The Collaboratory partners with nonprofit storytelling organizations to design public diplomacy programs that make use of first-person narratives to support policy priorities. Storytelling methodologies are effective tools to foster dialogue, empower marginalized groups, or enable civil society to better communicate their ideas. These programs have been used to promote critical thinking skills that counter disinformation or extremist messaging, or to build soft skills such as English comprehension and public speaking that help participants contribute economically, politically, and socially to their societies. Additional examples of recent ECA storytelling pilot programs are described below.

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ (ECA) first weekly podcast, 22.33, has become the most prolific, most listened to Department of State podcast. Launched in January 2019, 22.33’s weekly episodes highlight international exchange participants’ life-changing stories and showcase the transformative effect exchanges can have.
On September 16, 2019, ECA launched its first year-long, multi-office pilot program entitled Communities and Youth for Promoting Hip Hop, Empowerment, and Resiliency (CYPHER), led by ECA’s innovation team, the Collaboratory.
Collaboratory and Comic Book Project partnered together in Kazakhstan to support comic diplomacy
In 2019, ECA's Collaboratory partnered with the nonprofit organization, the Comic Book Project (CBP), to support two innovative comic diplomacy programs.
Ending Human Trafficking in India, One Story at a Time
This year, the Collaboratory partnered with U.S. Consulate General Kolkata to support a pilot project called “Ending Human Trafficking in India, One Story at a Time.”
In partnership with ECA’s Cultural Programs Division and the University of Iowa, the implementor of the International Writing Program (IWP), the Collaboratory supported the Lines & Spaces Creative Writing Workshops in Eritrea.
Each year, State Department-sponsored exchange programs connect approximately 350,000 people in almost every country and all U.S. states.