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.


Collaboratory Book Thumbnail

Coming to the Collaboratory: Seven True Stories From The State Department

This collection of personal essays aims to tell the story of our people-to-people work and philosophy.






Sample Projects

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.

Open Educational Resources for Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI):

Open Educational Resources (OER) are educational materials with intellectual property licenses that give the public legal permission to freely use, share, and repurpose the content. These teaching and learning resources can increase access to high-quality education, and they can be adapted to local cultures, languages, and communities.

These OER lists have been curated for each of the leadership tracks. They exemplify different learning opportunities and ways of creative problem solving within each discipline. Each of these resources are best paired with other learning activities, such as in-person discussion and facilitation. While these resources are not all inclusive, we hope they will spark new ideas for you.

Open Educational Resources

Virtual Exchanges

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.

The Collaboratory News
picture of students
January 11, 2016
U.S. Department of State Pilots Open Educational Resources
June 26, 2015
American University Students Conduct First Student Led Virtual Exchange, and Connect with Students Around the World
MWF alumni and their Mentees at the Namibia Connect Camp for the Young African Leaders Initiative, showing hands in the shape of Namibia.
May 27, 2015
Mandela Washington Fellows and Mentees Connected for Social Change
Group photo of participants holding certificates
May 12, 2015
First Virtual IVLP Exchange Promotes Environmental Sustainability and Innovative NGO Partnerships
December 5, 2014
A New Type of Film Workshop - In The Cloud