Every February, around 50 graduate students from Princeton University's School of Public and International Affairs and other universities across the country take over Wallace Hall for a "reading weekend."
With 150 academic papers in front of them, the students serve as editors, critiquing the scholarly work of their peers. Throughout the chilly weekend, they are looking for one key theme: papers that provide innovative policy ideas addressing real world-issues.
Eventually, they narrow their list to 8 or 9 articles, which will then be featured in the Journal of Public and International Affairs (JPIA), the premier student-run journal of policy studies.
Now in its 26th year, JPIA is a joint publication of the School and Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs (ASPIA). Led annually by two student editors-in-chief from the School, the journal aims to publish papers covering the areas of international affairs, development studies and domestic policy.
Showcasing the work of graduate students from such universities as Princeton, Yale, Johns Hopkins and the London School of Economics, the latest issue of JPIA, which debuted this fall, is wide-ranging.
From territorial disputes in the South China Sea to homicide rates in Honduras to Keystone pipeline debates, the edition meshes together relevant policy issues across the globe. The unifying thread? A strong commitment to seeking solutions to the world's most serious challenges through sound policy.
"Policy students have a lot to say about policy in the real world. We are informed, and we can provide insight on current issues," said Sam duPont MPA '14, a contributing editor for the 25th edition. "The journal provides a space for those innovative ideas and gives a voice to students who may be years away from a senior policy making role."
Each year, the journal's editors-in-chief – typically second-year MPA students – guide the journal's publication process. Assisted by two contributing editors – who are usually first-year MPA students – the editors put out a call for submissions, organize reading weekend and ensure a streamlined publication process.
The 25th edition was led by editors-in-chief Daphne McCurdy MPA '14 and Chikara Onda MPA '14. Now, the torch has been passed to duPont and Joanna Hecht MPA2, who have spent much of this academic year preparing for the 26th edition. In November 2014, they put out their first call for submissions.
This year, the editors-in-chief expect another 150 articles submitted by students at 18 different APSIA schools. Two contributing editors from each participating school will join in the blind editing process, with each editor reading between 10 and 15 papers, scoring them based on innovation and real-world application.
"Reading weekend is a fascinating experience. Our editors have expertise across a range of disciplines and all bring strong opinions on the articles. We get into some interesting debates," said duPont.
JPIA originally got its start in 1963 under the name "Public and International Affairs." It wasn't until 1990 that the first formal issue of JPIA debuted, featuring the work of School students specially. That year, the theme revolved around the global revolution of 1989 – a result in the fall of communism in Central and Eastern Europe. In 1991, the journal became a joint collaboration between the School and APSIA and began featuring the work of students across the globe.
"It is important for graduate students to have a place where they can contribute to social policy scholarship," said School Dean Cecilia Elena Rouse. "We are proud to support this endeavor and feel it is in good hands School students at the helm."
To obtain a copy of the journal, requests may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or JPIA, Robertson Hall, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544-1013.