Message from the Faculty Director

Message from Dr. Bassett, IAPA Faculty Director

Anya Bassett

Welcome to the International and Public Affairs Concentration!

This generation of college students is coming of age at a time when our world faces dramatic and significant challenges. IAPA faculty and students are committed to trying to deeply understand this world, studying topics like violence and war, democratic erosion, climate change, nationalism, social inequality, and humanitarian crises. And we study efforts to address these challenges through national, state, and local public policies and through state building, peacekeeping, social movements, education, and innovation. Ultimately, we are concerned with making the world a better and more just place.

IAPA students and faculty are committed to studying these topics through a multidisciplinary perspective. As Anushka Srivastava ’24 notes, in IAPA, “You're learning how to assess the world critically, and that requires you to constantly switch your lens and examine things from different perspectives.” Many IAPA faculty have joint appointments in the social sciences (Anthropology, Economics, History, Political Science, and Sociology), but we also share faculty with Computer Science, Education, and the Alpert Medical School, and many faculty bring rich experience to the classroom as practitioners in international and public affairs. 

Our Gateway courses introduce students to interdisciplinary perspectives on pressing global problems. IAPA students then choose one of three tracks (Development, Policy and Governance, or Security), taking a Foundational course and five electives that provide them with knowledge and experience with their topics of interest. Our Methods courses provide students with the skills they need to conduct research and analyze policy in theses or capstone projects, and Junior and Senior Seminars allow students to study global issues at a deeper level and to contribute to our understanding of these issues through writing and presentation.   

IAPA students study a remarkably broad set of topics: recent theses and capstone projects have addressed topics as diverse as technology and health care in rural Maine, microcredit and gender market gaps, cybersecurity, refugee resettlement, participatory budgeting and youth engagement, and humanitarian aid to Ukraine. 

Finally, IAPA students study within the vibrant and supportive broader Watson community. There is always something going on at Watson, from study groups to talks, from dinner conversations to research opportunities with faculty. Whether or not you concentrate in IAPA, we hope you will come and get to know us, take classes here, and get involved in our work. 



Dr. Anya Bassett
Faculty Director of the International and Public Affairs Concentration, Director of Undergraduate Teaching and Learning, Senior Lecturer in International and Public Affairs