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In January 1978, an organization plan for the creation of the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy (ISD) was presented by Ambassadors Ellsworth Bunker, John Humes and Joseph Farland, and Peter F. Krogh, dean of the School of Foreign Service. Bunker would serve as chair of the ISD Founders Council, with Humes and Farland as vice chairs.

It is a remarkable achievement that the goals presented then are still guiding the central programs of the Institute, yet provide the flexibility to adapt to changing needs in both the academic and practitioner communities:

  • Increase knowledge of the whole of diplomatic practice, i.e., the implementation of foreign policy in all of the fields of action that are part of diplomacy;
  • Build a storehouse of hitherto unavailable knowledge on which textbooks and case studies and other works can be written;
  • Bring together practitioners, scholars and students so that broader concern may be considered by professional diplomats and negotiators while diplomatic desiderata may become more understandable to non-diplomats;
  • Enrich the teaching and training of diplomats, businessmen and others engaged in international affairs;
  • Bridge the increasing gap between academic theory and actual practice in the conduct of international relations;
  • Improve the quality and practical utility of professional education in international relations; and
  • In constantly increasing manner, educate students in the School of Foreign Service in the intricacies of practical diplomacy.

A Look Back: The First Ten Years 

Peter F. Krogh, Dean Emeritus and Distinguished Professor
Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service

The Institute for the Study of Diplomacy was created twenty-five years ago as the result of a marriage of convenience between America’s oldest school of international relations and the world’s second oldest profession. The Walsh School of Foreign Service of Georgetown University and the practitioners of diplomacy resident in the nation’s capital needed each other. The school needed the practitioners to teach its students how to get things done in the world. The practitioners needed the school to help preserve their experience-gained knowledge and pass it along to the next generation. It is from these reciprocal requirements that the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy was first conceived and then developed.

Its conception was mission specific. Think tanks addressing what foreign policy should be abounded in the nation’s capital. So too did those addressing the way foreign policy was made. Missing from the landscape was an institution focused on the conduct of foreign policy and the transmission of the knowledge gained from experience in actually “doing” foreign policy to students, current practitioners, and the private foreign affairs community. This was the mission the institute embraced and the institutional niche it set out to fill by means of research, publication, public affairs programs, and classroom instruction.

From the outset, the institute was fortunate in having multiple parents, some of whom provided intellectual leadership and others financial support or both. It was also fortunate in benefiting from the prestige of those involved in its creation. Prominent among the institute’s parents who were “present at the creation” were the following individuals:

Ellsworth Bunker, an icon among U.S. diplomats. His remarkable diplomatic life has been chronicled recently in an acclaimed biography written by the institute’s current director of studies, Howard B. Schaffer. Ambassador Bunker enthusiastically embraced the idea of the institute when it was first conceived, offered it his full support, led the initial fundraising drive, and became its first chairman. His own experiences provided grist for the Institute’s mill and were distilled in several of the institute’s initial publications of case studies in the conduct of diplomacy.

Carol Laise Bunker at the time was America’s leading woman diplomat and recently retired director general of the Foreign Service. She joined her husband in working resourcefully and tirelessly to bring the institute into being and to keep it focused sharply and productively on its mission.

George McGhee, then recently retired from a career in diplomacy that included service as ambassador to Turkey and Germany, chairman of the Department of State’s Policy Planning Council, and under secretary of State for political affairs. Ambassador McGhee enthusiastically and generously championed the establishment of the institute, became its first vice chairman, and led an early fundraising initiative to establish the Dean and Virginia Rusk Fellowship within the institute.

Marshall Coyne, for many years Washington’s leading “private diplomat,” dispensed both financial support and representational hospitality, the latter elegantly offered at his hotel, The Madison, and his ambassadorial style residence on Massachusetts Avenue. It was Mr. Coyne, at a luncheon at The Madison, who offered personally to fund the position of director of the institute. That position bears his name today.

David D. Newsom, recently retired from ambassadorial assignments in Libya, the Philippines, and Indonesia and from his post as under secretary of State for political affairs, assumed the director’s position. Drawing on his vast experience and on the reservoir of respect that experience had earned, Ambassador Newsom put the institute securely on the map and literally gave it its wings.

Martin Herz, who, as a career Foreign Service officer and former ambassador, had worked closely with the Bunkers and with Ambassador Newsom, joined the institute as its first director of studies. Ambassador Herz’s awesome brain power, prodigious work ethic, and intimate understanding of just exactly when, where, and how the rubber of foreign policy hit the road of diplomacy, combined to produce a one-man think tank (all that could be afforded at the time!).

Smith Simpson, a retired Foreign Service officer, had long been active in the International Studies Association advocating the study of diplomacy as a liberal arts subject. That advocacy found an ideal outlet in the plans for the institute. Mr. Simpson assisted with the early drafts of the institute mission and taught courses within the school that illustrated the classroom application of that mission.

