Virginia Tech is a partner university of the Diplomacy Lab, a program of the U.S. State Department.
Launched in 2013, the Diplomacy Lab is a public-private partnership that enables the State Department to “course-source” research and innovation related to foreign policy challenges by harnessing the efforts of students and faculty experts at universities across the country.
The State Department designed the Diplomacy Lab to meet two principal goals: to engage the American people in the work of diplomacy and to broaden the department’s research base in response to a proliferation of complex global challenges.
Yannis Stivachtis, associate chair of the Department of Political Science and director of the International Studies Program, serves as director of the Diplomacy Lab Program at Virginia Tech. Stivachtis helped lead the Department of Political Science’s successful application to become a member of the Diplomacy Lab to support instruction and research on international relations and national security at Virginia Tech.
Students participating in the Diplomacy Lab explore real-world challenges that the State Department has identified and work under the guidance of faculty members who are authorities in their fields. Students also discuss these issues with State Department officials several times throughout the semester.
The Diplomacy Lab experience allows students to contribute directly to the policymaking process while helping the State Department tap into an underused reservoir of intellectual capital. Teams that develop exceptional results and ideas are recognized for their work and may be invited to brief senior State Department officials on their findings.