Students Put Their Own Spin on Diplomacy

May 20, 2011
2011 Doors to Diplomacy Website Contest Winners

International diplomacy is more than formal meetings and smiling for pictures. It is sharing music with a far away friend and collecting money for a needy family across an ocean. It is listening to a stranger's story and adopting a child from another country. It is discussing an important international issue with your peers. The 341 student teams from 30 countries who participated in this year's Doors to Diplomacy contest did just those things by giving up their free time to create educational websites illustrating the many faces of foreign policy. The Department of State has partnered with Global SchoolNet since 2003 to provide this opportunity for kids ages 11 to 18.

This year's winners, from Shanghai, China, and Plainsboro, New Jersey, worked in teams with a teacher coach to build websites that teach their peers about diplomacy through international adoption and Muslim culture, respectively. Four girls from Shanghai Community International School conducted interviews with families who adopted children from other countries and highlighted the regulations and difficulties faced by those wishing to adopt from many of the most popular countries such as China and Russia. They got involved with their community by hosting a bake sale and donating the proceeds to charity.

Two students at West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North teamed up to teach diplomacy through Muslim culture. Much of their research focused on both historical and contemporary art that showed how people around the world have used theater, music and dance to connect to one another. When they ran into a stumbling block, the students reached out to the author of the foreign policy book they were using in their research. Not only did this correspondence allow them to acquire the photos they needed to complete their project, but it also led to a professional relationship that will extend beyond this competition.

The exceptional students who participate in this contest year after year never cease to surprise us with their creativity and desire to learn more about the world around them. They overcome limited Internet access and busy schedules to create websites on topics that they virtually become experts on. The Doors to Diplomacy contest gives students with an interest in foreign policy an outlet to showcase their talents and encourage those around them to get involved.

I invite you to take a moment to look at these impressive websites. Don't be surprised when you learn something new!



Bijoux k.
Congo, Democratic Republic of the
May 23, 2011

Bijoux K. in the Democratic Republic of the Congo writes:

Good idea, glad for these kids because I am a humanitarian and not see the difference of races: white, black, yellow .... my concern is the unity of peace in the future world, finding a job on these thoughts and share. but i'm studing english , excus my language, Thanks.

May 23, 2011

Yumen in China writes:

I visit the websites and post comments with the assistance of machine translatio­n. Thanks my friends for their understand­ing, support and help."

Marie J.
Alabama, USA
May 23, 2011

Maria J. in Alabama writes:

The article is well written and informative. I enjoyed reading it very much.

Hannah J.
District Of Columbia, USA
May 24, 2011

DipNote Blogger Hannah Johnson writes:

Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. These students definitely deserve our recognition. We appreciate your support for the Doors to Diplomacy program!

California, USA
May 26, 2011

Jessie in California writes:

This is an excellent way to involve youth in issues of global importance. Why aren't more US schools involved in this outstanding program?

California, USA
May 26, 2011

John in California writes:

The winners' web sites were excellent and it is apparent that a lot of learning took place in the process of making the web sites. I'm so glad to see students doing project based learning because their learning takes place on so many different levels and will be remembered better than just book or lecture learning. Thanks goes to the US Department of State and the Global SchoolNet Foundation for running the Doors to Diplomacy program.

Keep up the good work!!

May 27, 2011

Vince in the Philippines writes:

The winners definitely deserved it! Hats off to the organizers and supporters of doors to diplomacy because our students were able to learn and be creative at the same time, although only got the Gold award the experience is Platinum in itself. Kudos to all!

May 30, 2011

Wiji in Indonesia writes:

Next time, definitely next time....


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