MBA Students Analyze Ways to Support CVT’s New Tactics Program

Guest blogger Simon Cecil is a student in the MBA program at the Carlson School of Management. Simon is pictured on the far right.

Halfway through March 2016, I joined a team of five graduate students from the Carlson School to partner with the New Tactics program at Center for Victims of Torture. Our goal was to explore ways that the New Tactics program could become more accessible, and also find ways to support the ongoing development of the program. While it might seem unusual to think of five MBA students working on a project supporting a nonprofit, each of us felt drawn to the program. Many of us had worked abroad prior to returning to graduate school and all of us were impressed with the work New Tactics does training advocates of human rights globally.

Our initial respect for the work New Tactics does only grew as the project went on. Scouring the Internet and speaking with program participants both in the Middle East and at home in Minnesota, it became clear how unique the program was. While many organizations offer trainings that explain the concept of human rights, and there are programs in the U.S. that focus on skills such as fundraising and media relations, New Tactics was essentially alone in teaching activists to think strategically about how to advance their goals.

Not only was the program unique in its approach, it offered tremendous experience backing its methodology. Members of our team were taken aback at the sheer volume of program materials. And graduates of the program we spoke to in Jordan, Tunisia and Minneapolis were all in agreement about the effectiveness of the program. After years of working with a range of organizations attempting to affect social change, I was struck by how much I learned about strategic thinking in the process of working with the team at New Tactics.

As our work draws toward a close and we prepare our findings, I am struck by the tremendous impact of the New Tactics program. We’ve spoken with students using their work to analyze police violence in Minnesota, professors using the method to teach advocacy in Mexico, and trainers helping NGOs fight for women’s education in Jordan. Everywhere we have gone there has been both tremendous appreciation for the skills that New Tactics teaches, and a desire for learning that exceeds the program's current capacity. We certainly hope our work helps position the program to expand its work in a world that clearly needs more of what New Tactics has to offer.

Article originally published by the Center for Victims of Torture: