Pitt announces partnership with U.S. State Department

By Alexa Bakalarski / News Editor

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On Monday, the University announced that the U.S. State Department has made Pitt a partner in its Diplomacy Lab, a research program that connects the State Department to university students.

Through the Diplomacy Lab partnership, Pitt graduate and undergraduate students will form teams to research topics including climate change, counter terrorism and global health in the upcoming academic year. After submitting their final projects, students can present to the State Department and other officials and receive feedback.

Over the course of a semester, teams of at least four students develop final projects that meet the State Department’s designated topic goals, which include: policy memos, research papers and statistical analyses. Students can discuss their research with State Department officials and receive guidance from a faculty member at their university, according to the initiative’s website.

The Secretary of State’s Office of Global Partnerships manages the program, which Secretary of State John Kerry began in 2013. More than 27 universities, including, Yale University, the University of Notre Dame and Virginia Tech have participated in the initiative since its inception.

Students will be able to launch Diplomacy Lab projects connected to scholarship at Pitt’s Matthew B. Ridgway Center for International Security Studies, the University Center for International Studies or other campus departments.

The Ridgway Center analyzes and conducts research on international security problems, such as countering violent extremism and transnational organized crime.

Phil Williams, director of the Ridgway Center, said in a release that the partnership comes at a good time.

“It makes great sense for the State Department to tap into the expertise in international security issues at a time when society faces a series of complex global challenges and wicked problems,” Williams said.

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