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Crossing the Divide of

Mutual Misunderstanding



Shawn Dorman is the editor of

e Foreign Service Journal.

inbox and the immediate, rarely nding

space or time for pondering trends and

theorizing about international a airs. In

bringing scholars and diplomats together,

a more complete understanding could


Our focus on teaching diplomacy

begins with “A Practitioner’s Song” from

Ambassador Barbara Bodine, director of

the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy

at Georgetown’s School of Foreign Ser-

vice. Speaking to diplomats who venture

into the foreign world of academia, she

o ers guidance on how to use their expe-

rience as an e ective teaching tool. She

o ers suggestions for how to bring theory

to life and make the study of diplomacy

relevant to policymakers and future poli-

cymakers alike.

In “Diplomacy Education Unzipped,”

Donna Oglesby declares that the

literature on diplomacy is essentially

unknown to most members of the For-

eign Service, including those teaching

diplomacy. She points out that the study

of “foreign policy” has been excluded

from the “diplomatic studies paradigm”

for decades. U.S. diplomats tend not to

accept that distinction.

Oglesby argues that the di erences

between how academics and practitio-

ners teach diplomacy, and the lack of a

common core, raises the key question

of whether U.S. diplomacy today is a

unique profession with a de ned body of

knowledge, or rather a practice by a col-

lection of experts with assorted skills.

Robert Dry, a retired FSO and chair of

AFSA’s Committee on the Foreign Service

Profession and Ethics, teaches diplomacy

at New York University. His “Diplomacy

Works: A Practitioner’s Guide to Recent

Books” is a survey of the books he consid-

ers key to understanding, and teaching,


Paul Sharp, a professor of political

science at the University of Minnesota

Duluth and co-editor of

e Hague

Journal of Diplomacy

, describes the

fraught relationship between academics

and diplomats. He o ers suggestions for

improving understanding, but explains

why we needn’t be



In this month’s Speaking Out column,

“De ning Diplomacy,” Ambassador

Edward Marks cautions that there is

much confusion among academics, as

well as practitioners, as to what exactly

diplomacy is. He spells out the progres-

sion from foreign a airs to foreign policy

to diplomacy, which he de nes as the

instrument of communication rather

than the message.

Finally, we are pleased to bring you

our most boring, yet popular, feature

of the year, the annual tax guide for the

Foreign Service.

Please let us know what you think

about how diplomacy should be taught,

what role academics should play in dip-

lomatic practice and what role diplomats

should play in the academy. Send your

letters to


onna Oglesby, a retired FSO

and former counselor for the

U.S. Information Agency who

teaches diplomacy at Eckerd

College, o ered the spark for this month’s

focus on teaching diplomacy. I met her

at the International Studies Association

convention in Toronto last year, and she

described her research on how schol-

ars and diplomats teach diplomacy.

She found vast di erences in their


Talking with many academics at

the convention, I was struck by the gap

between academics and practitioners.

e work of each group seemed elusive

to the other. Could the divide be bridged?

Should it be?

While this issue was in production,

AFSA was fortunate to have a visit from

Professor Abe Lowenthal, who had just

published a new volume with Mariano


Scholars, Policymakers, and

International A airs

, that makes the case

for more collaboration between scholars

and practitioners (see book review,

p. 85). In his view, the gap between

them is actually widening.

To succeed in academia, scholars

must publish works based on theory,

methodologies and

data that will be read

primarily by other

scholars. Diplomats,

on the other hand,

face the tyranny of the