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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

State Department Exhibit at the USA Science & Engineering Festival

State Department Exhibit at the  

USA Science & Engineering Festival

April 26-27, 2014


Location: The National Security Pavilion
Hall B, Booth #1645
Walter E. Washington Convention Center
Washington, DC
Dimensions: 20’ by 40’
Content:  The exhibit showcases the following ways that the Department of State applies STEM-based knowledge and skills in foreign relations.

Consular Affairs

The Department’s highest priority is the safety and security of U.S. citizens traveling and living abroad. Two of our most important responsibilities are issuing passports to U.S. citizens, and issuing visas to foreign nationals who want to travel to the United States. We actively integrate new science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) innovations into our operations to advance our ability to detect impostors and prevent fraud.

At the Consular Affairs section of the exhibit, participants will be able to step in front of the interview window to learn how consular employees use sophisticated tools, such as facial recognition technology and biometrics, to identify fraudulent visa and passport applicants. Participants can use the same tools our consular adjudicators use to experience firsthand how the Department leverages STEM to better protect our borders and safeguard our communities.

Arms Control and International Security

Applied STEM disciplines underpin much of the national security work at the Department of State. The Arms Control and International Security section of the exhibit will demonstrate the multiple scientific disciplines -- such as chemistry, physics, and biology -- used to detect nuclear explosions in any environment anywhere in the world. The display will showcase different types of radiation detection equipment and the global sensor networks that search for the telltale signs of a nuclear explosion, supporting the vital mission of verifying compliance with nuclear test ban treaties. The exhibit will also explore novel and emerging technologies which can be used to further support the arms control monitoring and verification missions of the Department.

This section of the exhibit will also showcase the Department’s collaborative work with the Golden West Foundation to apply the power of engineering to make post-conflict regions of the world safer every day. The Department and Golden West will display their use of advanced 3-D printing technology, used to create training models of landmines and military ordnance, for use by demining technicians working to safely clear explosive remnants of war in post-conflict countries around the world.

Economy and the Environment

The State Department fosters innovation through robust science, entrepreneurship, and technology policies, and advances consumer protection and environmental sustainability. It develops and implements programs to address economic growth; energy security; agricultural issues; protect the oceans and the environment, address climate change, and advance science, technology and health policies. The exhibit highlights the role of environment, science, technology and health officers and economic officers assigned to U.S. missions around the world and the exciting work that they do. The Economy and Environment part of the exhibit includes:

  • Drug testing minilab kit that identifies counterfeit medicines
  • Spot the Fakes demonstration of counterfeit products
  • Marine debris
  • Cookstoves display highlighting low tech/clean energy solutions
  • Air quality monitoring

For more information about how the State Department uses STEM to protect intellectual property, click here.

For more information about how the State Department applies STEM innovations to the challenges facing our world, click here.

Diplomatic Security

The Department uses many kinds of technology to protect Americans at Embassies overseas. The center piece of the Diplomatic Security section of the exhibit is an armored Suburban equipped with jamming technologies, 360 degree video recording equipment and encrypted communication equipment. Other featured equipment includes samples of bullet proof glass and an explosive trace detection system. Special agents, security engineers, and security technicians use this and many other kinds of technology in their daily operations to successfully provide protective details for foreign dignitaries and the Secretary of State, technical security for the embassies abroad, and local host government security liaison work.

For more information about how the State Department uses technology to keep our diplomats safe, click here.

The Greening Diplomacy Initiative

The Department of State, through the Greening Diplomacy Initiative (GDI), works to reduce its environmental footprint. The GDI section of the exhibit will highlight how STEM innovations enable diplomatic missions abroad to serve as laboratories and showcases for how global organizations can integrate sustainability, from smart meters for electric grids, to solar panels, rainwater collectors, and more. Participants will see demonstrations of technologies and practices that U.S. missions around the world use to become more eco-friendly. For more information, click here.


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