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MARCH 2015



AFSA Roundtable Addresses Divide Between

Foreign Policy Practitioners and Scholars

AFSA President Robert J.

Silverman hosted a round-

table luncheon at AFSA

headquarters on Dec. 2 to

discuss ways to narrow the

considerable gap between

scholars and practitioners of

foreign policy.

The event was held in

connection with the recent

publication of


Policymakers and Interna-

tional Affairs: Finding Com-

mon Cause

(Johns Hopkins

University Press, 2014). The

book was reviewed in the

Jan-Feb 2015 issue of FSJ .

Abraham Lowenthal, a

professor at the University

of Southern California who

edited the book along with

Mariano E. Bertucci, led the

discussion. Ambassador

Thomas Shannon, the current

counselor of the State Depart-

ment and a contributor to the

book, was a special guest.

Despite what he called “tre-

mendous problems of mutual

misunderstanding,” Lowenthal

cited opportunities for “fruit-

ful connections” between the

academic and practical world

in foreign policy.

The book’s final chapter,

titled “Scholars, Policymak-

ers and International Affairs:

Toward More Fruitful Connec-

tions,” lists several concrete

steps to bridge the gap.

The Foreign Service

members and other guests in

attendance touched on issues

ranging from the lack of time

for long-range thinking (which

leads to “the inbox and the

urgent” running the State



AFSA supports the IranWatcher program as a two-

pronged tool to improve the government’s under-

standing of Iran’s regional presence and outreach,

and to develop a cadre of Persian speakers within

the Foreign Service. AFSA filed an implementation

dispute regarding a breach of contract with the State

Department on the removal from the Foreign Service

bidding pool of the London IranWatcher position and

its inclusion in the Overseas Development Program

(see “AFSAActs to Protect Integrity of FSAssign- ments System,” in the December 2014 FSJ ). As of

press time, AFSA and the department were involved

in settlement talks regarding the London position

and criteria for approving future ODP positions.



Department) to the need for

career education, not just

training, and ways to prioritize

interaction between academ-

ics and practitioners.


Debra Blome,

Associate Editor

AFSA Supports the U.S. Diplomacy Center


In July 2014, the American

Foreign Service Association

Governing Board decided to

make a financial contribu-

tion of $50,000 to the United

States Diplomacy Center

project through the Diplo-

macy Center Foundation.

The museumwill highlight

the critical role of diplomacy

and development in our coun-

try’s national security and

economic prosperity. Addi-

tional AFSA support is linked

to exhibit progress and further

development of the museum’s

governance structure.

Since 1924, AFSA has

played a central role in

preserving and promoting

the history of the U.S. Foreign

Service, and we look forward

to being a partner in the

USDC project.

On Sept. 3, five former

Secretaries of State joined

Secretary of State John

Kerry to break ground for the

construction of the USDC at

the 21st Street entrance of

the State Department (see the October 2014 FSJ for cov- erage of the groundbreaking ceremony).

The USDC, which will be

open to the general public,

aims to illustrate the impor-

tance of American diplomacy

in our nation, the role it plays

in advancing peace and how

it affects our daily concerns.

Through exhibitions at the

museum and educational

center, a detailed website and

a strong outreach program,

the center will help visitors

understand why diplomacy

and those who conduct it—

particularly members of the

Foreign Service—matter to

national security.

We believe this sort of

outreach is critical to ensur-

ing a strong connection

between American citizens

and those who represent

them abroad.

AFSA’s effective steward-

ship of member resources

has allowed us to make a

strategic investment in this

historic initiative while still

advancing other priorities. It

is precisely with such goals in

mind that AFSA has worked

to develop its financial capac-

ities, and we are excited to

be able to use our resources

to further the goal of improv-

ing public understanding of

the essential role played by

the professionals of the U.S.

Foreign Service.