As the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season brings storms such as Hurricane Hanna to the shores of Mexico, the country has a new source of disaster response information and analysis to draw upon thanks to the work of students at Indiana University Bloomington and IUPUI.
As part of IU's contribution to the U.S. Department of State's Diplomacy Lab program, 16 IU Bloomington students spent their spring semester producing a technical database and 150-page report on policy challenges and opportunities related to natural disasters for the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City. A larger group of students, including students from IUPUI, then capped the project with a May 8 briefing to the two lead members of the consular team, Minister Counselor Ambassador Don Heflin and Consul General David McCawley.
Diplomacy Lab helps the State Department "course-source" research and innovation related to global policy challenges from the nation's top universities. Michael Hamburger, a professor in the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Science's Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, helped bring the program to IU Bloomington after spending the 2015-16 academic year as a Jefferson Science Fellow at the State Department. Another branch of the program was established at IUPUI two years earlier under the leadership of Gabriel Filippelli, professor of earth sciences in the School of Science at IUPUI.
Under the program, IU and other universities "bid" on topics posted by the State Department, which selects the best proposals and assigns students as consultants to their foreign embassies. In this case, the client was the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, which is responsible for the health and safety of the estimated 1.5 million American citizens who live in, work in or travel to Mexico. Consular members work from the embassy in Mexico City, as well as nine offices across the country.
A second group of participants from an undergraduate class at IUPUI were led by Filippelli. The IUPUI team focused on long-term issues related to climate change, infrastructure and public health; the IU Bloomington team focused solely on natural disasters.
Read the full article