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Diplomacy Lab

Two projects at UT have been selected to participate in Diplomacy Lab for Fall 2017.

  1. The Changing Art of Diplomacy: Social Media as a U.S. Foreign Policy Tool – Professor Stuart Brotman, Howard Distinguished Endowed Professor of Media Management and Law and Beaman Professor of Communication and Information

  2. How Expensive is Cheap Energy? – Professor Bruce Tonn, Professor of Political Science and a Baker Center Fellow

Professor Brotman will lead an interdisciplinary team of graduate students in exploring the role of social media in U.S. foreign policy objectives. Professor Tonn will lead a team of graduate students from the Bredesen Center in analyzing the costs of renewable energy sources including environmental, societal, and industry-related costs, particularly in the context of developing countries.

Congratulations to Professor Brotman and Professor Tonn!

About Diplomacy Lab

The University of Tennessee, through the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy, has been a partner in the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomacy Lab since fall 2015 semester. The program enables the Department of State to “course-source” research and innovation related to foreign policy by harnessing the efforts of students and faculty at universities across the country.

Each semester, the Department of State sends out a list of proposed projects to participating universities. Currently, 28 universities participate in the program. Universities bid on specific project proposals. Guided by a faculty member with expertise in the area of interest, selected teams or classes get to explore real-world challenges, engage with State Department officials and produce a final product that accomplishes goals identified by the Department of State. It is a great opportunity for experiential learning and enables students to contribute to the policymaking process. To date, a total of eleven projects at UT have been selected to participate in the program since its inception.

For more information, see

Example of Project and Benefits

Fall 2015

International Correction Reform and Human Rights Protections for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex (LGBTI) Inmates in Latin America and/or Africa – Bharat Mehra, Associate Professor, UT School of Information Sciences

Bharat Mehra leads a conference call with the State Department and graduate students to discuss international corrections reform and human rights protections.

As a faculty advisor of five information science students in the University of Tennessee’s School of Information Sciences, we are participating in the US Department of State’s Diplomacy Lab. I value the collaborative experience for all stakeholders concerned. Some of the benefits include:

  • Students engage with State Department officials to shape policy development in an urgent area of applied research related to international correction reform and human rights protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people around the world.

  • The State Department gets a critical, reflective, and skilled group of students to develop current and cutting-edge research information giving them leverage to further human rights advocacy on behalf of this disenfranchised population.

  • The project experiences allow the team to develop practical research applications, information and technology use, and interactive GIS maps to represent current trends, baseline protections, and best practices that support the government in making life better for people on the margins of society from around the world.

  • The project furthers intersections between people, information, and technology to meet social justice agendas that adds to the body of world knowledge and also helps inform social justice advocacy.

Fall 2019 Diplomacy Lab Project Applications

Application Due: April 10 | noon

The State Department’s Diplomacy Lab projects allow for students to establish partnerships with policymakers, while gaining better understandings of core mechanism to participate in the work of the Department.

Additionally, students working on these projects will have the opportunity to explore real world challenges and present their research to the State Department officials.

The Howard H. Baker Jr. Center serves as the coordinator for the program on the University of Tennessee, Knoxville campus. Each university may submit up to 4 project proposals, as well as 2 alternative bids. Information about the bids can be found here: Diplomacy Lab Fall 2019 Project Menu

To participate in the 2019 Diplomacy Lab, you can submit a proposal here (

To visit the Diplomacy Lab website, click here or on the Diplomacy Lab logo above.

Proposals are due April 10 at noon. For more information, contact Dr. Katie Cahill at

Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy

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