The 2018 AEI Summer Honors Program

Thousands of college students travel to Washington, DC, every summer to learn about the world of politics and public policy through internships and summer jobs. In the day-to-day of these experiences, young people can often miss the opportunity to step back and examine the history, ideas, and principles that underpin today’s policy challenges. To provide a space for just that kind of examination, the American Enterprise Institute created its Summer Honors Program — a competitive educational and professional development opportunity for promising undergraduate students who are interested in politics and public policy.

Taking place at the start of the summer in Washington, DC, the program gathers students from universities across the country, representing diverse backgrounds, to engage in a true competition of ideas about our nation’s most pressing concerns, both with one another and with their instructors. With respectful dialogue across ideological lines all too often lacking on their own campuses, the program provides a unique opportunity for productive political discourse.

The core feature of the AEI Summer Honors Program is a series of discussion-based seminars that offer participants forums to delve deeply into policy areas of their choice. Each seminar features 20–25 students and is led by AEI scholars or other policy practitioners, including renowned economists and foreign policy experts. Outside of the seminars, students participate in policy briefings with distinguished guests, high-level networking events, and site visits around Washington.

This year’s Summer Honors Program offers two opportunities: a series of one-week seminars offered through the Summer Honors Policy Studies Program that allow students to delve deeply into one policy area; and a new, four-week, broad and immersive program called the Summer Honors Academy. More information about these opportunities, including course listings and application instructions are available here and below.


Course Offerings

MAY 29–JUNE 1, 2018
Pericles’ Athens: Politics & Society of the First Great Democracy
Dr. Gary Schmitt, AEI

JUNE 4–8, 2018
Staying Calm in Unsafe Spaces
Dr. Charles Murray, AEI

Capitalism & Christianity: Do Markets Allow Us to Love Our Neighbor?
Dr. Anne Bradley, Institute for Faith, Work, & Economics

International Economic Development: Why Institutions Matter
Dr. Stephen Smith, Hope College

Democratic Capitalism: Principles & Practices
Dr. Michael Strain, AEI

JUNE 11–15, 2018
Empire for Liberty: Strategy-making in America
Thomas Donnelly, AEI

K-12 Education: The Foundation of American Democracy, Society, and Economy
Dr. Michael McShane, AEI

Understanding the Middle East Challenge
Dr. Michael Rubin, AEI

JUNE 18–22, 2018
War & Decision-Making
Dr. Frederick Kagan, AEI

The Constitution: Original Meanings and Modern Times
Professor John Yoo, AEI

Confident Pluralism: Surviving and Thriving Through Deep Difference
Dr. John Inazu, Washington University School of Law

The Christian Faith and American Foreign Policy
Dr. William Inboden, University of Texas-Austin

Early Decision Deadline: December 31st, 2017. Students who apply by the early decision deadline will be told if they are accepted, rejected, or waitlisted by the end of January. Regular Decision Deadline: March 5th, 2018.

“…unlike any other experience I’d had previously — it broadened my horizons about the political spectrum, taught us the ways in which different types of policy are created, and afforded me and my peers a unique opportunity to engage in interesting, novel conversations… It helped shape my current career plans.” — Neha Doshi, University of Pennsylvania, 2014 Summer Honors Program Participant

“…an invaluable experience because it is the perfect blend of classroom learning and practical experience. I am convinced that no other summer program offers as many or as wide of a variety of quality speakers to its students in such a condensed period of time…, a must for anyone who wants to succeed in public policy.” — Kayla Nguyen, University of Dallas, 2014 Summer Honors Program Participant

“This has been a transformational program. It’s made me think about public policy and my life differently. I’m eager to engage with peers and family members about these ideas when I return home.” — Cole Scanlon, Harvard University, 2016 Summer Honors Program Participant