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U.S.-LATIN AMERICAN RELATIONS

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REFLECTIONS ONPOLICY MEMOS #1
LATIN AMERICA IN THECONTEMPORARY WORLD
GRADE DISTRIBUTION
A =2A- =8A-/B+ =6B+ =12B =7B-=3C+ = 1Missing =2Total = 41
COMMENTARY
StructureNot everyone used “official” formatExecutive Summary could have used more attentionChoice of addressee not always self-evidentContentFrequent focus on domestic not international issuesOK for one of three writing assignmentsThose who did it this time have used up their quotaConfusion ofgoalswithpoliciesAction Plan:Whoit supposed to dowhat?StyleGrammar and syntaxUseSpellcheckand/or advice from a friendRead drafts out loud (to yourself or to a really good friend)
EARLIER ENTREATIES (i)
Imagine yourself as consultant to a Latin American government (or corporation or other suitable entity)Identify a policy challenge or “problem”Evaluate policy alternativesPresent a clear recommendationExplain reasons for policy choice, including anticipated consequence (or “outcome”)
FORMAT FOR MEMOS
Header(to, from, date, subject)Executive SummaryYour whole memo in one paragraph (written last)Issue, analysis, solution (that is, the recommendation)“You can have the most brilliant policy recommendation, but if your executive summary is terrible, it will go unread.”BackgroundRelevant information only, summing nature of problem and public responseAnalysisExamination of possible policy optionsListing with pros and consRecommendationState recommendation in one sentence.Explain reasoning as necessaryPresent action plan if appropriate.
EARLIER ENTREATIES (ii)
Use headings as appropriateKeep sentences short (<3 lines, preferably <2)Avoid passive voiceRemember audience:You are persuading someone to do something he/she is not now doing.The reader has interests as well as authority.Time for your memo is 1-2 minutes.Do not appeal to altruism alone. Focus (if indirectly) on interests.
EARLIER ENTREATIES (iii)
Careful about recipient/addresseeStrike a tone of level-headed moderationExecutive Summary (to be writtenlast)Background (onlyrelevantinformation)Analyis: policy options (withprosandcons)Recommendation:Whois supposed to dowhat? Not onlydirectionorcontentof policy, butprocessas well.Write and rewrite… and rewrite again…

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U.S.-LATIN AMERICAN RELATIONS