Seeking Research Collaborators

About Learning Life & Its Citizen Diplomacy Initiative

Citizen Diplomacy InitiativeBased in Washington D.C., Learning Life is an educational nonprofit that seeks to spread learning in everyday life beyond school walls.  Learning Life’s Citizen Diplomacy Initiative (CDI) is a new, free program that engages lower-income American families, starting in Wards 7 & 8 of Washington D.C., in live internet dialogues and project collaborations with similar families in other nations across the world.  CDI aims to nurture informed, skilled, connected, and caring global citizens through international dialogue and collaboration.     

About the Research

Following on several test live international dialogues in 2016, Learning Life aims in 2017 to engage a small number of CDI youth and families in Washington D.C., Dakar, Senegal, San Salvador, El Salvador, and Amman, Jordan in up to four project collaborations, through which participants will practice certain civic skills including photography, interviewing, research, writing and public presentation.  Each project will yield a skill-practicing, resume-building product like an international photo album, recorded expert interviews, research report and presentation, and opinion article.  These projects are the first in what we expect will be a years-long stream of projects, each one 3-4 months long, building on the last, and intended to nurture the knowledge, skills, social connections, and attitudes of developing global citizens.     

Initially, in 2017, we plan to measure changes in participants’ above-mentioned civic skills, interest in international affairs, tolerance for difference, and knowledge of the people and countries with whom/which they dialogue and collaborate.  Eventually, we plan to measure other variables, including social capital.  We are preparing to measure changes in these variables through a survey, a brief video interview, and a project assessment tool.  The survey and video interview will be administered individually before participants start their first CDI project, and after each CDI project.  The assessment tool will be used to evaluate participants’ project contributions individually and/or collectively following each project.

To better measure the impact of CDI’s international dialogues and project collaborations, we plan to administer the survey and video interview to a comparable group of “control” families who do not receive the CDI “treatment.”  In 2017, this experimental research will likely be restricted to American families living in Washington D.C.’s Wards 7 and 8.

The Research Collaborators We Seek     

Seeking research collaboratorsLearning Life seeks metro D.C.-based research faculty and/or Master’s and Ph.D. students in sociology, political science, psychology, education, international affairs, or other academic fields to form a research team that will include Learning Life’s founder, Dr. Paul Lachelier and one or more undergraduate research assistants.  The team will further design and carry out the above-described program evaluation research.  

The team’s work will include literature review; research grant applications; survey, interview and assessment tool design; administration locally and in abroad; aggregation and analysis of results; and research write-up for popular and academic publication.  We expect the team to meet at least once monthly while team members carry out their respective program research responsibilities in between those meetings.  Team members should be willing to commit for at least one year (undergraduates excepted), starting in January 2017.

Benefits include the chance to participate in evaluating a cutting-edge international initiative, to learn from a collegial team of researchers, gain resume-building research experience, get published, and help empower lower-income families locally and abroad.  Collaborators will not initially be paid, but we hope for some research grant funding.

Interested faculty collaborators should ideally teach or have experience teaching research methods, and a solid record of publication in peer-reviewed academic journals.  Interested graduate research collaborators should ideally have: completed at least one research methods course; some survey, experimental or program evaluation research experience; a demonstrated interest in a professional or academic career in international affairs, education, and/or social science; and a willingness to use their Master’s thesis or Ph.D. dissertation to advance the team’s research.  Owning a car (for meetings with DC families) is a plus, as is fluency in Spanish, French or Arabic.             

Interested collaborators should email their resumes to Paul Lachelier at