ImpactHack Awards Ceremony Banner
Announcing the Winners of ImpactHack2020!
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On September 15, 2020, NMAD held an online awards ceremony, broadcast over its website and social media accounts, to recognize the winners of the ImpactHack2020, a contest that helped develop future museum exhibits. 

This hackathon was a way to work closely with the public to develop ideas for two future museum exhibits:

  • Interactive World Map: Using publicly available data, participants created an interactive world map that explores where, when, and why American diplomacy happens and the topics addressed by multilateral efforts
  • Creating a Diverse Diplomatic Corps: Using State Department career information, participants created an interactive site where users match their skills and interests to careers in diplomacy. 

The winners are:

    • Overall Grand Prize: John Ferguson (U.S. Army) & Andrew Ferguson (Harvard University)
    • Best Creating a Diverse Diplomatic Corps Interactive: Michelle D’Souza (University of California, Berkeley) 
    • Best World Map Interactive : Ranjan Biswas (Georgetown University)
    • Honorable Mention: Sherry Fan (University of California, Berkeley)

NMAD is very grateful to the nearly 400 participants who competed in this virtual hackathon from July 15 to August 24, 2020. Participants used their tech skills and creativity to enhance the general public’s understanding of diplomacy and its related skills. These projects will serve as prototypes for future interactive exhibits in the museum.

Please contact for more information.

Virtual Diplomacy Simulation program presentation
NMAD Pivots to Online Programming
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NMAD continues to reach students and educators virtually! We have started a new, online biweekly series aimed at educators and students called Diplomacy Classroom. Every other Tuesday at 1pm, NMAD education and curatorial staff highlight new stories of American diplomacy as well as online teaching materials that help educators bring diplomacy into their classrooms. Diplomacy Classroom sessions are recorded and placed on the NMAD website so educators may access the content at any time, and share it with their students when it best suits their curriculum.

Also, we have created training and supporting materials for educators so they may offer and facilitate our Diplomacy Simulation Program (DSP) with their students virtually! NMAD simulations, which organizes students in stakeholder teams representing different perspectives, invites them to play the role of diplomats using the core skills of diplomacy: composure, awareness, communication, and leadership. The groups must work together towards common solutions to hypothetical global crises. Even in a virtual environment, students are able to meet these challenges! The training materials are free, and can be found on our website, along with the free simulation materials.

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Honoring America’s First Female Ambassador
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In 1949, Eugenie Anderson (1909-1997) became the first American woman to be an ambassador when President Harry S Truman appointed her to be ambassador to Denmark. Following her highly successful tour in Denmark, President John F. Kennedy appointed her to be U.S ambassador to Bulgaria in 1962, making her the first American woman to serve as ambassador to a Soviet-allied country behind the Iron Curtain. Among her remarkable achievements, Anderson was also a pioneer in people-to-people diplomacy, placing special emphasis on meeting directly with citizens of host countries where she served. 

NMAD highlights Anderson in the #HerDiplomacy online exhibit, Diplomacy is Our Mission physical exhibit, and also featured her life and work in a special edition of the bi-weekly online program, Diplomacy Classroom.

Show your support with our CFC number
Support NMAD Through the CFC
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The Diplomacy Center Foundation (DCF), the philanthropic partner for the museum, is participating in the CFC for the first time. Federal appropriations provide NMAD’s operating budget, while private donations allow for programs and the development, fabrication, and installation of exhibitions.

The Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) is the largest and most successful workplace charitable giving drive in the world. CFC is the only authorized charitable solicitation of federal employees in their workplaces. CFC is structured to support and to promote philanthropy through a voluntary program that is cost-efficient and effective in providing all Federal employees the opportunity to impact the CFC charities.

NMAD is the first museum devoted to exploring the value and power of America’s diplomatic relations and to showcasing the strength, dedication, and ingenuity of our nation’s diplomatic community. DCF is a private-sector 501(c)(3) dedicated to fundraising to make the museum possible.

