AI in Policy Advocacy: Mastering Digital Storytelling for Transformative Impact

Last week, I had the privilege of delivering a guest lecture on AI in policy advocacy in the Center for Global Affairs at New York University, led by Associate Dean Carolyn Kissane. This post delves into how AI and digital storytelling are transforming policy debates and decisions in today’s dynamic world.

The Lecture Overview

My presentation, titled “Unlocking the Potential of AI in Policy Advocacy,” highlighted AI’s critical role in modern policy-making. I provided insights into how both AI and generative AI are revolutionizing the policy landscape with new analysis, decision-making, and public engagement dimensions. In addition to recording a demo of ChatGPT and Canva Magic Design to illustrate their ability to enhance stakeholder engagement, I offered the students an opportunity to suggest case studies for a live ChatGPT demonstration.

One student requested generating five policy ideas, while another provided access to her LinkedIn profile. I downloaded this as a PDF and uploaded it into ChatGPT to create a new “About” section and tagline, and then used Canva Magic Design to generate a LinkedIn profile background image, demonstrating the practical applications of these tools in real-time.

AI-and-Generative-AI---Definitions -slide - from presentation

Insights from the Presentation

A pivotal part of the presentation revolved around the power of storytelling and AI in policy advocacy. We drew thought-provoking parallels between the simplicity of childhood storybooks and the complexity of policy narratives. This comparison emphasized how generative AI can transform dense policy topics into engaging and relatable stories, akin to the captivating nature of storybooks.

During the discussion, student reactions varied significantly. Some expressed concerns about the challenges of AI, as frequently highlighted in the media, voicing discomfort with using AI which they felt could be perceived as “cheating”. Conversely, several students acknowledged the utility of AI in their work and academic assignments, citing its effectiveness in enhancing their output and understanding.

The application of generative AI in narrative creation opens up opportunities to distill complex policy issues into more digestible forms. Policymakers and advocates, leveraging AI, can craft narratives that deeply resonate with stakeholders, thereby making intricate policy subjects more accessible and engaging.

Additionally, we explored the capability of generative AI to customize narratives for varied audiences. This adaptability ensures that the essence of policy initiatives is not only comprehended but also emotionally felt. The capacity of AI-enhanced storytelling to evoke empathy and understanding represents a significant shift in policy advocacy. It underscores the importance of connecting with a diverse range of stakeholders, a critical aspect of successful policy engagement.

Remember-the-Impact-of-Storybooks - slide - screenshot from presentation

This lecture segment highlighted the transformative role of generative AI in narrowing the gap between complex policy terminology and effective storytelling, an essential skill for today’s policy professionals.

The Broader Course Context

In the NYU “Energy, Environment, and Resource Security” course, I was privileged to contribute alongside a series of esteemed experts. The curriculum spanned a broad array of critical topics: Jackson Ewing offered insights into climate finance, Steve LeVine delved into the evolving landscape of the EV battery industry, and DeLaine Mayer provided an intriguing perspective on the geopolitics of space resources. The course was further enriched by Yorke Rhodes III’s expertise in supply chain traceability and Sarah Busch’s in-depth look at ESG investing.

My lecture on AI in policy advocacy added a new dimension to these varied discussions. It presented an integrative view at the convergence of technology and policy, intertwining the dynamics of technological innovation, policy formulation challenges, and the impactful art of storytelling. This lecture did not just complement the diversity of subjects covered but also synthesized them, offering students a holistic understanding and an actionable toolkit for applying their insights in the fields of energy, environment, and resource security. For a deeper dive into the course’s highlights and reflections on my guest lecture, I encourage you to read Carolyn Kissane’s insightful LinkedIn post.

The Importance of AI in Professional Development


In this segment of the lecture, we delved deeply into the transformative role of AI in enhancing professional skills, particularly focusing on tools for personal branding and stakeholder engagement in the realm of policy advocacy. We explored how leveraging AI can provide a significant edge in crafting compelling personal narratives and professional profiles, especially for graduate students poised to enter the competitive professional world.

Our discussion included practical demonstrations on how AI technologies can optimize LinkedIn profiles, turning them into powerful tools that showcase individual skills and experiences in the most impactful way. This aspect of AI application is crucial for students and professionals alike, ensuring that their digital presence aligns with their career aspirations and industry demands.

Furthermore, we discussed the increasing importance of integrating AI in personal branding and stakeholder engagement strategies. In dynamic sectors such as energy, environment, and resource security, the ability to effectively communicate and engage with diverse audiences is paramount. AI tools offer novel ways to achieve this, from personalized content creation to data-driven insights that inform engagement strategies.

The exploration went beyond mere theory, as we delved into case studies and real-world examples where AI has been successfully used to elevate professional profiles and enhance stakeholder engagement. This practical approach helped bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and real-world application, giving students actionable insights they can apply in their careers.
In summary, the discussion underscored the critical role of AI in shaping the future of professional development and stakeholder engagement, highlighting its potential to not only enhance individual careers but also to drive more effective and impactful policy advocacy efforts.


The potential of AI in policy-making is immense. I concluded the presentation with this thought-provoking quote, encapsulating our discussion’s essence and vision for AI in policy.


Dive deeper into the world of AI and policy advocacy. Visit my NYU Faculty profile for Spring 2024 courses on AI for Impact and Digital Storytelling for Fundraising, and join us in shaping the future of policy-making.