Rising Stars

Isaiah Joo

Isaiah Joo has seen the embassy of the future. It is in Seoul, South Korea, and he says it is buzzing with entrepreneurial technologists.

The program analyst in the State Department's Office of eDiplomacy returned to his birthplace for a three-month stint last winter. There he worked closely with an information officer and sometimes accompanied her to meetings with U.S. Ambassador Sung Kim. Part of the job was shaping the embassy's message to people in South Korea, the region and beyond, he said, "and that was extremely interesting because…of the buzz around North Korea."

That hands-on experience inspired his work back in Washington, D.C., where Joo is part of an office that uses technology to advance diplomacy.

Joo studied philosophy and political science at American University and saw himself going to law school after graduating in 2012. Instead, an internship at the Department of Homeland Security opened the door to government service.

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Now as a program analyst in the Office of eDiplomacy, Joo is responsible for engaging civil society groups and experts in academia who might have ideas on, for example, using open-source platforms such as GitHub.

Joo spoke with fervor about TechCamp, an ongoing, worldwide series of workshops his office hosts to bring civil society leaders and technologists together. The most recent event took place in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, and involved more than 50 civil society groups from Central Asia, the Caucasus and Eastern Europe.

"I've seen a trend," Joo said, where "government has not only adopted new technologies…but is also trying and attempting to infuse the successes and innovations that are happening in the private sector as well."

About the Author

Sean Lyngaas is a former FCW staff writer.

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