Category: Despatches

Title: Summer 2017 Despatches

Date Published: August 1, 2017

Dear Friends of ISD,
This recent column by Roger Cohen on the “slow unraveling” of the State Department reminds us of the enormous contributions of so many US Foreign Service officers “driven by the determination to make a difference and extend the reach of human decency.” At the moment, career diplomats with decades of experience find little welcome from an administration that seems determined to cut funding for foreign aid and leave dozens of senior State posts unfilled, despite the growing flashpoints of conflict around the globe.
The need for smart diplomacy is not new, but there is a new urgency. And the ISD goal of preparing the next generation to take their place in the policy world seems all the more important. At the same time, ISD continues to serve its core mission as a bridge between the academic and practitioner’s worlds, a mission that also is not new, but now is now more critical than ever. ISD is proud of the role it plays at Georgetown and in the policy discussions beyond the university gates to advance all of these goals.
As we gear up for our 40th anniversary, ISD continues to look for new and better ways to fulfill these goals. As I look back on my three years (and still counting!) time at ISD, I am pleased to share some of the highlights of what we accomplished last year – and excited by the opportunities ahead. I am also sobered by the importance of our mission to support and enhance a better understanding of the critical role of diplomacy in national security, national survival, and national sovereignty. I am equally reassured by the enthusiasm of the students we work with – in the classroom, as certificate candidates, as research fellows, and myriad other ways – and their commitment to global public service. That commitment has not diminished nor been dissuaded.
There is a similar recharged energy to tackle the tough issues, to apply rigorous analysis, and to engage with those who know how to craft innovative yet practical solutions. Both the strong showing at our annual Georgetown Leadership Seminar and the senior scholars and practitioners involved in our “New Global Commons” working groups come to work through the problems of the world as it is and find ways to steer it in a more stable, prosperous, and humane direction.
I hope you will read through some of our accomplishments of the last 12 months. Watch the remarks by our two award speakers this past year – Jeffrey Goldberg, editor-in-chief of The Atlantic, and H.E. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. The UN High Commissioner’s comments on the lasting need for a values-based approach to the human condition and to policy is particularly relevant. Check out our working group paper on climate change and human security. Also take a look at new additions to the ISD Case Studies Library, and news on our various student programs. We invite you to keep reading for the full details and links to many of these programs and events. Unusual fare for the summer, but well worth your time.
And, finally, in preparation for the Institute’s 40th anniversary in 2018, ISD last fall launched its major fund-raising campaign with a generous matching grant from an ISD Board member. We are now at the halfway point – and need your help. We invite all Friends of ISD to join in this effort to support diplomacy. If you can support ISD’s work, at whatever level, please contact us directly at, or click on this link or the link at the bottom of this email.
Best regards and best wishes for the rest of your summer!

Barbara K. Bodine
Click here to support ISD.

Jeffrey Goldberg Receives 2016 Edward Weintal Prize for Diplomatic Reporting
GoldbergThe Weintal Prize in Diplomatic Journalism over the past 40 years has been given to the most accomplished journalists from all facets of the media. The latest recipient was no exception. In fall 2016, ISD recognized Jeffrey Goldberg, editor-in-chief of The Atlantic, for his critically acclaimed piece, “The Obama Doctrine,” and his coverage of U.S. foreign relations and Middle East politics for The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and the Jerusalem Post. Goldberg’s remarks on what the next U.S. president will face on the foreign policy front remind us of the role fact-based, analytic, and objective reporting plays in the survival of civil society and the democratic process. The gala dinner celebration concluded with a conversation between Goldberg and Jim Hoagland, the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and foreign correspondent for The Washington Post. (See the discussion here.)
The Weintal Prize honors the legacy of Edward “Teddy” Weintal, a former Polish diplomat who served as a Newsweek correspondent and editor in Washington and London from 1944-1969.
2017 Raymond “Jit” Trainor Award Goes to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights H.E. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein
2017 TrainorFrank J. Hogan (L), chair of the Trainor Lecture Fund Endowment and ISD Board member, and Dean Joel S. Hellman (R) of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service present the 2017 Raymond “Jit” Trainor Award for Excellence in the Conduct of Diplomacy to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.
The critical need for a global order based on rule of law and of policy based on values and principles was eloquently expressed in the remarks by this year’s Trainor Award for Excellence in the Conduct of Diplomacy, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.
In his address on “The Impossible Diplomacy of Human Rights,” the High Commissioner spoke out against the “pathogen of divisive populism” that threatens many of the international pillars of democracy and human rights. He reminded the audience, which included a large number of Georgetown students, that humankind had successfully tackled slavery, apartheid, colonialism, and other divisive forces – and he pressed for a global effort to defend human rights. Zeid’s call to conscience and call to action is well worth your time to watch and to ponder as we watch the seemingly insurmountable tragedies around us.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein is a global diplomat and a recognized leader in efforts to protect the most vulnerable and hold accountable the most powerful – and a driving force behind the establishment of the International Criminal Court. Co-sponsored by the United States Institute of Peace, the lecture included a moderated discussion led by former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs Bathsheba Crocker, and a Q&A with students and other audience members. (See the High Commissioner’s talk.)