The horsepower provided by the parents of the institute drove its initial success and attracted others to its mission. Prominent among those who boarded the institute train as it left the station and stoked its bunkers (excuse the pun!) were:

John Humes, former ambassador to Austria, who hosted an early fundraising dinner at his elegant apartment in New York and later established a junior fellowship in his name at the institute;

Kenneth Rush, former deputy secretary of Defense and ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany, who donated funds to create a seminar room dedicated to instruction in diplomacy in the university’s new Intercultural Center; and

Kenneth Franzheim, former ambassador to New Zealand, who became one of the institute’s earliest patrons and can lay claim to having the longest series of annual gifts to the institute in its twenty-five year history.

It is often said that all distinguished institutions are but the lengthened shadow of a single person. In the case of the institute, this simply is not true. It is the lengthened shadow of a fellowship of individuals who believe that writing, consulting, and disseminating “the practitioner’s book” in the field of diplomacy can illuminate a safer passage in world affairs. That fellowship has grown over the years, featuring successors to Ellsworth Bunker as institute chairmen—Edmund S. Muskie, Max M. Kampelman, and today, Thomas R. Pickering—and successors to David D. Newsom as institute director—Hans Binnendijk and today, Casimir A. Yost. Thanks to them, their staff, and the ongoing support of their board members, the institute is, today, doing full justice to its conception—and to its parentage—now a quarter century ago.

ISD at Twenty-Five: Tributes

Ambassador David D. Newsom

I became director of the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy in 1981 and was pleased to build on the foundation already laid by Martin Herz and to contribute my own experience to the furtherance of the institute. In the 1980s, the emphasis of the institute was on education in diplomacy. Under two distinguished board chairmen, Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker and former Senator and Secretary of State Edmund S. Muskie, and with the active support of Dean Peter F. Krogh of the School of Foreign Service, I was able to expand the role of the institute in the school and the university. The new associates program brought diplomatic practitioners, both U.S. and foreign, into Georgetown University classrooms. The Junior Fellows in Diplomacy program linked students and practitioners in policy-related projects. The Pew program in diplomatic case studies established Georgetown as the center of a nationwide program and substantially increased material available for the practical study of diplomacy. At the same time, the institute maintained close ties with the Department of State and the Foreign Service. This resulted in the establishment of the Rusk Fellowships for tandem couples, established at a banquet in honor of Secretary Dean Rusk.

During the same period, the institute also became the incubator for other significant diplomatic-related national organizations. The Foreign Service Oral History program, now part of the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training, began under ISD sponsorship in the Lauinger Library. The Council of American Ambassadors had its origin in meetings arranged by the institute. The American Academy of Diplomacy was initially housed and supported by the institute. Each new activity, building on the principles of the institute, has served to enhance the national understanding of the importance of the practice of diplomacy and expand the available tools with which the practice can be studied.

Riaz Mohammed Khan
Pakistan Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China

I am delighted to learn that the Georgetown Institute for the Study of Diplomacy is celebrating the twenty-fifth anniversary of its founding. I found my stay at ISD refreshing, educative, and obviously rewarding, as I was able to complete Untying the Afghan Knot: Negotiating Soviet Withdrawal, an ISD book published by Duke University Press in 1991.

My association with ISD was the first for me with an academic institution outside Pakistan. I remember meeting the director of ISD, Ambassador David D. Newsom, in late December 1988 to discuss the outline of the book and to get an idea of what else I was required to do as “diplomat in residence.” I found the expectations to be minimal, virtually leaving it entirely to me to organize my schedule, attend lectures and seminars, or to spend all my time on my project. In the beginning, it was difficult for me to cope with this freedom. For more than twenty years, I had been used to a daily agenda of activities. Gradually, I adjusted and found this space and flexibility to be the most imaginative aspect of the program that allowed me to focus on the book.

The year at ISD gave me time for some introspection to rethink set-piece perspectives, with the advantage of opportunities to listen to persons of high intellect and accomplishment. I remember occasional conversations with Ambassador Newsom, who made with remarkable ease simple yet incisive observations on global issues. I enjoyed attending the well-crafted lectures by Ambassador Hume Horan, with his crisp logic and Cartesian treatment of political subjects. I can never forget the help of Ms. Margery Thompson, who spent two months editing the manuscript. With great diligence, care, and courtesy, she would explain to me each comma and conjunction that she recommended. She was more a teacher to me than an editor of my book. The spontaneous impression of ISD that comes to my mind is its friendly and unobtrusive atmosphere.

When I decided to accept the ISD offer, some of my colleagues in the Foreign Office suggested that I reconsider my plans, as I was due for an ambassadorial assignment within a year. A sabbatical was bound to delay the process by at least a couple of years. I am glad I did not waver and came to Georgetown. Writing a book was rewarding, but, more importantly, the opportunity to think without encumbrances and in a profoundly academic environment proved invaluable from both a personal and a career point of view. Georgetown imparted a feel for new horizons and added to my life a rich experience that I deeply cherish.

Hans Binnendijk

My tenure as director of ISD coincided with the emergence of new challenges to U.S. foreign policy and a new U.S. presidency. Ushered in with the collapse of the Soviet Union, my time at ISD focused on three themes: transitions in the former Soviet bloc, our changing system of alliances, and the need for bureaucratic adjustments in the conduct of diplomacy. At the same time, emphasis was put on a major expansion of the ISD book and publications program.

