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Two More Diplomacy Lab Projects Awarded to CCI Faculty

US Dept. of StateSeminar proposals from Howard Distinguished Endowed Professor of Media Management and Law and Beaman Professor of Journalism and Electronic Media Stuart N. Brotman and from CS Associate Professor Michelle Violanti have been accepted by the US Department of State’s Diplomacy Lab for fall 2018.

This will mark Brotman’s fourth Diplomacy Lab seminar, the most of any UT professor. The project is titled, “Countering Disinformation Through Storytelling.” Brotman and his students will: take a fresh look at how diplomats and program designers use stories to connect to people around the world, create shared knowledge around policy priorities, and offer factual information that still resonates with people’s emotional centers. Project participants will explore if and how proactive, fact-based storytelling works to inoculate people against mis- and disinformation.

This will be Violanti’s first Diplomacy Lab seminar. The project, Analysis of Public Affairs’ Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives, will be conducted during two semesters. Graduate research methods will address current data and create a standardized survey format to help develop, track, and analyze diversity and inclusion (D&I) survey results with the Bureau of Public Affairs Diversity Leadership Council (DLC). Focusing on content analysis and survey design, students will learn how to develop effective basic and applied research questions, appropriate data collection methods for answering those questions, and analyze collected data. The project teams will use these results to help develop a standard survey template that can be administered annually and/or as needed to gauge progress toward achieving D&I strategy goals and objectives.  

“To date, CCI faculty have been very active in leading Diplomacy Lab projects,” said CCI Dean Mike Wirth. “Each seminar has provided a unique and interesting learning experience for our students with an added bonus of contributing to the diplomatic efforts of our country. We look forward to seeing what these latest projects yield for our students and the US Department of State.”

UT’s Howard H. Baker, Jr. Center for Public Policy has been a partner in the Diplomacy Lab since fall 2015. The projects allow students to participate in research that contributes to the policy-making process and to interact with policy-makers to explore real-world challenges and solutions. Including the fall 2018 labs, CCI faculty have led twelve Diplomacy Lab projects.

CCI Diplomacy Lab Projects

Spring 2018

Stuart N. Brotman, “Identifying and Assisting ‘Tipping Point Countries’ for Internet Freedom Globally”

Devendra Potnis, “Digital Literacy and Good Governance”

Sam Swan, “Social Media Wars: The Battle for Influence in Bulgaria”

Fall 2017

Stuart N. Brotman, “The Changing Art of Diplomacy: Social Media as a US Foreign Policy Tool”

Spring 2017

Devendra Potnis, “Leveraging the use of WhatsApp to spread the US message”

Candace White, “Developing new case studies for public-private partnerships”

Fall 2016

Stuart N. Brotman, “Big Data or Big Deal?  Using Data and Research in The Public Domain to Produce Actionable Guidance for Public Diplomacy”

Spring 2016

Bharat Mehra, “LGBTI issues: Analysis of historic participation of LGBTI persons in African culture”

Fall 2015

Catherine Luther, “Case Studies of Communication Strategies/Tactics of Police Units in Democracies”

Bharat Mehra, “International Correction Reform and Human Rights Protections for LGBTI Inmates in Latin America and/or Africa”