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Wonk Tank Competition

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    Jordan Koletic


    After the success of last year’s competition, Wonk Tank is back to find America’s next great foreign policy wonk! We recognize the growing role young people are playing in shaping the global agenda and want to continue to leverage those fresh perspectives.


    What’s Wonk Tank?

    Wonk Tank is a competition for university students across the United States to showcase their ability to be America’s next great “foreign policy wonk.” A wonk is an individual who has a keen interest in and aptitude for the details of public policy.  Like the hit television show Shark Tank, future “wonks” are invited to pitch policy proposals addressing a specific international problem or challenge requiring attention, a nuanced solution, and next steps to consider. Three finalists will be brought to Washington, D.C. to present their pitches to a panel of Department of State officials.


    Why Wonk Tank?

    In response to a proliferation of complex global challenges, the U.S. Department of State aims to broaden and strengthen its foreign policy by engaging the American people in the work of diplomacy and development. Recognizing the growing role young people are playing in shaping the global agenda, the U.S. Department of State launched Wonk Tank in 2015 as part of the the existing Diplomacy Lab program aimed at fostering the next generation of foreign policy leaders.


    How Can I Submit My Policy Pitch?

    Visit ‎before February 3, 2017 to submit your pitch!

    Along with a brief written description of your proposal and some information about yourself, you’ll submit a YouTube link to a video of a 3-5 minute “TEDTalk”-style pitch. Don’t worry about the quality of the video – your application will only be judged on your policy proposal (and your ability to sell it)!


    Who Wins in Washington?

    Three finalists will present their pitch to a panel of senior policy officials during the Wonk Tank Final competition will at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. on Friday, April 7, 2017. Finalists will present in front of a live audience of Department officials, current and past Diplomacy Lab partner offices, and the public.


    What Do Wonks Win?

    The winning wonk will be awarded a paid internship for summer 2017 at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) with the Project on U.S. Leadership in Development. You can find a full description of the internship here.


    Who Can Apply?

    All currently enrolled (as of Fall 2016) university students based in the United States are encouraged to apply.


    Competition Timeline

    11/10/16 – 02/03/17: Call for student pitch proposals at

    Early-March 2017: Three finalists will be notified

    4/7/17: Wonk Tank final competition at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C.


    Any Questions?

    For more information email us at diplomacylab(at), or follow us on Twitter @DiplomacyLab

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