• 2017 McCourt School Policy Conference

    February 23 - 24, 2017


    Thanks for coming!

  • About the Conference

    Shedding light on today's most critical policy issues.

    Each year, the students of the McCourt School of Public Policy organize a conference to discuss pressing and complex policy issues. The conference attracts prominent academics and policymakers as speakers and a diverse audience from the nation’s top policy schools, non-profits, and government organizations.

  • Feeling Left Behind

    This conference will examine the circumstances of disaffected groups worldwide that have significant implications for public policy. We focus on identifying what realities created current states of frustration and what policy paths can shape our collective future.


    We have carefully selected four sub-topics to serve as case studies. These sub-topics highlight pressing situations that require immediate and thoughtful policy solutions to address the concerns of populations feeling left behind.

    A Broken Trust: America’s Voter Discontent

    Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders could hardly be further apart on the political spectrum. And yet the billionaire businessman and the democratic socialist both tapped into the feeling that the social contract between Washington and the rest of America has been broken by fundamental unfairness. How can politicians address the betrayal felt by the electorate?

    Wasted Talent: Youth Unemployed & Underemployed in America

    Given the transformational 21st century economy, this segment examines the social and economic plights of the un- and under-employed millennials and how policies can be restructured to assist disillusioned youth struggling against today’s employment barriers.

    Degrees of Separation: Regional Independence Movements

    By looking at regional independence movements in Scotland, Catalonia, and Hong Kong, this segment seeks to understand what policies have contributed to continued disenchantment and calls for independence and how this impacts international relations.

    The Unwanted: Refugees & Asylees

    This segment will explore differing policy viewpoints regarding the acceptance and resettlement of refugees in the context of current waves of Middle Eastern/North African refugees seeking entry into Europe and North America.

    Keynote: Reflections on Populism & Policy

    We first look back into history and reflect on how today's Trump harnessed American populism has echoes of Latin America's 20th-century experience with populism and policy. Looking forward, we then project where today's expressions of American populism will likely take policy, here in America and beyond.