Inside the Situation Room

Co-taught by Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton and Dean Keren Yarhi-Milo, this course engages learners with case studies and examines decision-making in historical and contemporary contexts, from the search for Osama bin Laden, to the “red line” in Syria, to negotiating with Iran.



Weekly Effort

2-3 hours




Pricing available soon

Course Description

In an era increasingly defined by geopolitical competition, it is more important than ever for future policymakers to understand why and how foreign policy decisions are made. Inside the Situation Room, co-taught by Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton and Dean Keren Yarhi-Milo, employs insights from diverse academic fields—including political psychology, domestic politics, and international relations—and the direct experience of high-level principals in the room to understand the key factors which underpin a nation’s most crucial decisions. This course allows learners to engage with a range of case studies and examine decision-making in a variety of historical and contemporary contexts, from the search for Osama bin Laden, to the “red line” in Syria, to negotiating with Iran.

Online course launching early Spring 2024

What You Will Learn

The goal of this course is to give learners a holistic understanding of the many facets of foreign policy decision-making. As future participants in the policy process, this course will provide vital background that they can draw on should they, too, find themselves facing high-pressure decisions with implications for national security and global stability. It will also enhance their ability to counsel intelligence officers, military leaders, advisors, or other government officials by improving their ability to anticipate other actors' actions, perceptions, and motivations.


Headshot of Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Professor of Practice

Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton is a professor of practice with a joint appointment at Columbia World Projects at Columbia University.


Secretary Clinton, who served as U.S. secretary of state, U.S. senator from New York, First Lady of the United States, and is a longtime activist and volunteer, is one of the world’s foremost experts on public policy and international affairs. She is a remarkable leader who has been on the front lines of virtually every critical challenge facing our world today — from the global fight to save democracy, her advocacy for women’s rights, and her staunch defense of marginalized people everywhere.


She now brings her leadership and expertise to SIPA as we seek to prepare the next generation of global policy leaders and advance our role as a critical partner and resource for current practitioners and stakeholders looking for solutions to today’s challenges.


With the world in flux, SIPA is intensifying our efforts to engage the leading local, national, and global academics and practitioners in developing timely, cutting-edge, and practical policy proposals. To that end, Secretary Clinton will help lead a major new SIPA effort to convene the best policy minds from around the world for robust debate and collaboration aimed at developing innovative policy solutions.


Read the announcement about Secretary Clinton joining SIPA's faculty here.

Dean Yarhi-Milo headshot
Keren Yarhi-Milo
Dean, School of International and Public Affairs; Adlai E. Stevenson Professor of International Relations and Professor of International and Public Affairs, SIPA

Keren Yarhi-Milo is the dean of Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and the Adlai E. Stevenson Professor of International Relations. An expert in international security, crisis decision making, and political psychology, Dean Yarhi-Milo is also an award-winning scholar with an extensive record of leadership and service at SIPA and Columbia, where she holds a professorship of political science and public and international affairs.

In 2022, Yarhi-Milo won the International Studies Association’s Emerging Scholar Award, which recognizes “scholars who have made through their body of publications the most significant contribution to the field of security studies.” Her most recent book, Who Fights for Reputation? The Psychology of Leaders in International Conflict (Princeton, 2018), was recognized by the American Political Science Association as the best book in foreign policy and by the ISA as the biennial outstanding book in foreign policy. Her previous book, Knowing The Adversary: Leaders, Intelligence Organizations, and Assessments of Intentions in International Relations (Princeton, 2014), received the Mershon Center for International Security’s Furnnis Award, given annually to an author whose first book makes an exceptional contribution to the study of national and international security, and was also cowinner of the ISA’s biennial book award in diplomatic studies.

Yarhi-Milo is a series editor of Princeton Studies in International History and Politics from Princeton University Press. She has also published extensively in academic journals, receiving honors from the American Political Science Association, the International Studies Association, and the Journal of Conflict Resolution. In 2010, her doctoral dissertation earned APSA’s Kenneth Waltz Award as best in the field of international security and arms control.

Yarhi-Milo joined the Columbia faculty in 2019 after a decade at Princeton University. Before becoming dean in July 2022, Yarhi-Milo served for two years as director of SIPA’s Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies and as Arnold A. Saltzman Professor of War and Peace Studies. She earned her Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A., summa cum laude, from Columbia University in 2003. She previously worked with several NGOs promoting peace in the Middle East, including the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation.

Yarhi-Milo grew up in Israel, where she served as an intelligence officer while completing mandatory military service. She lives on the Upper West Side in Manhattan, New York with her husband and two sons.

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