If you are a government employee your donation to DCF through the 2020 Combined Federal Campaign will help us bring the museum to life with programs and exhibits. Please designate the Diplomacy Center Foundation as your recipient organization. Their CFC number is #30585

virtual event featuring cultural envoys
Diplomacy After Hours Recognizes 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act
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On July 8, 2020, NMAD hosted a Diplomacy After Hours program virtually in honor of the 30th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Held in partnership with the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs, the conversation included US Sports Envoy Deja Young, a two-time gold medalist from the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games; US Cultural Envoy Tony Memmel; and International Visitors Leadership Program Alumn Flor Braga Menéndez from Buenos Aires, Argentina. The program began with Tony playing his guitar and engaging the audience in a song before getting to the tougher conversation about living in the world with disabilities, including advances made and challenges which remain.

ImpactHack Participants Explore Tech and Diplomacy in Virtual Interactive Event
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On July 29, 2020 NMAD hosted a virtual interactive feedback session for participants in this year’s NMAD hackathon, ImpactHack2020. Stephen Rose from Microsoft, Faisal Khan from Department of State Specialist Recruitment, and Patrick Sheard from Diplomatic Security joined to discuss opportunities in tech and diplomacy. ImpactHack2020 is a five-week virtual hackathon to prototype interactives for the upcoming museum, including an embassy world map and a tool that assists visitors to match their skills and interests with careers in diplomacy. 

Mary Kane, NMAD’s director, kicked off the event with a special introduction and then passed it to Khan and Sheard, who discussed career opportunities with the State Department for specialized skills. Rose, representing Microsoft, brought a unique private sector perspective, exploring the future of software and burgeoning sectors of tech, as well as the creativity crucial to thrive in the industry. Reva Gupta, a Foreign Service Officer and NMAD’s Public Affairs Officer discussed her experience, before the event broke for a participatory session where the participants could visit five separate virtual “rooms,” including two rooms for feedback and asking questions about their ImpactHack2020 projects, a room for advice on how to pursue a career in diplomacy, a room for connecting with volunteer mentors, and a room for Q&A with Gupta on the Foreign Service. Rose also stayed to answer questions and demo technology applicable to both the museum and international diplomacy, such as potential uses of live auto-translation.

Over 70 hackathon participants joined the event. A follow-up event for ImpactHack participants who could not join on July 29 occurred the following week.

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NMAD Celebrates Hero of U.S. Diplomacy Patricia Morton
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On July 28, 2020 NMAD partnered with the Department’s Foreign Service Institute (FSI) and Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) for a virtual panel recognizing the late Patricia “Patti” Morton (1935-2019) as a Hero of U.S. Diplomacy. Heroes of Diplomacy is a program run by FSI with support from the Una Chapman Cox Foundation with the goal of recognizing current and historical heroes who made outstanding contributions to American diplomacy.

Patricia Morton was remarkable in that not only was she the first woman to be a Diplomatic Security agent, but she also pioneered many security techniques and practices that are still in place today. FSI Director Ambassador Daniel B. Smith opened the event with Morton’s accomplishments, stating that she met challenges with “grace, focus, and commitment.” DS Training Deputy Assistant Secretary Wendy Bashnan told how Morton’s work was integral for the creation of current personal safety training and emergency preparedness plans. 

NMAD Associate Curator Katie Speckart gave a presentation full of artifacts and images that Morton donated to NMAD, telling the story of Morton’s 29-year career at the Department. Along with serving on a protective detail for Princess Grace of Monaco, Morton contributed to the Department’s emergency preparedness response during the Vietnam War, implemented the first personal defense security trainings, and advocated for diverse recruitment and hiring practices. 

DS Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary Julie Cabus added how the advancements Morton made in the Bureau of Diplomatic Security and Department of State as a whole remain integral to the service, especially to women in DS.

