwarted. We will examine the UK's PREVENT strategy - one of the most developed CVE initiatives in the world, which seeks to engage with the community via schools and de-radicalization programs to stop individuals from turning to terrorism. Finally, we will investigate the ways in which the UK is dealing with the potential threat posed by returning foreign fighters and a rise in lone actor attacks.

Greece: Great Power Competition and US Grand Strategy in the Eastern Mediterranean

Greece is at the epicenter of a region that has seen a staggering array of wars, revolutions, and coups since World War II. Greece’s geographic position in the Eastern Mediterranean and Aegean Sea makes it an important strategic ally of the United States both economically and geopolitically. The Eastern Med region contains substantial hydrocarbon reserves, which could transform the economy of countries like Egypt, Cyprus and Israel. But it also has a long history of conflict, and is an area of intense competition between great powers in the region including the US, Russia, China as well as regional powers such as Greece and Turkey. Activities of these nation-states have been accompanied by a series of small-scale conflicts over control over telecommunications infrastructure, natural resources and military basing. As the region re-emerges as a significant theater of global and regional security, the balance of power among regional players is being disturbed. Within this context, the GFI Greece will help students better understand the global security, conflict and cyber challenges facing the world today.

Global Field Intensives Around the World