Ambassador Carey Cavanaugh, USS Kitty Hawk, South China Sea with text Drawing its name from the Japanese term for the sound of 'chit chat,' Pecha Kucha centers upon a presentation format based on a simple concept: 20 images x 20 seconds. The format ensures presentations will be concise and move quickly (in sharp contrast to 'death by PowerPoint'). Since it began in Tokyo in 2003, Pecha Kucha has grown into a global phenomenon, with event nights held in hundreds of cities worldwide.

Ambassador Carey Cavanaugh

I am Carey Cavanaugh, a former ambassador and peace negotiator at the US State Department and now director of the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce. Here in 20 images is an overview of our unique program.

Because we usually find “talking” web pages annoying, the explanations here are written instead of oral – the more traditional Pecha Kucha version can be found on YouTube
James Kennedy Patterson Statue. University of Kentucky

James Kennedy Patterson

From great ideas come great things. James Patterson, UK’s first president, saw the need for a new school to train leaders to advance the diplomatic and commercial responsibilities of an emergent United States. The Patterson School has now celebrated over 50 years of excellence. Let me elaborate on our pedagogical approach.
Socrates Window, Doheny Memorial Library, USC, Los Angeles

Socrates with Pupils in the Agora

This is great education. Socrates. We like the intimacy, focus, and mutual exploration. Teaching by asking and guiding. But, the interaction is almost exclusively between scholar and one student; the scholar is set apart from society; and all the students from Athens. A diversity of students and faculty always yield better results. Also, this doesn’t end particularly well for the professor.
Professor Michael Sandel’s “Justice” class, Sanders Theatre, Harvard

Harvard University

This is great education. Harvard. The class is Michael Sandel’s “Justice.” Top scholars and bright, diverse students make a memorable experience. Sandel teaches by storytelling and questioning, with some group dynamic. But, the setting dictates more monologue than dialogue: the professor’s detached and the 1,000 students in attendance overwhelming. There is little here that is personal.
America’s Navy Logo

United States Navy

This isn’t exactly great education. What’s best here – and why we include it – is a focus on professionalism, a common sense of purpose, hands on experience, travel and foreign exposure, camaraderie, dedication, and a commitment to serve.
Patterson School of Diplomacy Seal

Patterson School

This is great education. Our intimate, select program strikes a middle ground combining the best elements of Harvard, Socrates, and the real word: high standards and high expectations, but decidedly personal and professional. Like the Navy, we promote direct observation, hand-on experience, and an esprit de corps. We also see our graduates as a “Global Force for Good.”
Patterson School of Diplomacy Core Faculty

Core Faculty

Our slogan – “Personal, Passionate, Professional” – applies equally to faculty and students. Our core faculty – a mix of scholars and former practitioners from State, Defense, Commerce and CIA – are committed first and foremost to teaching. Yes, we write, conduct research, and remain professionally engaged, but our primary job is to prepare students for success.
Patterson School of Diplomacy 50th Class

Patterson School Students: The 50th Class

This is why we work: our incredible students. They hail from across the country and around the world. Each year we aim to admit only 35-40 – all masters degree; all full-time; all residential. Each cohort is crafted to create an exciting, dynamic learning experience. Our students start together as a group, excelling by individual achievement and teamwork.
Patterson School student Elizabeth Hagee

Tradition and Innovation

Our approach is traditional and innovative. Offer a flexible curriculum that provides a solid theoretical foundation and imparts essential professional skills. Do this in an intimate learning environment – emphasizing analytical writing and public speaking – while tapping the latest technology to best prepare our graduates to meet the demands of 21st-Century statecraft.
Professor Harry Mason’s “Intelligence” class, Patterson School of Diplomacy


We offer four concentrations: diplomacy, commerce, security and intelligence, and international organizations/development, All students are exposed to key aspects of diplomacy and international commerce, through lectures, guest speakers and site visits. Our MA degree program can be completed in just 18 months – 3 semesters on campus, plus a summer internship.
University of Kentucky Basketball, Rupp Arena

University of Kentucky

The Patterson School is an integral part of the University of Kentucky. Our students take advantage of its vast educational, recreational, and social resources. They also benefit from a tuition rate and cost of living that is far below our chief competitors.
Patterson School of Diplomacy Fall Conference

Fall Conference

Imagine spending three days with top policymakers and opinion leaders on the hottest topic of the day. Each fall we hold a private conference that brings in experts from government, academia, and the private sector expressly for our students. This intense interaction expands knowledge and can build close personal contacts.
CJCS Admiral Mike Mullen with Patterson School students

Speakers and Visitors

Great speakers provide the same function. Top scholars and officials (foreign and domestic) are brought to Lexington to meet our students. Here, again the accent is on personal and professional. Where else can students debate settlement policy with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert over dinner or explore with Cyprus Finance Minister Michalis Sarris the Eurozone Crisis?
Patterson School of Diplomacy Crisis Simulation


Students practice the practice of diplomacy. An exercise with the US Army War College each fall builds negotiations skills and every spring our school is rocked by a crisis – regime change, piracy, hostage taking – that students must address. The challenges are real, the experience profound. Lessons learned here pay dividends later.
Josh Rogers, White House Press Room


Professional internships are a hallmark of our program. Each summer Patterson School students scatter, working at embassies and for NGOs overseas, government agencies and think tanks in Washington, and media, research, and commercial enterprises across the nation. This puts what they’ve learned into practice and may open the door to a lifelong career.
US Department of State, Washington, DC

Corporate and Government Site Visits

Among the most unique learning opportunities, made possible by our school’s small size, are group site visits. Recent corporate venues include Boeing, BP, US Steel, and Toyota,. Government stops range from the World Bank and State Department to Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Fort Knox. These visits are normally open to all students, regardless of concentration.
Protocol & Etiquette Dinner, Spindletop Mansion, Lexington

Protocol & Etiquette Dinner

Our program is literally soup to nuts. From wine appreciation night during orientation and a Ramadan Iftar to the spring Protocol & Etiquette Dinner, every step is taken to prepare our students for the demands of professional international life. They learn about unique foreign customs, the ins and outs of protocol, and how to effectively work a diplomatic reception.
Patterson School of Diplomacy picnic


Our students work hard and play hard. From white water rafting, picnics, costume parties, university and intramural sports (we are the “Diplocats”), music and the arts, they take full advantage of everything that the region has to offer. The atmosphere and ambience is very much familial and inclusive.
Masters comprehensive exams, W.T. Young Library, University of Kentucky

Comprehensive Exams

This anxiety producing rite of passage ensures our graduates are properly prepared for a professional career in international affairs. Day-long written exams and an intense oral cross-examination with each student facing 3-4 professors test a student’s mettle. The experience also builds confidence. Many graduates report that after comps, job interviews are a breeze.
Graduation, Patterson School of Diplomacy 49th Class, Spindletop Mansion

Graduation – Spindletop Mansion

What is unique here is everyone truly knows everyone. Our students depart with a network of colleagues that spreads across the breadth of international affairs. These are not simple acquaintances, but close friends who worked intensely together toward a common goal. The relationships forged in this intimate environment stand the test of time.
Internally Displaced Persons Camp, Gulu, Uganda

Difference Makers: Ambassador Holtz Promoting Mideast Peace

We must end with passion. Our students are united in their desire to make the world better. They arrive motivated and leave confident. Ready to pursue their dreams. They do this in many ways and in many spheres – in government, with non-profits, or in the private sector. For Patterson School students, passion and dedication are ties that bind.