Kennesaw State named partner for State Department’s Diplomacy Lab

KENNESAW, Ga. | Apr 1, 2019

Partnership harnesses research and innovation of students and faculty

The U.S. Department of State has named Kennesaw State University as one of its newest partners for the Diplomacy Lab, a program that harnesses the scholarly efforts of college students and faculty to solve complex global challenges.

Kennesaw State is one of 35 universities involved in the public-private partnership that enables the State Department to “course-source” research and innovation related to foreign policy challenges. Partner universities conduct research on the State Department’s most critical matters, including climate change, democracy and human rights, counterterrorism, global health, energy security, gender equality, economic policy trafficking of individuals, food security, and conflict and stabilization.

“This is an important step for Kennesaw State,” said Sherrill Hayes, program director for the Ph.D. in Analytics and Data Science and professor of conflict management, who will serve as KSU’s Diplomacy Lab coordinator. “The Diplomacy Lab offers a highly interdisciplinary approach, and having these abundant opportunities to do applied policy research will only continue to grow Kennesaw State’s reputation as an R2 powerhouse.”  

Each semester, the State Department proposes projects that match the strengths and interests of the universities participating in the Diplomacy Lab. Hayes explained that, for example, a proposed project on cryptocurrency in developing countries could draw on Kennesaw State faculty member’s expertise in economics, computer science, international affairs, or sociology.

With 55 projects available for the fall semester, Kennesaw State will call on faculty experts to recruit and lead student teams on compatible projects. Each university may submit bids for up to six projects per semester.

Working in teams or as part of a class project, KSU students will explore real-world challenges identified by the State Department, allowing them to contribute directly to the policymaking process while helping the department tap into the University’s intellectual capital. KSU faculty will guide students in developing a product that achieves the goals outlined by the department.

Students will meet with State Department officials to gain context and direction for the project and also discuss their research through video and phone conferences throughout the semester. Students then present their results and final work, which may take the form of short policy memos, research papers or statistical analyses to department officials.

– Tiffany Capuano

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 45,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit