The Institute is led by former Ambassador Prudence Bushnell and Christine Powers, and is modeled on the programs used to train the senior Foreign Service staff in the U.S. government. Ambassador Bushnell was responsible for leadership training for senior state department officials under Secretary of State Colin Powell; Ms Powers managed senior leadership training at the State Department from 2007-2010 and continues to train senior embassy staff.
The first week of the Institute is held on the Hamilton College campus and focuses on self-awareness, self-management, relationship management, and communication skills. The curriculum encourages students to better understand their leadership and communication styles and their personality preferences, while learning best practices for communicating and working in groups.
The second week is held in Washington, D.C., and focuses on problem-solving, decision making, motivation, networking, and conflict resolution. In addition to classroom time, students arrange networking and information gathering opportunities.
Between the two weeks of the Institute, students receive on-going guidance as they prepare for Week 2 of the Institute, begin to plan their commitment projects, and continue to read and discuss leadership issues. Activities will include faculty-led discussions of issues related to leadership, small group weekly meetings, and setting up networking opportunities in Washington, DC. After the Institute, participants receive on-going support as they design and implement their commitment projects.