Norman -- On March 10, The University of Oklahoma College of Law and College of International Studies (CIS) students and faculty gathered for a luncheon in the College of Law’s Dick Bell Court Room with Dean Joseph Harroz, Jr. and CIS Dean Suzette Grillot to celebrate OU’s Diplomacy Lab partnership with the State Department. The students and faculty had participated in a pilot phase of Diplomacy Lab, which is an initiative that enables the State Department to “course-source” research and innovation related to foreign policy by harnessing the efforts of students and faculty experts at universities across the country. Students participating in Diplomacy Lab explore real-world challenges identified by the Department and work under the guidance of faculty members. This initiative allows students to contribute directly to the policymaking process while helping the State Department tap into an underutilized reservoir of intellectual capital. Additional background on the program can be found here.
The participating College of Law students were in Professor Evelyn Aswad’s Arab Spring and Legal Reform Spring 2014 course and had submitted to the State Department a report analyzing legal reform in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, and Libya. The group was also celebrating OU’s role as the Diplomacy Lab Secretariat, which organizes Diplomacy Lab matters in partnership with the State Department. At the celebration, OU participants engaged in a skype chat with State Department officials to exchange views on this program.
“OU Law is honored to partner with the U.S. State Department as the Diplomacy Lab Secretariat. We are enjoying the opportunity to connect the State Department with universities, serving as a bridge between the academic world and America’s lead foreign affairs agency. We look forward to working with the State Department in the coming years,” said Dean Joseph Harroz, Jr.
The Secretariat is pleased to announce the pilot phase is now in its end stages and Diplomacy Lab is launching nationwide. Universities across the country are now able to apply to participate in Diplomacy Lab. Universities that are interested in applying can do so at this link. Applications are due by March 22.
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What led you to OU Law? I have wanted to go to law school since I was a teenager. I was active in speech contests and enjoyed making oral presentations. When I was in high school, I would go downtown and watch some of the trials at the courthouse, so, I got acquainted with the courtroom rather early. I obtained a Navy scholarship to go to OU. I was a regular Navy midshipman then I served three years in the far east before coming back to law school. I wanted to attend law school and came back to OU.
OU Law Conversations: Robert Barnes
What led you to OU Law? OU Law has been part of my family since the 1920s. My great uncle was Dr. Maurice Merrill, a 1922 graduate of OU Law who then earned a Doctorate in Law from Harvard University in 1925. Merrill taught at OU Law for 30 years, published numerous seminal works in oil and gas law, constitutional law, administrative law and the law of Notice. While still in his twenties, Merrill published the seminal treatise Implied Covenants in Oil and Gas Law, which has been a cornerstone of my cases. In law school, I lived with Uncle Maurice and marveled at his longhand scrawl which was literally final copy in its first draft form. In my mind, he will always be ten times the lawyer that I ever became.