The Program offers students an analytical perspective based on a selected cluster of case studies. It is structured in ten sessions: the first provides participants with a theoretical introduction; the other nine, conducted by our faculty of renowned scholars, deal each with one key case study—typically a historical conundrum that forces historical actors to make decisions in a situation of high uncertainty. Each session explores the dominant strategic theories of the time, the options that were available, how the strategies were deployed in practice, the choices that were taken and those that were not taken.
At least two weeks before the session, students will be provided with a wealth of didactic materials setting the historical scene and presenting the actors involved. Typically, the material will consist of:
- documents relevant to the historical case in point;
- secondary readings;
- two to three podcasts of 15 minutes each in which the instructor presents the material, illustrates the case, draws the students’ attention to the various forking paths that historical actors had to confront.
During the live, online session, divided in two blocs of 45 minutes each, participants will discuss with the instructor the turn of events and how actors coped with the cognitive hurdles of facing unknown critical junctures. Are there modes of behavior or thought that are of general utility in moments of crisis? Can strategic thinking ever truly claim to be universally applicable? Did decision-makers learn and apply lessons from previous crises, and with what success?