How does the U.S. Department of State engage American youth?


Students raise their country cards to have a chance to speak during a debate at the  Model United Nations Conference.

Students raise their country cards to have a
chance to speak during a debate at the
Model United Nations Conference.

The U.S. Department of State has a deep interest in educating and involving today’s students —the leaders and diplomats of tomorrow. Because of this, it has provided accessible information and various programs to help students become better acquainted with U.S. foreign affairs and policy.

Involvement with the State Department does not have to be any harder than turning on a computer! One of the best ways to become involved is to simply learn more about what the Department does and how its work is important to all aspects of life. Aside from Discover Diplomacy, students can check out http://www.state.gov/youthandeducation/, where they will find links to various youth programs, the Department blog, historical diplomatic milestones, and country specific information.

One way in which the State Department engages students in citizen diplomacy is through the Fulbright Program and other student exchange programs. The Fulbright Program offers highly competitive U.S. Government grants for U.S. undergraduate and graduate students and educators to research abroad. Other exchange programs expand the opportunity to a wider population. Both those who study abroad and those who host foreign students benefit from engaging with peers from other countries and learning about their culture. These exchanges break down barriers and give both individuals a more worldwide perspective.

For college students and recent graduates seeking a direct experience with diplomacy, the State Department offers regularly occurring internships, both paid and unpaid. The paid internships take place through the Pathways Program and involve only work in the United States. The unpaid internships are offered both in Washington D.C. at State Department headquarters, and overseas at the different embassies. These internships involve students in the diplomatic process, with a wide variety of duties ranging anywhere from planning sports programs, to working at English camps, handling logistics for a VIP visit or writing economic reports.