Graduate students from the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy (ISD) capstone course on Southeast Asia presented policy recommendations at the US State Department on May 3, 2017, with their instructor, Foreign Service Officer Katharine Nanavatty. [VL1] In an historic, seventh-floor conference room, the ISD students presented a joint report on U.S. engagement with Southeast Asia to a distinguished panel of US officials and Asia experts, including Special Representative for North Korea Policy Joseph Yun, Chief of Staff in the Office of the Deputy Secretary of State Yuri Kim, and Special Assistant for East Asia and Pacific Affairs Charlie Davis.
The capstone team laid out recommendations for a new framework to sustain US engagement in Southeast Asia—an increasingly important region that is home to US allies and partners, strategic sea-lanes, and fast-growing economies that support more than half a million export-oriented jobs in the United States. Panel members praised the team’s hard work and fresh ideas, engaging the group in a candid discussion of the challenges and complexities pertaining to the team’s recommendations.
The ISD team then enjoyed a brief tour of the State Department and lunch in the Martin Van Buren dining room. One student commented, “Presenting our capstone research to leading State Department officials working on the very issues we were grappling with was an incredible opportunity and learning experience for us all. Our panel members offered insightful feedback on our Southeast Asia policy recommendations as well as advice for our future policymaking endeavors. It was definitely a memorable day!”