Alison addresses group
NMAD Diplomacy Simulations Help Promote Greater Diversity in Diplomacy
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On June 24, 2020 NMAD was delighted to facilitate a virtual Diplomacy Simulation with 15 Howard University Rangel Scholars. During the simulation, the Scholars had an opportunity to step into the shoes of a diplomat by using the skills of diplomacy to seek solutions to a hypothetical crisis. The simulation exercise was part of the Scholars’ introductory training for their program. 

Scholars each expressed profound gratitude and shared ‘aha’ moments that caused them to think differently about their careers in international affairs after participating in the NMAD diplomacy simulation.”

Named for Congressman Charles B. Rangel, the State Department’s Rangel International Affairs Program began in 2002 and is administered by Howard University. The program offers graduate fellowships to outstanding college seniors and college graduates who want to join the Foreign Service. The program goals are to promote greater diversity and excellence in the Foreign Service of the U.S. Department of State. These fellowships help finance two-year graduate programs, provide two summer internships, mentoring from a Foreign Service Officer, and other professional development activities. 

Zoom event with DAH speakers
Diplomacy After Hours Recognizes Pride with Discussion about Workplace inclusion Issues for LGBTQ Individuals
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On June 10, the National Museum of American Diplomacy (NMAD) hosted its monthly Diplomacy After Hours in recognition of Pride. In partnership with glifaa LGBT+ Pride in foreign affairs agencies, we hosted a dynamic conversion about inclusive workplace environments. NMAD Public Affairs Officer, Reva Gupta facilitated the discussion between Former Ambassador Michael Guest, Vice President of glifaa at the State Department Chris Johnson, and trans activist and advocate Feroza Syed — the conversation catalysts, and the virtual audience.

A timely discussion about diversity and inclusion ensued, framed within the roots of Pride and the racial violence occurring in the United States. Pride was a response to the historic violence and intolerance inflicted on LGBTQ individuals, not just to what happened at the Stonewall Inn on June 28, 1969. Similarly, the racial violence in the United States after the murder of George Floyd is one of the most recent examples of institutionally sanctioned violence towards people of color and black bodies. Though the roots are different, there are elements of commonality. The stereotyping and marginalization of certain communities creates an atmosphere for dehumanization to foment.

Chris shared information about glifaa and the support it provides to officers overseas and domestically. Ambassador Guest shared his experiences of trying to work within the State Department until he realized he could not push for change within and so he resigned. Ultimately, he was able to advocate and make the changes that do exist at the State Department through his work with the Obama Administration. Feroza emphasized the complexity that even within groups, power dynamics and privilege exists, for example, the Human Rights Campaign reported at least 38 deaths of transgender individuals since 2019, of which the majority were black and brown. Not many people knew, but on May 27, two days after George Floyd was killed, Tony McDade, a black transgender man, was shot and killed by police in Florida. As in this case, gender is often misreported by authorities. The robust conversation highlighted that within the conversation about inclusion, it is also critical to realize that being black, brown, immigrant, Muslim, and many other intersection of identities will most likely compound the experiences of marginalization and trauma that is felt.

Notes on Racial Justice and Foreign Relations at the State Department
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Even before the height of the height of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, the struggle for racial justice in the United States deeply affected diplomats and the practice of American diplomacy. Within the State Department, in the mid-20th century African American diplomats faced steep career barriers, often being assigned only to hardship posts in Africa. In 1949, civil right attorney Edward R. Dudley became the first African American to hold the rank of Ambassador. During his tenure, Dudley made great strides to break down these barriers, holding the Department accountable to its own employment policies.

Domestic U.S. racial justice issues also have played out in international relations, as noted in a February 2020 program at NMAD. During this program, Chris Wilson from the National Museum of American History shared information on how the civil rights movement coincided with an increase in diplomatic representation from African countries after they gained independence. Read more about a diplomatic crisis that developed as African diplomats were turned away from services along Route 40, which they took to travel between New York City and Washington, D.C.

If you have more information like this to share with the museum, including artifacts, please do not hesitate to contact us at as we build awareness about this critical time in America.