Training

The vital element of a strong, dynamic American Space is the staff that manages, advises, conducts programming and engages visitors. IIP and the Office of American Spaces is committed to training American Spaces staff, including Foreign Service Officers (FSO), Locally Employed Staff (LES) and non-USG partner staff in the areas of management, creative and policy-relevant programming and using 21st-century technologies.

Two women viewing an electronic tablet.
American Spaces training participants use a gaming system that improves math skills.

The Office of American Spaces offers basic and advanced training courses for those who staff and manage American Spaces. U.S. embassies/consulates nominate participants in August/September each year. As class sizes are limited, the responsible Regional Public Engagement Specialists (REPS, formerly IROs) review and prioritize nominees from embassies/consulates in their region. Training staff make final selections and communicate with those selected for training to assign them to one of the course offerings on the annual calendar. The Office of American Spaces pays all travel, accommodation and other expenses. Questions about American Spaces training should be directed to your local embassy/consulate or Regional Public Engagement Specialist.

 

Course Descriptions

American Spaces Workshop I: Introduction to Management, Programming and Digital Outreach (PY351)

This five-day course is intended to provide Foreign Service officers and locally employed and partner organization staff with basic skills in strategic planning and engagement that employ the most practical and effective digital and programming tools and resources for their specific objectives.

Objectives: At the completion of the course, participants will be able to:

  • Develop a strategic plan overview for an American Space that sets out clear objectives linked to foreign policy goals and addresses how the physical space, technology, programming, desired projects and/or administration will support achievement of the objectives
  • Identify the digital platforms that will best engage target audiences, and explore tools and resources for outreach and engagement
  • Plan, develop and implement innovative programming that achieves established goals related to the five core programs and the U.S. mission’s policy and public diplomacy goals
  • Use new technologies and hands-on materials, such as makerspace tools and packaged content, to create bold and imaginative programs that support mission goals and U.S. foreign policy priorities

American Spaces Workshop II: Advanced Approaches to Managing Networks of American Spaces (PY352)

Completion of PY351 is required prior to being nominated for PY352, and it is generally expected that nominees will have had at least one year after completing PY351 to gain additional practical experience before taking PY352.

This five-day course is primarily intended for Locally Engaged Staff who are responsible for the oversight of a country network of multiple American Spaces and strategically using that network to support whole-of-mission goals. Foreign Service Officers and partner organization staff may be nominated and accepted with sufficient justification. Participants are expected to have gained intermediate to advanced skills in the development and operation of modern American Spaces. Building on skills developed in PY351 (prerequisite for PY352), participants will implement advanced techniques through hands-on activities, excursions, breakout intensives and other opportunities for practical application. This course focuses on strategic management techniques for managing two or more American Spaces in-country, including strategic planning, program evaluation, effective creation and use of networks, staffing, funding and partnerships.

Objectives: At the completion of the course, participants will be able to:

  • Develop a strategic plan for a network (two or more) of American Spaces to achieve defined goals using strategic planning tools
  • Identify and address key challenges encountered by persons coordinating multiple (two or more) American Spaces
  • Strategically link requests for funding to public diplomacy goals and standards for American Spaces
  • Evaluate the user experience in their American Spaces, both physical and virtual
  • Explain how to use evaluations of their American Space to make data-driven decisions about physical space and programming and other management decisions
  • Measure and demonstrate the impact of a network of American Spaces in supporting U.S. foreign policy goals
  • Identify the key elements that make a strong strategic partnership for American Spaces and techniques to grow a successful partnership or transition an unsuccessful one
Woman standing at podium
Sarah Ziebell, REPS, leads a training course.

In-country Training
In addition to the courses above, REPS often host in-country training for groups of American Spaces staff.  Such training should be organized by working with your REPS. She/he can offer the same training topics as PY351, but tailor the training to the needs of the staff of either a single American Space, or preferably staff from across a country’s American Spaces who are gathered for training by the embassy.

 

Woman working at computer
Self-paced training modules are being developed for American Spaces staff.

Self-paced Learning
The Office of American Spaces recognizes the need to provide self-paced learning resources for those who have not had the opportunity to attend formal training and as refresher references for those who have. We are in the process of adapting materials developed for the PY351 course for this purpose and will make them available on this website when they are ready.  We welcome suggestions for types of self-paced learning materials at americanspaces@state.gov or in the Community Forum.