From Memphis to Knoxville: The State Department's Impact on Tennessee

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#State4States: The Department of State has direct impact on the state of Tennessee

From Memphis to Knoxville: The State Department's Impact on Tennessee

On behalf of the American people, the State Department promotes and demonstrates democratic values and advances a free, peaceful, and prosperous world. By leading America’s foreign policy through diplomacy, advocacy, and assistance, the Department keeps the American people safe both at home and abroad and advances our shared economic prosperity. The State Department directly impacts the “Volunteer State” of Tennessee through public-private partnerships, programs that counter violent extremism, and engagement with Tennessee students.

First, as part of the Diplomacy Lab network, the State Department has partnered with the University of Tennessee. Led by the State Department’s Office of Global Partnerships, Diplomacy Lab is a public-private partnership that enables the State Department to “course-source” research and innovation related to foreign policy challenges. Partner schools like the University of Tennessee conduct research around Department-selected topics, and over the course of a semester, professors guide students in developing a final work product that accomplishes the goals outlined by the Department. Diplomacy Lab underscores the Department’s commitment to engage with the American people in the work of the State Department, and the need to broaden the Department’s research base in response to increasingly complex and evolving global challenges.

The State Department also facilitates connections through the recognition of common goals. The State Department impacts Tennessee through the shared goal of countering violent extremism (CVE). The Strong Cities Network – launched and sustained by the State Department – is a global network of mayors, municipal-level policy makers, and practitioners united in building social cohesion and community resilience. The network is made up of over 125 cities worldwide, including Chattanooga. Since 2016, Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke has participated in the Network’s Global Summits in Australia, Denmark, and Turkey.  In October 2018, a delegation of city government and civil society representatives from Chattanooga and Nashville traveled to Belgium to participate in the City Pair CVE Partnership Program with counterparts from Liege and Verviers.

Finally, the State Department provides opportunities for Tennessee students to broaden their perspectives through engagement with U.S. Missions overseas. The American Center in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, hosted a group of 16 student-athletes from the University of Tennessee, traveling through Vietnam on a leadership program and performing acts of service through Sports. U.S. Consulate General Ho Chi Minh City personnel met with the group, and shared insights into the U.S.-Vietnam relationship and the role of the State Department, both domestically and overseas. The students gained a better understanding of the role embassies and consulates play and learned about future exchange opportunities.

From Memphis to Knoxville, the State Department positively impacts Tennesseans through programs that enhance educational institutions, keep Tennessee communities safer, and broaden Tennessee students’ experiences. Those efforts have long-term benefits, building connections and inspiring future cooperation.

Find out more about the Department of State's impact in American communities at Department of State by State.

Editor's Note: This entry also appears in the U.S. Department of State's publication on Medium.

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