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Q&A with Greg Guedel Ph.D. ’16

May 8, 2024

We recently caught up with Greg Guedel, an alum of the Jackson School, and the co-director of the university’s Munich Study Abroad Program. Greg tells us more about his experiences in the Jackson School’s first Ph.D. cohort and how that positively impacted his career. 

The following has been edited for brevity and accuracy.

How did it feel being part of the Jackson School’s first Ph.D. cohort?

From the time our cohort first came together and continuing all the way through, we all realized we were on a special and groundbreaking journey. We were very cognizant of the extraordinary amount of time and effort that the inaugural Ph.D. Program Director Saadia Pekkanen and the Jackson School faculty dedicated to creating the program, and how their thoughtful approach made it possible for us to explore international issues with tremendous depth. In addition to pursuing our individual research goals, we also wanted to be worthy “ambassadors” for the Jackson School, and I think we all felt motivated to help demonstrate the value of the Jackson School Ph.D. Program. 

Greg Guedel wears a black suit with a navy blue tie

Greg Guedel

How has the Jackson School Ph.D. program shaped your career?

I graduated from the Jackson School Ph.D. program in 2016, and the program has directly and significantly benefited my work in law and governance ever since. As a strategic advisor to Native American governments, I constantly apply the analytical methods taught in the Jackson School to the operative circumstances in Tribal communities, and strive to identify evidence-based pathways for creating sustainable development and long-term human security. 

How has your Ph.D. helped you as co-director for the UW Munich Study Abroad Program?

The Munich Program provided the original inspiration for me to pursue a Ph.D. at the Jackson School. Seeing how the students grew academically and personally during the program, I wanted to become fully qualified to contribute substantially to the curriculum, and that goal resulted in my enrollment in the Jackson School Ph.D. program. Students in the Munich Program raise crucial questions on national and multinational events, present theories on causation, then test those theories with evidence and analytics — a process that is a hallmark of the Jackson School at all levels.

What are some fun memories you have of your time in the graduate program?

The most enjoyable memories for me are of the time spent with my fellow cohort students in between classes, when we would get together over lunch and discuss school and life. Sometimes the focus was an academic subject, but oftentimes we were discussing much more fundamental matters like “Is anyone else as confused as I am?!” We quickly realized the answer was always “Yes,” and that we had a supportive community with each other as we progressed forward together. It’s wonderfully comforting to know that people you admire are going through the same things you are, and working through challenges together creates relationships and bonds that make the hard work worthwhile.

What advice would you give students considering a graduate program at the Jackson School?

Go for it! My time as a Jackson School student provided me with tremendously rewarding academic growth, and the work and relationships from that experience are beneficial and enjoyable every day. For anyone who has an interest in the way nations and communities shape our world, there is no better place to gain perspective and opportunities than the Jackson School.

Greg is also a private attorney, and serves as legal counsel to the Tribal Energy Consortium — a Native-led nonprofit that assists Tribes with self-governance of their energy resources. He recently co-created the Model Tribal Energy Code, a comprehensive legal code that enables Native American Nations to self-govern their energy resources under sovereign Tribal law. 

What is the Model Tribal Energy Code and its relevance for Native American governments?

A clear and urgent need exists for Tribal self-governance over their own energy resources. The most viable approach is for Native American Nations to assert their inherent sovereignty over the natural resources within their lands, managing the development and distribution of energy in accordance with Tribal laws designed specifically to serve the needs and promote the interests of their citizens.  However, for the regulation of energy, there is presently a gigantic gap in Tribal laws. 

A necessary and fundamental institution for the governance of energy within Native American Nations is the Tribe’s legal code. To provide the basis for Tribal governments to regulate energy-related activities within their jurisdictions, the Tribal Energy Consortium has developed the first Model Tribal Energy Code in the United States. The goal of the Model Code is to create a “best-of-all-worlds” set of laws that provides Tribal nations with: 1) a complete legal code for the regulation of traditional and emerging renewable energy development; 2) legal terms that are already recognized and accepted by the federal government and key industry enterprises; and 3) provisions that operationalize Tribal sovereignty and create competitive advantages for the Nation’s economic development. 

The Model Code is formulated to a) recognize the sovereign authority of Tribal governments, and b) to enhance the efficiency and attractiveness of conducting energy development activity within the Nation’s jurisdiction, consistent with the Nation’s laws and oversight requirements. 

Anything else you’d like to mention?

My Ph.D. Committee of Professors Tony Lucero, Saadia Pekkanen, and Glennys Young helped me create the most impactful and rewarding educational experience of my life. They provided focus, guidance, and support through years of rigorous research work, which today forms the basis of my professional activities and approach to analyzing global events. For me, that sums up the Jackson School experience: intensive and fascinating work that carries forward for a lifetime.