Category: News, Speaking of Diplomacy

Title: Under Biden, State Department needs to be rebuilt. But better.

Date Published: November 20, 2020

ISD Director Ambassador Barbara Bodine was quoted in a recent article in the Christian Science Monitor about the need to rebuild the State Department under the Biden administration”:

“The State Department is like a town that gets hit by a strong earthquake, and you realize it didn’t take long to destroy it,” says Barbara Bodine, a former ambassador to Yemen who is now director of the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University. “But then you use that [realization] to ask, ‘How do we come back better, and stronger?’”

Referring to a Council on Foreign Relations report issued this month that lays out a path for rebuilding the State Department, Ambassador Bodine adds: “As the CFR report concluded, it’s about transformation, not just a reset. We need an organization and diplomats to meet the global challenges of this century.”

Building a better State Department will mean beefing up its expertise in the 21st century’s key “transnational” challenges, including climate change and cybersecurity, says Ambassador Bodine. Innovative and independent thinking about solutions to global challenges “has been submerged out of a fear of being seen as not with the program,” she says. “That really has to change.”

The article also highlights the role of ISD non-resident fellow Ambassador Linda-Thomas Greenfield, who leads President-elect Biden’s State Department Agency Review Team, and is Biden’s reported pick for U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

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