The Foreign Service Journal, March 2020

52 MARCH 2020 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL bring various aspects of popular arts to our audiences around the world in a coordinated effort between Consulate General Tijuana and ECA’s Collaboratory. These envoys have taught animation to art students in Iraq while designing visual effects for Emmy-nominated programs as their “day job,” and they have shared career advice with film stu- dents in Baja California while producing a mini-series for Netflix. When we presented in 2017, at SDCC’s first annual State Department–sponsored panel, someone in the audience asked me whether the panel description in the program was correct: Was I “seriously from the State Department”? Oh yes, and we’re just getting started. Consulate General Tijuana, in collaboration with ECA’s Col- laboratory, hosted a State Department panel at SDCC for the third year in a row in 2019, and is looking to expand cooperation with SDCC to engage more audiences globally. Representatives from ECA and the Bureau of Oceans and International Environment and Scientific Affairs have followed up on State’s panels at SDCC by conducting the first-ever department panel at AwesomeCon, D.C.’s annual comic book convention in April last year. Our panel about international space cooperation, youth engagement, fusion technology as a parable for multilateral diplomacy and more drew an audience of more than 100 people. We made our case for State’s use of comic book culture and popular arts as a public diplomacy tool. Despite the doubt and disbelief, we have staked our claim as modern diplomats using modern tools to meet modern demands. And we have invited the fans, the creators, the skep- tics and the taxpayers to join us. n Superheroes battling human trafficking, created as part of a contest to engage young Mexicans on the topic, shared the spotlight at the State Department’s first-ever panel at SDCC in 2017. JOSEM.NORIEGA/U.S.CONSULATEGENERALTIJUANA