The Collaboratory designs, pilots, and spreads new ways to further educational and cultural diplomacy. Past work has included developing new programmatic tools for the Department, cultivating best practices for the use of technology in exchanges, and coordinating major initiatives like Education Diplomacy. The Collaboratory also works to advance new work methods that allow State Department teams to better perform in today's networked world.
Some of the Collaboratory’s current projects include:
- The design and coordination of the MOOC Camp initiative where 205 courses have been taken by 4500+ students at over 65 Embassies and Consulates around the world.
- Supplying the first class of Mandela Washington Fellow alumni with virtual engagement toolkits, enabling them to develop virtual and on-the-ground programs using the Internet in low-bandwidth areas, as well as managing regional Connect Camps to drive innovation and social change.
- Organizing internal workshops to advance new work methods that allow State Department teams to better perform in today's networked world.
The Collaboratory also has worked on adding virtual components to existing ECA programs, such as the Fulbright Program and International Visitor Leadership Programs, to increase their impact. These virtual exchanges extend the connections made before, during, and after traditional exchange programs; encourages project collaboration among exchange participants; and engages new communities in the United States and around the world. The virtual exchange team also explores piloting new technologies and facilitating entire virtual exchanges in circumstances where participants cannot physically take part in traditional exchanges for various reasons such as political unrest, illness, or travel restrictions.
Innovation and Design Thinking
The Collaboratory has piloted several new work practices that allow State Department teams to better perform in today's networked world, such as Design Thinking and Drop Everything and Read.
The Collaboratory also acts as a convener for the Bureau and Department, bringing together experts from the private sector, civil society, and government to collaboratively explore the frontiers of educational and cultural diplomacy. The Collaboratory team is always looking to work with other bureaus, agencies, companies, and organizations to foster partnerships, collaboration, and keep abreast of the ever-evolving field of educational and cultural diplomacy.