The dissolution of the Soviet Union was addressed in 1991 and 1992 at a series of meetings of an ISD working group chaired by Ambassador Max M. Kampelman. The group issued critical reports and policy recommendations that were submitted to President-elect Clinton in late 1992. These included giving priority to nuclear issues; increasing humanitarian, environmental, and economic assistance; encouraging private investment; and enhancing regional stability. Consequences of the Soviet collapse for alliances were examined in terms of U.S. relations with Japan, South Korea, and Europe, and International Monetary Fund Director Michel Camdessus used the ISD platform to unveil a western aid plan for the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Finally, ISD studies of the structure of the Foreign Service resulted in recommendations on the personnel system and the streamlining of bureaucracy needed to ensure the effectiveness of the Foreign Service in the twenty-first century. This included a call on the Clinton administration to make democracy building a defining feature of its foreign policy.

I made it a high priority to allow the ideas of ISD staff and associates to be expressed through the publication of their works. During these years, many important publications were produced with the aid of Una Chapman Cox Foundation Scholars. Working group reports were improved and made into lengthy, comprehensive summaries. A compilation of personal accounts of tragic events at U.S. embassies, along with suggestions on how to improve security for State Department employees, was published as Embassies Under Siege. The institute published Ambassador Howard B. Schaffer‘s terrific book on Ambassador Chester Bowles. With the aid of Mary Locke, I edited the 1991–92 version of the Diplomatic Record. Finally, my colleagues and I were able to spearhead the creation of the Pew Case Study program, a first-of-its-kind program, which today serves hundreds of universities and brings revenue to the institute. All of these initiatives increased the institute’s exposure and scholarly relevance.

Robert L. Gallucci
Dean of the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service

In the twenty-five years since its creation within the Edmund J. Walsh School of Foreign Service, the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy has made a distinctive contribution to the university and to the formation of Georgetown graduates going on to international careers. I am grateful to ISD for bringing to our campus and our classrooms experienced foreign affairs practitioners from home and abroad. The institute’s endowed lectures, conferences, and other programs have brought distinguished figures from all walks of international life to share their thoughts on issues shaping our world views and to exchange ideas with students and faculty.

The institute has provided a matchless resource for School of Foreign Service students, graduate and undergraduate alike. Through their encounters with working-level practitioners as well as powerful policymakers they have been challenged to think critically, expand their intellectual horizons, and express their views with candor and grace. Students have always been at the heart of the ISD mission, but the entire university—and, I suspect, the foreign affairs community—has benefited from the unique dialogue that ISD has fostered for a quarter century. May that dialogue continue.

Major General David H. Petraeus
Commander, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)

My fellowship with Georgetown’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy was terrific in every respect. A number of factors make it the best I can imagine—and made it my top choice when I was seeking a fellowship. First, the fellowship at Georgetown allowed auditing of some excellent courses. I attended, for example, Professor Jeanne J. Kirkpatrick’s lectures on political philosophy and Professor Donald McHenry’s seminar on international organizations. Both were wonderful, thought provoking, and thoroughly enjoyable. Second, being in Washington meant that research into virtually any subject involving the U.S. government was much easier than being located somewhere else. I found it easy to get interviews and even established a relationship with the deputy secretary of State that led to his inviting me to two lengthy Deputies Committee conferences on Haiti—which proved very helpful when I ended up “doing Haiti” in the spring, vice studying it. Third, the interaction with the other Associates and members of the ISD staff was very stimulating. The fellows come from throughout the U.S. government, as well as from other countries, and the exchanges with them were great fun. Finally, unlike most think tanks, Georgetown has a great gym available to its students and ISD Associates and is located among some of the finest running paths and cycling routes in the world! Again, I can’t imagine a better combination for a fellowship than that offered by Georgetown’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, and I have drawn on my experiences and study at Georgetown repeatedly since my time there—including during missions in Haiti, Bosnia, Kuwait, and, most recently, Iraq.

Eric Rubin
U.S. Consul General, Chiang Mai, Thailand

For me, what makes ISD truly unique is the informal, loosely structured atmosphere that enables practitioners of diplomacy from all over the world to meet and to interact with Georgetown faculty and students, U.S. government officials, foreign diplomats based in Washington, and key movers and shakers in just about every field. ISD is never stuffy, it is never overly academic, and it never feels like an ivory tower. Through its case study series and publications; its annual conferences, seminars, and events; and the classroom teaching of ISD staff and associates, the institute never loses its focus on identifying what works and what doesn’t work in the field of diplomacy and foreign relations. For practitioners like myself, classroom teaching does more than enable us to share what we know with Georgetown University students. It also forces us to think systematically about our profession, to justify easy assumptions, and to explain what we do in terms that a nonprofessional can understand. And, unlike big Washington think tanks, ISD has never lost its “family” feeling. Happy anniversary, ISD!