Assignment Instructions
Instructions: Imagine that you are advising a US policymaker engaged in international affairs. Choose one of the following topics, and write a 1000 – 1250 word policy brief advising the policymaker of the situation, and your policy recommendations.
• Characterize the broad US relationship with key countries or areas in the developing world. Choose a region or country, such as Central Asia, Egypt, Sub-Saharan Africa, or the Islamic world, and make a concrete recommendation for improving the relationship between that country or region and the US.

• Choose one of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs; listed on pp.185-186 in Promises Not Kept (OnCourse) and available here: and one of the countries that we have discussed in some detail (Egypt, South Africa, Kyrgyz Republic). What recommendations would you make to encourage a US policymaker to work towards achieving your chosen MDG in your chosen country?

• Choose one of the “Case Study” countries in the BRR textbook (Chapters 20-29; Pakistan, Indonesia, Iraq, Mexico, South Korea, Nigeria, Guatemala, Brazil, China, or India) and make a policy recommendation for the development of a specific institution (or institutions) of civil society that would contribute to improving the country’s level of development.

• Read the two policy briefs at, one in favor of the argument that government policy can reduce social inequality and one disputing the idea that government policy can reduce social inequality. Choose the argument that you prefer, and write a policy brief based on that argument making a policy recommendation to the leadership of a country (or countries) from the developing world consistent with your position.
Regardless of the topic that you choose, your policy brief should accomplish the following:
1. State the issue or problem.
2. Provide contextual background for the issue or problem, including a profile of the country or region you are examining and the history relevant to the issue or problem about which you are making a recommendation.
3. Discuss preexisting policies pursued by interested parties.
4. State the possible courses of action (policy options) that the US policymaker could pursue, and the advantages and disadvantages of each course of action. You should offer at least three potential courses of action.
5. Make your policy recommendation from the possible courses of action outlined earlier.
6. Provide a list of sources consulted (a works cited page).
The policy brief should make use of at least five reputable sources, of which at least three must be non-encyclopedic sources not specifically included in the course materials. At the end of this announcement are listed some starting points from which you can locate appropriate sources. Note that this list is neither exhaustive nor exclusive.

Formatting Guidelines: Your policy brief should be between 1000 and 1250 words (no exceptions). Font should be 12 point Times New Roman, Arial, or similar, text should be double-spaced. Margins should be set to 1-inch on all sides. You should be sure to appropriately cite all sources used (whether quoting directly or paraphrasing), and there should be a works cited page included. You may use any citation format you wish, as long as it is consistent, thorough, and accurate. If you do not have a preferred citation format, I recommend using APA or APSA style. Consult the Online Writing Laboratory at Purdue University (linked below) for information on how to cite appropriately.

Grading Criteria
Quality of argument: 30%
Is the paper well organized? Does the paper address the six criteria outlined? Is the argument presented rational, logical, and consistent throughout the paper? Is the overall recommendation made realistic? Has the author considered potential constraints and counterarguments?
Effective use of sources: 30%
Are the claims made in the paper substantiated with reference to empirical data? Are the arguments advanced supported with well-developed theoretical underpinnings and clear definitions of concepts used? Does the author use course material and other relevant material appropriately?
Technical Criteria: 25%
Does the paper meet the word count (1000 –1250 word) and page formatting guidelines? Are a sufficient number of sources used and are these sources cited appropriately both in-line and in a works cited page? Is the tone of the paper appropriately professional? Is the paper free of grammar, spelling, or other stylistic errors?
Was the paper turned in on time

Potential Sources
Some formatting and source selection resources:
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations publishes a Food Security Communications Toolkit. This document, available at has links to example policy briefs and offers guidelines for writing effectively. Chapter 4 is particularly useful:
Note that there is no expectation of an executive summary for this assignment.

The Online Writing Laboratory at Purdue University provides helpful resources for ensuring appropriate citations.

Western University created a useful video for evaluating sources:

Some thematic resources:
The World Bank Research & Outlook page has links to the 2015 World Development Report, the Policy Research Report 2014, and other topical information:
The UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) website maintains links to annual Human Development Reports, narrative reports on Millennium Development Goal progress, and reports on other development-related topics:

The IMF (International Monetary Fund) has topical resources (global analyses and working papers):

The Asian Development Bank actively promotes the development of civil society organizations in developing countries around the world:
UNESCO actively engages in civil society development and promotion through establishing associations and clubs in developing countries around the world:

Some country-specific resources:
The World Bank country pages offer country profiles, and links to country-specific project plans and reports:

The UNDP main website links to country-specific projects and data:

The IMF has country level reporting, including press releases and economic growth outlooks:

International Crisis Group produces briefings and analyses on country-level and regional-level issues related to conflict (including ethnic conflict, economic inequality, elections, etc.):

Amnesty International publishes reports on the state of human rights in various countries around the world:

Human Rights Watch publishes world reports and country-level reports on human rights violations around the world:

Journals and other Resources:
Reliable news sources such as The New York Times (, the BBC (, and other sources can provide essential background for your chosen country and/or issue.

The New Yorker ( and The Atlantic ( )often have feature articles addressing issues of development.

Foreign Policy is a great resource for examining US policies towards other countries, including issues affecting developing countries.

Academic journals available online through the IU libraries system
( that often have relevant articles include:
Foreign Affairs
International Organization
Journal of Democracy
Journal of Economic Perspectives
Journal of Policy Studies
Politics and Society
World Development
World Politics

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