The Politics Academy @HOME

The Politics Academy @HOME is an intensive four-day online weekend program for high school students interested in politics. The core of VPA is around its lessons: You will be taught by Harvard students on the topics of political theory, international relations, campaign management and hot topics in the US government. Throughout this program, students will also have the opportunity to form groups and tackle a policy problem that they are personally passionate about. Our model is based on hands-on learning where students are faced with the same challenges high-level political decision makers face everyday. Throughout the week, students will work together in diagnosing symptoms, getting to the core of the problem, and finding innovative solutions with the skills they learn each day of the course. This culminates in group presentations at the end of the week where students present their research and provide actionable policy recommendations.

Become a leader.

Brainstorm innovative policy.

Accessible Education. Harvard Quality.

Program Overview

The Politics Academy will be taught in a combination of lectures, forums, sections and a final project. Each day will begin with a lecture, taught by engaged Harvard undergraduate instructors and will introduce students to the broader themes in politics. From there, students will have an opportunity to dissect the material covered in lecture with their peers. Through active discussion of historical and current events, students are forced to face difficult decisions in policy, which will prepare them for a career in government. Students will also be doing a lot of hands-on work through their project groups. The Politics Academy will provide students with a hands-on experience through workshops and a project that culminates their learning and experiences.

Our goal is to create a space for open political discourse by educating students on modern day political issues. By creating an immersive experience for students to communicate and brainstorm solutions, we instill the ability to pitch ideas as well as persuade others to align with a proposal, a skill crucial to a future in international relations, government administration, or any career in politics.

Schedule

Day 1

Introductions & Icebreakers

Week Overview & Policy Pitch Introduction

Lesson 1: Introduction to the US Government

Worksheet Activity

Policy Pitch Group Assignments, Brainstorm, & Selection

Lesson 2: Campaigns & Elections Overview

Election & Campaign Considerations Activity

Day 2

Lesson 3: Campaign Considerations

BYO Campaign Platform Activity

Group Work: Underlying Causes & Identification of the Problem

Workshop

Hot Topics in US Politics & the 2020 Election (Platforms & Debates)

Activity: Debate

Day 3

Lesson 4: International Relations

IR Game Theory Activity

Sample Policy Presentation & Analysis

Group Work: Solutions to the Problem

Activity: Write an OP-ED


Day 4

Student Presentations

Activity: Asserting & Defending Your Position

Harvard Q&A

Day 5 (Summer)

Guest Speaker - usually a Harvard professor or graduate student; sometimes a leading expert in the field.

Leadership Workshop

Lesson 5: Political Theory & The US Government