Category: Despatches, News

Title: August 2020 Despatches (No. 1/2020)

Date Published: August 31, 2020

Dear Friends of ISD,

Normally this would be a straight forward Despatches: it’s fall, the students have—like swallows to Capistrano—flocked back to campus, there is a buzz as everyone gets ready for new classes, and the electric scooters once again clutter our sidewalks. Well, not quite.

Georgetown University is a “go”, but after careful thought and consideration of the data, opted to “go” all online. It was a hard decision, and a disappointing one, but the right one. Both faculty and students, having worked their way through the then-new world of Zoom classes in late spring, are now recalibrating their approach to teaching and to learning, and curbing their enthusiasm, in the face of reality and facts. We will make it work.

ISD shut its doors on March 12th along with the rest of the University. We hope we can go back with the start of the spring semester in January. We have each had the opportunity to do a grab-and-go to pick up necessary materials, make sure there is no rotting food in the fridge, sort the mail that piles up on the floor … and walk around a ghost building that feels more like early Sunday morning, not a work day.

But “shut” does not mean stopped. We have all been working away, albeit from home, to prepare for the new year and the new reality, including a new cohort of State Department and military associates and fellows, eight student research fellows, two Weintal scholars, five McHenry Fellows, and new programs that use new formats to expand our outreach.

One real advantage of the Zoom world is the opportunity to host far larger audiences than the space often available on campus allows. We can now share invitations to events more broadly (expect to see them in your inbox in due course) and events can be recorded and made available through our website at

I hope you are able to join our events, read our blog, tune into our podcast (coming soon), and check out our website for aggregated news on diplomacy around the world. I also hope that you will help support ISD to continue its mission in these extraordinary times and contribute whatever is comfortable to our on-going programs and projects.

All best wishes. Be safe,

Barbara K. Bodine

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