International Education Week, observed this year November 13-17, is surely an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and study abroad, but it is also an opportunity to reflect on the increasingly global environment in which we live and, consequentially, the need to prepare American youth to live, work, and thrive in the global arena. The United States Diplomacy Center, which will be our country’s first museum and educational institutional dedicated to the practice and achievements of diplomacy, aims to do just that through its Diplomacy Simulation Program. A library of eight thematic simulations is now online and freely available to educators who wish to add a global dimension to their classrooms.
The simulations are designed to expose high school and college students to real life challenges such as resolving conflicting goals to find common ground and advancing national interests. The simulations teach problem solving and negotiation skills, as well as showcase how the work of U.S. diplomats impacts lives at home and around the world.
The launch of the online program marks the end of a year-long project, funded through a Bechtel Foundation grant, with George Mason University’s Center for History and New Media. The project created two thematic simulations and pilot-tested the simulation program with high school and college educators. Now, on the Center’s website, educators can find a teacher’s guide with links to instructional videos and eight different historical or hypothetical (but very real) scenarios with background information. Several of the simulations include short video links with subject matter experts. The simulations cover topics such as international migration as well as non-proliferation crises, counterfeit trade, HIV/AIDS, peacebuilding, and wildlife trafficking among others. The full library can be accessed here. The education team at the Diplomacy Center collaborated with subject matter experts across the State Department to develop these simulations. We are looking forward to developing additional educational materials in the future to highlight the breadth of issues that American diplomats pursue on behalf of the United States.
Through an email and social media campaign, the Center is alerting teachers and students to these resources as a fun and accessible way to teach the complexity of global issues. The education team is also conducting teacher training to broaden the reach of the Diplomacy Center’s education programs. Staff presented the online resources and trained educators at the Virginia Council for Social Studies and will soon do the same at next month’s National Council for the Social Studies.
We are proud that the Diplomacy Simulation Program has become an important teaching tool about global issues and how the practice of diplomacy is used to address multiple stakeholders’ interests. It has reached over 6,000 participants so far this year. We are committed to expanding the program’s reach across the United States in support of our goal of developing the next generation of global leaders.
About the Author: Lauren Fischer serves as the Education Program Specialist for the United States Diplomacy Center at the U.S. Department of State.
Editor's Note: This entry also appears in the U.S. Department of State's publication on Medium.com.
For more information:
- U.S. Diplomacy Center
- The full library of U.S. Diplomacy Center Simulations
- Follow the U.S. Diplomacy Center @DiplomacyCenter on Twitter and visit Facebook.com/USDiplomacyCenter.