The New Global Commons Working Group Series
New Challenges to Human SecurityISD relaunched its scholar-practitioner working groups with a series on “The New Global Commons.” Last fall we explored the impact of climate change on human security with a specific focus on migration patterns. The final report, New Challenges to Human Security: Environmental Change and Human Mobility, was featured at an on-campus discussion in April and an experts’ panel at the Stimson Center. Dr. Kelly McFarland, ISD’s director of programs and research, will share the findings in September at the XIth Italian Conference on Environmental Sociology, at Chieti-Pescara University.
These working groups focus on longer-term foreign policy challenges that will unfold in the decade to come. These are problems that lie mainly under the radar, and often out of the public eye, but offer an opportunity for creative diplomacy and policymaking early on, before a particular issue becomes a full-blown crisis. By bringing experts from the academic and policymaking worlds together to start these discussions, ISD hopes to draw attention to the need to address these problem now, rather than later.
In spring 2017, ISD tackled “The Dark Side of Multipolarity,” a discussion of how new players and new alliances have changed the global order over the past 25 years. Over the course of two evenings, experts on Russia, China, the Middle East, and US foreign policy convened to debate the latest challenges to the liberal world order. A final report on these discussions will be released shortly. Our fall 2017 topic will be the Arctic’s new geostrategic role.
The Diplomacy Case Studies Library
As Mark Twain once said, “History does not repeat itself, but it often rhymes.” To capture those lessons of history – a record of diplomacy’s successes as well as failures – and help our future diplomats understand how diplomacy is most effectively conducted, ISD’s Case Studies Library has embarked on an ambitious program to update and expand its holdings to better reflect current issues and events and new aspects of diplomacy – health, development, intelligence, and the role of nontraditional actors, such as women in peace and security. Many of these cases are written by practitioners who worked on these very topics and negotiations.
Dr. Kelly McFarland has actively marketed the Case Studies Library at a number of academic conferences at workshops. New case studies include:
Tourism Development in Sri Lanka: A Path to Peace?
Peacemaking in Southern Africa: The Namibia-Angola Settlement of 1988
The US and Soviet Proxy War in Afghanistan, 1989-1992
Intelligence: A Key Partner to Diplomacy
Women’s Participation in Northern Ireland’s Good Friday Agreement Negotiations
Tunisia and the Start of the Arab Spring
Global health diplomacy
The international response to the Ebola crisis
Coming soon: cases on the Arab Spring in Egypt and in Syria; the role of special envoys and special representatives in high-stakes conflicts; and more on women, peace, and security.
Georgetown Leadership Seminar 2016
The Georgetown Leadership Seminar (GLS) concluded another successful session in October 2016. GLS participants from 28 countries convened at Georgetown for a week of in-depth seminars taught by SFS faculty and other Washington experts on foreign policy. Participants included Afghanistan’s deputy minister of counternarcotics, members of parliament from Denmark and Peru, and a Kurdish journalist from Iraq. GLS is grateful for the generous scholarship assistance provided alumni of GLS, Friends of ISD, and members of our Board. The selection process for the October 2017 GLS class is now underway.