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Introducing Professor of Practice Ray Walser to the DC Program  

Capital BuildingSince 2014, the School of Diplomacy, in collaboration with the United Nations Foundation, has provided the opportunity for all Seton Hall students to study and intern in our nation's capital, full-time, through our Semester in Washington, D.C. program. Students in the past have learned under a variety of seasoned professionals with years of government experience and this year, we are pleased to welcome former career Foreign Service officer, Ray Walser, Ph.D., as our new Professor of Practice. 

With over 40 years of teaching experience and an extensive career as a policy analyst and foreign service officer, Dr. Walser hopes to provide students in the program with real-world insight and first-hand knowledge of what careers in international affairs, governmental or non-governmental, may look like. In his time as an academic, Dr. Walser has taught courses on international relations, U.S. foreign policy, and politics and conflict in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa. His classroom experiences range from teaching undergraduates at Bluefield College, cadets at the United States Military Academy at West Point, interns/students in the University of Georgia's Washington Semester program and graduate students in Missouri State University's Department of Defense and Strategic Studies, also in Washington, D.C. Dr. Walser also served as chairperson for Western Hemisphere area studies at the U.S. Department of State's Foreign Service Institute. In short, Dr. Walser is no stranger to engaging with students interested in shaping diplomacy and international relations in our country and around the world.

Outside the classroom, Walser served as a Foreign Service Officer from 1980-2007 in a wide variety of overseas locations such as Nicaragua, Colombia, Mexico, Costa Rica, and South Africa as well as the Bureaus of African, European and Western Hemisphere Affairs here in the U.S. In 2007, he began applying his collective experience to a new role as a Senior Policy Analyst for The Heritage Foundation, a think tank in Washington, D.C., where he focused on political and security issues in Latin America. Prior to retiring in 2013, he conducted field research in Colombia and Mexico and served as an electoral observer during the presidential elections in El Salvador and Honduras. 

In addition to his government service and academic career, Walser has authored op-eds and other publications featured in the New York Times, New York Post, The Washington Times, Christian Science Monitor, Miami Herald, The National Interest and the Journal of International Security Affairs. He has shared his expertise in testimony before both houses of Congress on several occasions between 2008 and 2011, and has appeared on CNN, PBS, Al Jazeera, BBC World Service and other media. Given Dr. Walser's range of experience and deep commitment to working with individual students, Semester in Washington, D.C. students can certainly benefit from their encounters with this veteran practitioner. 

Students of all levels with an interest in government are welcome to register for this unique program. Participants will take DIPL 3115/7115: The Washington Experience Study Tour: Actors, Institutions and the Policy Process, and DIPL 3116/7116: Washington Seminar on Global Policy Challenges on Fridays at the United Nations Foundation Washington, D.C. office and intern full-time at a selected host site during the rest of the week. With guidance from the School of Diplomacy's Office of Internships and Career Development, previous students in the program have interned at Interpol, the Council of Americas, the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Supreme Court, Peace Corps, and local embassies and offices of U.S. Senators and Congressmen. Full-time student status and University awarded financial aid carries over for all program participants.

"I learned a lot," says Diplomacy graduate alumna and past program participant Danielle Crooks, "about how to truly engage Congress, the State Department, and White House, and how to be effective and influential in that sphere of influence." After her experience working on crafting a bill in support of U.S. foreign aid in Haiti, Crooks found that her fieldwork had a direct impact on her classes. "The process of trying to get the bill passed was an experience for me," she says. "When I came back to Seton Hall, I was able to offer new insight, new experiences, new perspectives to the classroom." 

Undergraduate program alumnus Lucas Della Ventura, noted how important it was for him to be taught by experienced professionals. "Coming to Washington, D.C., has been one of the best decisions of my life. Having class taught by veteran field practitioners such as a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, has been great. It doesn't feel like a class, it feels like an apprenticeship." He reflects on how "Their insider knowledge, experience and candor have helped all of my classmates and I understand the D.C. political environment."

What are you waiting for? Get a sneak peek of what your semester in Washington, D.C. could look like and contact program director Dr. Catherine Ruby at Catherine.ruby@shu.edu or (973) 275-2203 to learn more.

Categories: Nation and World

For more information, please contact:

  • Catherine Ruby
  • (973) 275-2203