MACON – Mercer University has been selected to join the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomacy Lab, a partnership that harnesses the efforts of students and faculty across the country to solve real-world challenges related to foreign policy.

Mercer is one of 46 institutions nationwide to participate in the program since its launch in 2013.

“Mercer’s partnership with the Department of State through Diplomacy Lab will allow our students to gain valuable, transferable experience addressing global problems and furthering U.S. policies,” said Dr. David A. Davis, director of fellowships and scholarships. “Our students will work with Foreign Service Officers stationed around the world, and they will study issues such as human trafficking, cybersecurity and economic development. This partnership will enhance our students’ ability to change the world.”

The Diplomacy Lab allows the Department of State to tap into an underutilized reservoir of intellectual capital and “course-source” research taking place in American colleges and universities.

A list of projects proposed by the Department of State is shared with university partners twice per year. Faculty at these institutions “bid” on projects that they would like to lead a student team in researching. Research can be conducted as part of a course, seminar or independent project.

Diplomacy Lab projects come from offices across the State Department and at posts around the globe. These projects have addressed issues and challenges such as climate change, democracy and human rights, global health, energy security, gender equality, economic policy, trafficking in persons, food security, and conflict and stabilization.

The program is design to address State Department priorities to engage the American people in the work of diplomacy and to broaden the Department’s research base.