July 11-15, 2022, the National Museum of American Diplomacy (NMAD), in partnership with the Diplomacy Center Foundation , and thanks to a generous grant from the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation , hosted a professional development workshop for local teachers to learn how to prepare their students for college, careers, and civic life with the skills of diplomacy.
Eighteen teachers from the District of Columbia, Arlington, Fairfax, Montgomery, and Prince George’s Counties participated in the National Museum of American Diplomacy Summer 2022 Teacher Workshop: Preparing Students for College, Career, and Civic Life with Diplomacy Skills. Participants were middle and high school teachers who teach a diverse group of students a range of subjects including English, world languages, social studies, history, U.S. government, civics, and African American history.
Acting National Museum Director Susan Cleary welcomed the teachers to the hybrid workshop, which took place on Zoom for four days and at the U.S. Department of State for one day. The five-day workshop immersed teachers in the work of the U.S. Department of State and the skills of diplomacy. During the week, participating teachers interacted with State Department subject matter experts and diplomats to discuss the skills and tools they use in their work at home and abroad to address pressing global issues.
Participants met with State Department officials who do Consular, Management, Political, Economic, and Public Diplomacy work, as well as a Special Agent with the Diplomatic Security Service and a Foreign Service Officer from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The Foreign Service Institute’s Orientation Division shared information about how the State Department prepares its staff to communicate effectively across cultures.
Workshop participants learned about the free resources available to build the global civic competencies of educators and students through the Youth Programs Division, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State, Fulbright Teacher Exchanges, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State , The Peace Corps, World Wise Schools Global Connections Program , United States Institute of Peace (USIP) , and Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training (ADST) . The State Department’s Diplomat in Residence from the Central South Region also told teachers about career paths into the State Department and internship opportunities for students.
While at the U.S. Department of State, teachers visited the Press Briefing Room, the Diplomatic Reception Rooms, and the preview exhibit at the National Museum of American Diplomacy, Diplomacy is Our Mission. During the tours, teachers heard from State Department staff about how they can use these resources to bring the history, practice, and skills of diplomacy into their classrooms.
The teachers experienced the NMAD Diplomacy Simulation, “International Migration Crisis: Human Rights and Border Security,” and spoke with a subject matter expert from the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration. They learned about the leading role the bureau plays in coordinating U.S. government efforts to support humanitarian organizations internationally and refugee resettlement organizations in the United States. Teachers also received training on how to facilitate diplomacy simulations with students.
Workshop participants enjoyed opportunities to engage first hand with NMAD exhibits, educational resources, and collections and explore how teachers can use them to enhance classroom instruction. Participants learned best practices in teaching with primary sources and object-based learning and discovered how the objects in MNADs collection can bring the stories of American diplomacy alive for their students.
To wrap up the workshop, teachers shared with NMAD staff and each other plans they developed during the week to teach history and current events through the lens of diplomacy, foster the skills of diplomacy in their students, and inspire a new generation to pursue careers in public service and international affairs.
Managing Director for Resources, Office of Policy, Planning, and Resources, Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Joni Scandola presented teachers with a certificate of completion for the workshop, which they can use to obtain professional development credits to renew their teaching licenses through their State Departments of Education.
To learn more about the National Museum of American Diplomacy’s Education Programs, please visit: https://diplomacy.state.gov/education/.
About the Author: Sonia Urbom is a member of the United States Foreign Service and serves as a Senior Advisor on the National Museum of American Diplomacy’s Education Team.