Department of State Presents the Diplomacy Lab Project Fair and Wonk Tank Competition

Notice to the Press
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
March 31, 2016

The U.S. Department of State is proud to present the first-ever Diplomacy Lab Project Fair and Wonk Tank Final Competition on Friday, April 1, in the Marshall Center at the U.S. Department of State. The morning Diplomacy Lab session will begin at 9:30 a.m. and the afternoon Wonk Tank session will begin at 1:00 p.m. The event is open to the public and open to the press.

Diplomacy Lab is a public-private partnership that enables the Department to “course-source” research and innovation related to foreign policy challenges by harnessing the efforts and knowledge of students and faculty experts at colleges and universities across the country. The Wonk Tank competition was created under the Diplomacy Lab structure as a platform for university students across the United States to showcase their ability to be America’s next great “policy wonk.”

The morning Diplomacy Lab session will feature welcoming remarks from Special Representative for Global Partnerships Andrew O’Brien; lightning pitches from organizations that work to engage young people in foreign affairs, including Young Professionals in Foreign Policy, No Lost Generation, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Peace Corps, and the Virtual Student Foreign Service program; and a Diplomacy Lab best practices panel with Diplomacy Lab coordinators in the Department and corresponding universities. Past Diplomacy Lab university project teams will also showcase their work at a project fair throughout the programming.

The afternoon Wonk Tank session will feature keynote remarks from Ambassador Joseph E. Macmanus. Deputy National Security Advisor to the Vice President Dr. Ely Ratner, Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Linda Thomas Greenfield, and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs John Heffern will serve as judges for the Wonk Tank competition. Judges will discuss policy formation and practices in a plenary panel moderated by Principal Deputy Director of Policy Planning Siddharth Mohandas, then hear policy pitches from four Wonk Tank finalists, who were highlighted in a Google Hangout earlier this month. The four finalists represent Florida International University, the University of New Mexico, the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, and Yale University.

A full agenda for the day can be found here. Registration for the event is available here.

For the morning session, pre-set time for cameras is 8:45 a.m. from the 21st Street entrance. Final access time for writers and stills is 9:15 from the 21st Street entrance.

For the afternoon session, pre-set time for cameras is 12:00 p.m. from the 21st Street entrance. Final access time for writers and stills is 12:30 p.m. from the 21st Street entrance.

Media representatives may attend these sessions upon presentation of one of the following: (1) A U.S. Government-issued identification card (Department of State, White House, Congress, Department of Defense or Foreign Press Center), (2) a media-issued photo identification card, or (3) a letter from their employer on letterhead verifying their employment as a journalist, accompanied by an official photo identification card (driver's license, passport).

For other media inquiries, please contact Natalie Alm at

Follow @GPatState, @DiplomacyLab, and #wonktank on Twitter for updates, and please contact with any questions.