Institutes & Projects

The School of Media and Public Affairs (SMPA) is proud to support projects that educate and empower new voices through communication and research. These partners convene experts and thought leaders, train students with courses and workshops and keep SMPA and the George Washington University at the forefront of journalism and media as they evolve with technology and contemporary issues.

American Communities Project

American flag on small town main street

The American Communities Project explores how technology and economics are redefining the social, political and cultural fault lines of the United States. The Project analyzes those changes with a massive data library and a demographic/geographic breakdown of communities that attempts to increase our understanding of the subtleties and complexities of the United States at the local level. Award-winning journalist Dante Chinni directs the Project from the School of Media and Public Affairs and the group utilizes strategic partnerships with major polling organizations.

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The Documentary Center

Documentary Center students working in the field

Since 1990, The Documentary Center has instructed hundreds of students in documentary film production and created multiple award-winning, nonfiction films. The Center is ranked among the top ten schools for documentary filmmaking and is one of the few educational centers in the nation that focuses exclusively on nonfiction film.

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Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication

Former Ambassador Michael McFaul

The Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication (IPDGC) is a leader in research, practice, training and innovative thinking in the areas of global communication and public diplomacy. The Institute engages in a variety of activities, including prominent events, research and workshops. It also hosts scholars and leading government figures, including several Under Secretaries of State. IPDGC is jointly administered by GW's Elliott School of International Affairs.

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The Media and Peacebuilding Project

Bullets surrounding smart phone

The Media and Peacebuilding Project works towards a better understanding of how new information and communications technology (ICT) drive political violence and polarization and disseminates information and tools for peace builders on best practices in the new information environment. The project's three initial initiatives focus on mobile phones, political violence and peacebuilding in conflict-fragile states; reconciliation in the United States and peace journalism.

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Planet Forward

Planet Forward Summit interview

Planet Forward is where experts and engaged citizens come together to find solutions to our shared challenges, specifically in the areas of energy, climate and sustainability. A storytelling platform for sustainability ideas, Planet Forward curates the best ideas and innovations from scientists, business leaders, advocates, students and government leaders.

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Project for Media and National Security

Breakfast conversation with military leaders

The Project for Media and National Security brings journalists together with senior American defense and national security officials and experts. Over 50 news organizations are members of the Defense Writers Group which the Project convenes with leaders in the field to deepen Americans' understanding of national security issues. The journalists’ forum includes large national and regional newspapers, online outlets, international news wire services, magazines and trade publications.

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Institute for Data, Democracy & Politics

IDDP Digital Discourse

In the heart of the nation's capital, the Institute for Data, Democracy & Politics (IDDP) brings together top researchers from across academic disciplines, works side-by-side with and informs journalists from leading media outlets, advises and helps agenda set with policymakers in the U.S. and Europe, and engages with a variety of organizations that have significant societal influence and reach.

This work is of vital importance in an age when media manipulation, fake accounts, and malicious social media activities are undermining fundamental aspects of societal cohesion and democratic ideals. Abuse, harassment, hate speech, and disinformation abound, with foreign and domestic actors alike taking advantage of key features of digital platforms to target vulnerable and marginalized members of society.

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