Game-changing results for the US Department of State as virtual DEIA training creates inclusive culture


Locally employed staff at the US Department of State’s 87 embassies and consulates across Europe and Eurasia interact daily with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. As such it is vital they have a deep understanding of DEIA (diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility). To strengthen this understanding and build their vocabulary to help them become comfortable demonstrating vulnerability and practising critical conversations as part of their learning journey, in 2021 the Regional Support Centre (RSC Europe, located in Frankfurt, Germany) Training and Development Department of the US Department of State tasked Blue Door Creative Development to create a virtual DEIA course for their locally-hired staff.


Blue Door interviewed a range of target learners across 11 countries to understand training needs, challenges, concerns, key themes and what initiatives existed. It then worked closely with RSC Europe to tailor a five-day virtual course that included live facilitator-led sessions, online study, group discussions and interactive case study videos.

To enhance the learning experience and bring it to life Kit Theatre was contracted to create realistic case study videos based on the experiences of local staff. Diversity scenarios were filmed using a local staff character and then presented back to the group. On day four the characters surprised participants by unexpectedly appearing and seeking advice. A live actor-led ‘mediator’ helps the characters and asks the groups to provide further coaching based on what they have just witnessed during the live scene.

Blue Door also trained RSC Europe’s trainers and selected adjunct faculty to become fully versed with the facilitation and production of the course.

“Participants said the course created a safe space for them to “get it wrong”, enabling them to share their stories and learn from their colleagues”


The course received high praise from participants, with one calling it “one of the best training courses” in their 20+ year career with the US government. Participants commended the trainers for providing an exceptional learning experience and expressed how they felt more prepared to create a more inclusive workplace. Participants said the course created a safe space for them to “get it wrong”, enabling them to share their stories and learn from their colleagues.

The interactive case study component was particularly impactful, with participants considering it a “game changer” in embedding the tools and techniques. Quantitative results showed that 94% of participants felt challenged in ways that stimulated their professional growth, 98% would recommend the training to others and 96% rated the overall course objectives, organisation, content and materials as of the highest quality.

As a result of the course’s success, the DEIA Extended Learning Journey was developed. This six-month, self-guided course aims to further embed DEIA practices in the workplace and support local staff to apply the skills they have learned in the class, as well as to improve participants’ skills in listening, asking questions and educating others. Participants engage in activities such as creating podcasts and interviews with individuals from different cultures and identities.

The journey also includes monthly work-based tasks and interactive case studies to enhance participants’ knowledge of DEIA at work. Cohorts create shared resources and bond in a safe environment, ultimately fostering a more inclusive workplace culture.