Georgetown Diplomatic Strategies

Future Leaders, Current Issues

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Eligibility: Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?

  • No

Website or social media url(s) (optional):

Instagram: gdsglobaldc Twitter: GDSGlobalDC Facebook: Georgetown Diplomatic Strategies Website:

Date Started


Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Established (successfully passed early phases, have a plan for the future)

1. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project? NOTE: All applications must include a 1 minute video that answers: “I am stepping up to make change because..."

2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

Developing states in the Caribbean are highly vulnerable to environmental changes and have already felt the devastating effects of climate change. Although the Caribbean represents only a small fraction of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, it has been and will continue to be one of the areas of the world impacted most severely by climate change. The region has been devastatingly overlooked by strong international powers and needs attention.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

GDS will work with senior Caribbean policymakers and college students to explore disaster relief, but also to develop a framework for, preventing environmental degradation, and enhancing vital infrastructure to mitigate the future effects of climate change while furthering the discussion on the vital implications of climate change. GDS will host a workshop in Barbados for University of West Indies students, which will enable students to participate in climate change discussions, diplomacy simulations, and engage with ambassadors and senior policymakers from the Caribbean. Students will learn how to lead high-level bilateral dialogues, hone crisis negotiation strategies, and foster productive relationships with foreign ministries. Students will also draft policy proposal papers that will be submitted to the Foreign Ministry and US embassy. GDS will assist in the creation of a diplomacy club at the University allowing the students of Barbados to continue to develop their diplomatic skills and continue the discussion on climate change. GDS will host a summit at Georgetown in November 2018 in order to officially present the workshop report and bring the ideas back to campus.

4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

One of our promising Student Diplomats, Seth Brown, joined GDS in the fall. Our executive identified Seth as an extremely promising member and watched his performance at embassy roundtable discussions at the Embassy of Barbados and the Embassy of Australia. Seth asked stimulating questions to the ambassadors and has conducted research with the skills fostered through GDS. Accordingly, Seth was given the responsibility of social media and outreach coordinator. We hope that Seth will one day be the leader of GDS as he further matures in his intellectually and professionally.

5. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

This project is unique as it combines professional development opportunities with the formation of actual long-term policy. In this way, Caribbean students will be provided with not only the skills they will need for their future careers but also the opportunity to craft policy that will impact the future of their country. While diplomatic professional development is usually concentrated in the U.S. in order to continue a mutually beneficial relationship between the U.S. and the Caribbean in the future, it is vital that Caribbean students are as well-prepared to enter government as well.

6. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

Last spring, we created Georgetown’s first summit on climate change and international security, highlighting climate change as a threat multiplier. It included President Obama’s National Security Advisor General Jim Jones, VP Kathleen Hicks of CSIS and Ambassadors Lars Lose of Denmark, Selwin Hart of Barbados, and Peter Wittig of Germany. The Ambassadors Summit had an attendance of over 350 GU students, faculty and senior members of the wider diplomatic community, the summit’s video was also reviewed by the Foreign Minister of Barbados and President Obama’s team. By continuing to cultivate these relationships, future GDS members will ensure the ability to host future climate change summits, both at Georgetown and in the Caribbean, providing for the sustainability of the project through continued discourse and policy development.

7. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

After successful completion of our project in Barbados and policy summit at Georgetown, we would like to complete similar projects around the Caribbean and in other locations of the world especially threatened by climate change. Furthermore, we would like to continue our working relationship with the University of the West Indies and the Foreign Ministry of Barbados into the future. One day, hopefully, our workshop and policy simulation will be an annual event lead by the Diplomacy Club of the University of the West Indies with the guidance and assistance of GDS in order to keep a sustainable influence in the future of Caribbean policy. In addition, we are looking to partner with additional embassies to further the dialogue.

8. Future Support: What are the resources needed to make your vision a reality?

GDS a student-run, non-profit organization reliant on grant funding to continue its work. We are looking for financial support in order to extend our mission to new locations in the Caribbean, Indo-Pacific, and Middle East/ North Africa, foster new and global relationships with Embassies and policymakers from around the world, increase awareness for our work through maintaining our website, administration, and marketing costs, and allow us to continue hosting policy summits and events to foster dialogue on the most pressing international issues. Furthermore, we would be honored to have the guidance of the Ashoka team to help us build the GDS brand and influence into the future, increasing the size of our Student Diplomats team.

9. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Mentors/advisors
  • Donations between $1k-$5k

10. Ripple Effect: Please share some ideas of how you could partner with other changemakers or involve other young people as leaders in making a difference.

The second primary goal of GDS is to foster youth development in the fields of diplomacy and international relations. In this regard, GDS gives Georgetown University students opportunities to engage with top policymakers and diplomats to learn from their experiences and expertise while developing a tangible diplomatic toolkit they can use to obtain and succeed in the field of diplomacy. We hope to expand professional development program (Student Diplomats) to other schools in the DC Metro area such as American, Catholic, and George Washington Universities. By including students from across schools and disciplines we will be able to inspire a wide array of future leaders, who have already developed the tools and skills they need to succeed. Furthermore, if there are changemaker high school development programs, a partnership with GDS would be greatly beneficial for high schoolers working to decipher which fields they would like to pursue in the future while providing them with the tools and experiences they need to succeed at top tier schools. Furthermore, students would have access to students in the Georgetown School of Foreign Service, a premier foreign affairs institution.

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Participated in previous Ashoka challenges
  • In-person event
  • Email
  • Word of mouth

Referral: If you discovered the Challenge thanks to an organization or person other than Ashoka or T-Mobile, who was it?

Ashoka on Georgetown University Campus

Evaluation results

5 evaluations so far

1. Overall evaluation

5 - This idea rocked my world. It’s awesome! - 40%

4 - This idea seems really exciting. With a little more polishing, it’d be among my favorites. - 40%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 20%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - It didn’t make my heart beat faster. - 0%

2. Changemaker Quality

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 60%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 40%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

3. Creativity

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 40%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 40%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 20%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer - 0%

4. Commitment

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 100%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 66.7%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 33.3%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer - 0%

5. Connection

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 40%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 40%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 20%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer or No Connection - 0%


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Good Work dealing with a pressing issue.

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