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Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies

K Street

Public Affairs
and Advocacy

Public Affairs and Advocacy Institute

The Public Affairs and Advocacy Institute and advanced workshops conducted by lobbying professionals are offered throughout the year. The Institute is a two-week intensive course (4 credit hours) offered in January and May in major aspects of professional lobbying and political influence. One-credit hour advanced workshops are offered regularly in specific lobbying areas such as grassroots lobbying, direct mail, interest group litigation, executive branch lobbying, and congressional testimony. (Please see Weekend Programs for course names, dates and descriptions.)

Public Affairs and Advocacy Institute

Taking advantage of its setting in the nation’s capital, the Public Affairs Institute (formerly the Lobbying Institute) offers courses on the representation of organized interests to the federal government combining academic approaches with the real world of Washington lobbying. Twice a year, the Public Affairs Institute conducts a two-week workshop featuring speakers from the faculty of American University and approximately 40 prominent professional lobbyists representing corporations, trade and professional associations, public interest and other citizen groups, labor unions, as well as law and lobbying firms.

The workshop examines the full range of strategies and tactics pursued by organized interests and their lobbyists in attempting to gain access, obtain and exchange information, and influence policy makers in Congress and the executive branch. Drawing on their rich body of experiences, prominent lobbyists involved in all aspects of their profession offer lectures on such topics as direct lobbying, fundraising, the uses of different kinds of political money, various types of grassroots programs, coalition-building, advertising and public relations, and litigation strategies.

Workshop participants are divided into teams to apply this knowledge by simulating the activities of a real-life lobbying firm. Under the direction of a senior Washington lobbyist serving as a mentor, each team creates a strategic lobbying plan on an important current public policy issue for a prospective client. On the final day of the institute the student teams make a presentation of their strategic plans to a panel of faculty and lobbying professionals.

The Center offers several financial awards to help offset the costs of participating in the institutes.

AU students should see their academic adviser for information on enrolling in the institutes. There are also a limited number of seats available to non-AU students to participate in the institutes. Please fill out the non-credit application if interested.

Learn more about the PAAI sessions for the upcoming academic year

PAAI 2016

May 2016 PAAI class

30 Years of Winning Strategy

James Thurber, middle, listens in on a lecture.

Now in its thirtieth year, the Campaign Management Institute has become an internationally recognized dynamic curriculum drawing students from across the globe to learn and practice the art and science of campaigning.

30 Years of Success