Meridian Convenes American Diplomats, Congressional Staffers, and Tech Industry Leaders Through A.I. Policy Series

March 1, 2024 - March 22, 2024

Meridian International Center convened its inaugural A.I. Policy and Diplomacy Seminar Series, a pioneering initiative aimed at exploring the profound geopolitical implications of artificial intelligence, regulatory challenges, ethical considerations, and strategies for enhancing U.S. competitiveness in the global A.I. landscape. In partnership with the U.S. Diplomatic Studies Foundation, the four-part seminar series brought together a diverse cohort of 32 mid-career professionals from the Department of State, U.S. Congress, and prominent technology firms. Held throughout March 2024, the seminars facilitated robust discussions and knowledge-sharing among stakeholders with varied expertise and perspectives, paving the way for future initiatives to address the complex intersection of A.I. and diplomacy.  

The A.I. Policy and Diplomacy Seminar Series was made possible through the generous support of FiscalNote and Amazon Web Services. The program's core objectives centered on both increasing literacy around A.I., and the A.I. policy landscape in the U.S. and around the world, but also creating the relationships that we will need to both reach the potential and mitigate the challenges that come with artificial intelligence. 

Throughout the four weeks, the cohort explored a comprehensive curriculum facilitated by The Honorable Manisha Singh, Founder and Principal of Sunstone Strategy Group and former Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs. In the opening seminar, participants considered the foundational aspects of artificial intelligence, gaining a comprehensive overview of its capabilities and limitations. Dr. Andrew Imbrie, Associate Professor of the Practice in the Gracias Chair in Security and Emerging Technology at Georgetown University, shared insights and dispelled myths about large language models. The cohort also began confronting some assumptions about how different sectors are approaching A.I. and interacting with one another on the technology’s development and use. At a welcome reception celebrating the launch of the series, Meridian welcomed industry experts, partners from the Foreign Service Institute, and guests to meet and toast the diverse inaugural cohort. 

Dr. Andrew Imbrie presents during the seminar “Understanding A.I. Essentials” on March 1, 2024 at White Meyer House. Photo by Sienna Girgenti


In a session hosted at FiscalNote Global Headquarters, the cohort examined the immediate geopolitical implications of artificial intelligence. Diverse speakers across each sector contextualized how A.I. shapes economic competitiveness, national security, and international relations in the current landscape. Participants heard firsthand from Dr. Seth Center, Acting Special Envoy Special Envoy for Critical and Emerging Technology, U.S. Department of State; Vivek Chilukuri, Senior Fellow and Director, Technology and National Security Program, Center for a New American Security and former senior staff member for Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO); and David K. Young, Managing Director, Oxford Analytica. The cohort also engaged in small group discussions on the most important element of A.I. that they believed colleagues in other sectors weren’t paying enough attention to. 

Dan Oates, Global Technology Policy Advisor at the U.S. Department of State poses a question to speakers during the seminar, “Geopolitical Impact of A.I. Today,” at FiscalNote on March 8, 2024. Photo by Sienna Girgenti.


Participants engage in open discussion with speakers during the seminar, “Geopolitical Impact of A.I. Today,” at FiscalNote on March 8, 2024. Photo by Sienna Girgenti.


In week three, the cohort participated in a forward-looking session as they explored the trajectory of A.I. development and expert predictions on its evolution in the next decade. The seminar concentrated on the security implications of how U.S. competitors are developing and utilizing these technologies. Dr. Heather Ashby, Principal Consultant, Corner Alliance highlighted the intersection of national security and technology and spoke to her work on disruptive technologies and A.I., particularly in the context of Russia. Nathan Beauchamp-Mustafaga, Policy Researcher, RAND Corporation, brought to bare critical insights on the prospective evolution of China’s artificial intelligence apparatus. 

The series also focused on the A.I. global governance framework at the intersection of public and private enterprise. While the private sector maintains the technical expertise, our government creates policies and works with other nations to create shared norms and agreements. In this era of strategic competition, it is the government and business working together that is going to keep American going forward. The final seminar featured: Kate Goodloe, Managing Director, BSA | The Software Alliance; Dr. Monica Lopez-Gonzalez, Co-Founder and CEO, Cognitive Insights for Artificial Intelligence; and Marc-Etienne Ouimette, Principal, AWS Global AI/ML Policy. Speakers examined how U.S. government entities are leading important dialogues which aim to establish global norms and A.I. governance frameworks, the roles of the State Department and Congress, and considerations for technology companies when shaping rules and regulations.  

Cohort participants collaborate on how to advance A.I. governance and multisector collaboration on March 22, 2024 at White Meyer House. Photo by Jess Latos.


Through substantive public-private partnerships and continued educational dialogue, the series fostered a comprehensive understanding how artificial intelligence interplays with foreign policy, and of the roles, capacities, and limitations across sectors – a crucial insight for effective collaboration. The A.I. Policy and Diplomacy Seminar Series was “helpful to outline the stakes of getting A.I. right in a way that foreign policy professionals can understand," said Alexander Vagg, cohort participant and Desk Officer within the Office of Public Diplomacy in the Bureau of European Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.  

By bringing together key stakeholders from government and industry, this series also played a pivotal role in breaking down silos, fostering a multisector dialogue that enriches the understanding and approach towards an evolving landscape of A.I. policy. Private sector participant Megan Capiak, Managing Partner at Foundry Ten, expressed, “I made new connections and gained invaluable insight into how other sectors are looking at AI.” More than an educational experience, this series proved a valuable opportunity for the cohort to establish lasting relationships with key decision-makers in U.S. policymaking and international affairs. 

As the world grapples with the transformative impact of artificial intelligence, Meridian International Center remains committed to initiatives like this that play a crucial role in advancing dialogue and collaboration on critical global issues. 

Matthew Pagett, Foreign Service Officer, listens to speakers during the seminar, “A.I. Governance and Multisector Cooperation” at White Meyer House on March 22, 2024. Photo by Jess Latos.


Cohort participants engage in small group discussions “Exploring the Future of A.I. in Foreign Policy,” at White Meyer House on March 15, 2024. Photo by Riley Nelson.



 Are you a mid-career professional staffer in the U.S. Congress, U.S. Department of State, or private tech sector interested in applying for a future cohort? Complete the linked interest form to receive information on future cohorts of the A.I. Policy and Diplomacy Seminar Series. 

 A.I. Policy and Diplomacy Seminar Series Interest Form


Meridian envisions hosting a new cohort of the A.I. Policy and Diplomacy Seminar Series in Fall 2024 and is currently seeking two sponsors to underwrite the program. The series is estimated to cost $100,000 to implement and we are seeking two corporate sponsors at the $50,000 level. 

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Project summary

Meridian Convenes American Diplomats, Congressional Staffers, and Tech Industry Leaders Through A.I. Policy Series | March 2024
Impact Areas: Artificial Intelligence and Cybersecurity, Foreign Policy, Science and Technology
Program Areas: Diplomatic Engagement
Partners: Private Sector, Public Sector