INAF U6209 E-GOVERNMENT & DIGITAL DIPLOMACY
Governments can use technology wonderfully, or terribly. Diplomatic tweets can make history, or embarrass their countries. Technology in government can be a tool, or a promise; part of the infrastructure -- like plumbing -- or the star in the room. Figuring out how to deal with technology’s inevitable rise in government is hard.
This class examines why, what to do about it, and why it matters. We cover two areas:
- E-GOVERNMENT, or, tech within government: how government institutions and the officials who run them use technology to function; how usage makes government better or worse or just transformed; how citizens gain or lose power, influence, and access via tech tools; and how technologists working both inside and outside government can use tech to make government better in the years to come.
- DIGITAL DIPLOMACY, or, tech use by governments to engage with the outside world: how governments interact publicly with other governments; how diplomats leverage citizens – and how citizens leverage diplomats – in their own and other nations; the powerful new role that networks and tech companies themselves occupy in foreign policy; and how the next generation of diplomatic professionals can navigate this new landscape.
WHY TAKE THIS COURSE
1. Governments have to get tech right
Government can’t ignore, but aren’t always ready for, the seismic shifts in technology development. This class focuses on why technology in government and diplomacy matters, not just as a set of tools, but as a force: for national security, international stability, citizen empowerment, civil service reform, and in pursuit of building governments that better serve their people.
2. You'll learn stuff that will prepare you for work
The goal of the course is to prepare students for work in the field. To that end, assignments are practical, tailored to advancing students’ professional goals and honing workplace skills. Every student is encouraged to apply every stitch of work they do in the class to prepare for their future careers. Past student projects have made their way into media from TechCrunch to The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, institutions from TED to the White House, tech companies from Palantir to Google, and to improving various bureaucracies around the world.
3. You'll meet people with inside knowledge of gov, tech, and beyond
Our classes are discussion-based and represent a diversity of opinions: in the past, students came from over a dozen countries and a range of career backgrounds, from city, state and local governments, journalism, activism, law, the tech sector, humanitarian organizations and the military. Past guest speakers have come from tech companies including Google Jigsaw and Dataminr; publications such as Foreign Affairs, The New York Times, Bloomberg, Foreign Policy and The Intercept; and organizations including the United Nations, AT&T, the CFPB, the Department of Defense, and State Department.