Program Overview

Hacking for Diplomacy (H4Diplomacy) is a strategic innovation capability for the Department of State (DOS) that engages academia to tackle pressing challenges involving foreign policy and foreign relations through project-based courses. The Hacking 4 Diplomacy program harnesses university energy, talent, and creativity, bringing students together with DOS professionals, technical experts, and business leaders to develop innovative solutions for critical foreign policy problems at startup speed.

In
H4Diplomacy courses, interdisciplinary student teams are provided with real-world Department of State challenges sourced from DOS employees. DOS employees who submit challenges and decide to join the program, are then considered Sponsors. Sponsors guide the student team and are responsible for connecting the student teams with other people in their agency so the team can gain deep understanding of the problem and solution possibilities by gathering data through interviews. By the end of the course, student teams will have applied entrepreneurial frameworks, such as the Lean Startup methodology, and conducted at least 50 interviews. This allows the student team to develop the problem’s success and fail criteria for any solution proposed, while also recommending solutions they believe will work best.

For DOS Employees,
Hacking for Diplomacy is a force multiplier for solving your toughest challenges. By the end of the course, the DOS employees who submitted challenges (Problem Sponsors) are provided with a deep understanding of the stakeholders, pain points, desired outcomes, and potential solutions around your problem. The student work helps the DOS employee build a business case to continue integrating the proposed solution beyond the semester.

For students,
Hacking 4 Diplomacy is an unparalleled opportunity to work directly on real-world Department of State challenges with DOS personnel and organizations. Students are also exposed to DOS career paths and gain experience.