Foreign Service Journal - June 2013 - page 51

JUNE 2013
On March 21 and 22, AFSA
launched a partnership with
the University of St. Thomas
in Houston, aimed at enhanc-
ing the efforts of its 40-year-
old Center for International
Studies to train the next
generation of diplomats. The
program will focus on key
aspects of Foreign Service
careers, as well as on Ameri-
can diplomacy overall.
Under this partnership,
AFSA will recruit a well-
known, senior U.S. diplomat
to address deans, faculty and
students on the challenges
facing U.S. diplomacy in the
21st century. The speech will
take place at the CIS follow-
ing each biennial national
election. The University of St.
Thomas is the first institution
chosen for this program and
has agreed to bear most of
the costs via a newly cre-
ated endowment of up to
Program Kick-Off
Former Deputy Secretary
of State John Negroponte’s
inaugural address on March
21 officially kicked-off the
new “Distinguished Diplo-
mat” lecture series and the
partnership between the
university and AFSA. Negro-
ponte emphasized, “We want
to make sure American stu-
dents are aware of the oppor-
tunities for service to their
country abroad; we don’t
want them all to be from a
handful of universities on the
AFSA Launches New Foreign Service Program Partnership
East Coast, for example, or
the West Coast. We want to
have regional diversity. We
want the State Department
to look like America when it’s
representing us abroad.”
Ambassador Negro-
ponte stressed that those
interested in Foreign Ser-
vice careers should study
languages and cultures
through schoolwork, intern-
ships and travel. He added
that, “Speaking to people in
their local tongue makes an
incredible impression.” He
went on to opine that the
U.S., with all the advantages
it enjoys, could well remain
the leader of the free world
for decades to come, but that
it is essential that we get our
fiscal and economic houses
in order, especially in the face
of growing competition from
many countries.
What Diplomats Do
AFSA President Susan
R. Johnson also addressed
the group, commenting that
AFSA has expanded its reach
to smaller regional schools
and emerging international
programs by sending diplo-
mats and other practitioners
to speak and meet with stu-
dents to give them a sense of
what diplomacy is all about,
what diplomats do, why it’s
important for our national
interests and what roles
they can aspire to through
diplomatic careers. Negro-
ponte and Johnson also
spoke to students from three
area universities on careers
in the Foreign Service. They
encouraged the students to
read AFSA’s popular book
on the topic, “Inside a U.S.
Keen Interest
The main kickoff lecture,
evening reception and dinner
were attended by prominent
Houstonians from academia,
business and government,
many of whom expressed
keen interest in supporting
this new partnership. The
following day, Johnson spoke
at a breakfast meeting of
local Foreign Service retirees
to detail AFSA’s persistent
efforts in assisting retirees
with benefits and other
concerns, and explain the
challenges U.S. diplomacy
and development face with
limited budgets. In view of
the success of these inaugu-
ral programs, going forward,
AFSA will also seek opportu-
nities to establish similarly
endowed partnerships with
other regional universities
around the nation.
Media coverage of these
events was heavy, and culmi-
nated with the opportunity to
meet with the chief editors of
Houston Chronicle
, laying
the groundwork for future
AFSA press placements
On March 21, University of St. Thomas Assistant Professor Richard
Sindelar introduces “Distinguished Diplomat” lecturer Ambassador John D.
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