From St. Louis to Branson: The State Department’s Impact on Missouri

On behalf of the American people, the State Department promotes and demonstrates democratic values and advances a free, peaceful, and prosperous world. By leading America’s foreign policy through diplomacy, advocacy, and assistance, the Department keeps the American people safe both at home and abroad and advances our shared economic prosperity. The State Department directly impacts the “Show-Me” state of Missouri through public-private partnerships, military cooperation, and grant programs.

First, as part of the Diplomacy Lab network, the State Department’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs partnered with Missouri University of Science and Technology. Led by the State Department’s Office of Global Partnerships, Diplomacy Lab is a public-private partnership that enables the State Department to “course-source” research and innovation related to foreign policy challenges. Partner schools like Missouri University of Science and Technology conduct research around Department-selected topics, and over the course of a semester, professors guide students in developing a final work product that accomplishes the goals outlined by the Department. Missouri University of Science and Technology students worked on a series of projects to examine the efficacy of awareness raising materials from around the world related to anti-microbial resistance. Diplomacy Lab underscores the Department’s commitment to engage with the American people in the work of the State Department, and the need to broaden the Department’s research base in response to increasingly complex and evolving global challenges.

Secondly, the State Department coordinates the Missouri National Guard’s State Partnership Program (SPP) with Panama, founded in 1996. The State Partnership Program links a state’s National Guard with the armed forces or equivalent of a partner country in a cooperative, mutually beneficial relationship. Through the SPP, the Missouri National Guard conducts military-to-military engagements with Panamanian counterparts in support of defense security goals. The SPP has become a key U.S. security cooperation tool, facilitating collaboration across all aspects of international civil-military affairs and encouraging people-to-people ties at the state level.

Third, each year since 2016, the State Department’s Young Leaders of the America’s Initiative brings 250 entrepreneurs (Fellows) aged 25–35 from 36 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean to the United States to learn from U.S. counterparts, share best practices, and augment practical skills to expand their operations and impact. Fellows participate in one-month professional development programs while embedded at host businesses in cities across the United States, and businesses in Kansas City, Missouri have regularly hosted YLAI entrepreneurs to support their efforts to enhance their ventures and operational plans. YLAI Fellows return home with new skills, ideas, and contacts that propel their contributions to social and economic growth in their home countries, based on a U.S. model. Subsequently, select U.S. business hosts visit YLAI Fellows in their respective countries. The U.S. entrepreneurs enhance their own strategic partnerships and professional connections, share their expertise even more widely, tackle operational issues, and network to find markets abroad for their own U.S. goods and services. This year, two Kansas City, Missouri host businesses will visit their fellows in two Caribbean countries.

Finally, the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs has a positive impact on Missouri’s economy. In 2017, two partnerships were created between Missouri-based small business centers and small business centers in Colombia and Honduras under the Small Business Network of the Americas Small Grants Program. The Small Business Network of the Americas is made up of thousands of community-based small business centers, and helps connect more than two million entrepreneurs and small businesses to create new jobs.

From St. Louis to Branson, the State Department builds bridges that bring the people of Missouri and the people of the world together. And Missourians, in return, impact the world through innovation, military cooperation, entrepreneurship, and more.

Find out more about the Department of State’s impact in American communities at Department of State by State.

Editor’s Note: This entry originally appeared on DipNote.

For more information:

The official Medium account of the U.S. Department of State

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