Evaluating Diplomacy: Can It Be Done?
Session Number: 2577
Track: Government Evaluation
Session Type: Roundtable
First Author or Discussion Group Leader: Stephanie Cabell [Program Analyst - U.S. Department of State]
Time: Nov 12, 2015 (01:00 PM - 01:45 PM)
Room: Jackson Boardroom
Audience Level: Intermediate
The U.S. Department of State's Evaluation Policy covers foreign assistance activities (e.g., food security, global health, democracy and human rights, etc.) and diplomatic programs and initiatives. While western nations like the U.S. have long legacies evaluating development and foreign assistance programs and projects, identiying successful models for evaluating diplomatic programs--particularly in multilateral settings--has proved more challenging. To deepen its understanding of this issue, the Department of State undertook a study to examine the question of how to evaluate its diplomatic programs, defined as activities and initiatives that are funded by Diplomatic Engagement funding and designed to pursue U.S. national interests through non-military instruments. The study centered on three questions: "What types of diplomatic programs and initiatives can and should be evaluated?"; "What criteria could be used in selecting diplomatic programs for evaluation?"; and "What evaluation approaches, methods, and practices will be most suitable for evaluating diplomacy?"
Supporting one of the American Evaluation Association conference principles of presenting research on effective evaluation designs and practices, a representative from the Department's Bureau of Budget and Planning will discuss the attempt to conceptualize "diplomacy," the results of the study (including the perceived constraints or limitations in using evaluation as an effective tool to gauge diplomatic success), and how the Department is using the results of the study to inform updates to its Evaluation Policy and to strengthen the focus on Diplomatic Engagement-funded efforts.
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