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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The Future of Federal IT- FCW (Volume 28 Number 18)

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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 an FCW staff writer covering defense, cybersecurity and intelligence issues. Prior to joining FCW, he was a reporter and editor at Smart Grid Today, where he covered everything from cyber vulnerabilities in the U.S. electric grid to the national energy policies of Britain and Mexico. His reporting on a range of global issues has appeared in publications such as The Atlantic, The Economist, The Washington Diplomat and The Washington Post.

Lyngaas is an active member of the National Press Club, where he served as chairman of the Young Members Committee. He earned his M.A. in international affairs from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and his B.A. in public policy from Duke University.

Click here for previous articles by Lyngaas, or connect with him on Twitter: @snlyngaas.


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