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16

JUNE 2015

|

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

SITE OF THE MONTH: State Department Office of the Historian

T

he State Department’s Office of the Historian (http://

history.state.gov) is digitizing its multivolume series

Foreign Relations of the United States

. Each volume in

the series is a huge collection of U.S. government foreign

affairs documents. These volumes “present the official

documentary historical record of major U.S. foreign policy

decisions and significant diplomatic activity.”

The series covers events beginning in 1861. Today there

are 450 individual volumes, with 11 planned for release

in 2015. As of May, 240 of the volumes were available

online through the website. Users may conduct full text

searches by both topic and presidential administration.

The digitization project should be complete by 2018.

Volumes covering the last 65 years (164) are also available

to download as ebooks.

The most recent online release of a

FRUS

volume

relates to the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln,

and captures a collection of notes and letters from citi-

zens and foreign governments around the world respond-

ing to his death on April 14, 1865.

The volumes offer diplomats, scholars and the public

unprecedented access to fascinating unclassified and

declassified primary source materials tracing the history

of the United States’ international engagement.

Another terrific

resource is a database

that lists past principal

officers and chiefs of

mission and records of

the travels of presidents and Secretaries of State. Country

profiles include detailed histories of American diplomatic

relations with each, and the site also facilitates access to

the diplomatic records of these nations where possible.

A unique tool for public education at home and abroad,

the website has abundant resources for students and

teachers. The ebook versions of the

FRUS

series are avail-

able free of charge, and the Historian’s Office also creates

curriculum supplements for teaching middle and high

school students about diplomacy.

Run by Department of State Historian Dr. Stephen

Randolph and a team of professional historians, the

Historian’s Office is responsible for conducting research

for officials from the State Department and other agen-

cies, evaluating historical lessons and providing the

background information necessary to make today’s key

foreign relations decisions.

—Editorial Intern Shannon Mizzi and

Editor Shawn Dorman

shelter. It airlifted 700 rolls of heavy-duty

plastic sheeting to benefit an estimated

7,000 households, or up to 35,000 people.

The International Organization for Migra-

tion, a USAID/OFDA partner, distributed

the plastic sheeting along with other

supplies such as rope, wire and basic

hand tools.

Search-and-rescue teams coordinated

efforts with the government of Nepal

and other international USDAR teams

to conduct initial damage assessments.

They worked with canine rescue units to

search for survivors in the rubble of col-

lapsed buildings.

According to an April 29 Time article covering USAID responders in Nepal, th

e

dogs are trained to track the scent of liv-

ing people in ‘high-probability’ locations.

In addition, USAID/OFDA contrib-

uted $10 million in humanitarian assis-

tance to address earthquake response

and recovery efforts. USAID’s Office of

Food for Peace contributed $2.5 mil-

lion to the operation for the purchase of

1,390 metric tons of rice in support of the

United Nations World Food Program’s

efforts to distribute provisions in the area.

“We’re mobilizing emergency shelter

for about 35,000 people,” said Director

of USAID/OFDA Jeremy Konyndyk in an

April 27 interview with MSNBC.

“We’re

working with those search-and-rescue

teams and we’re also talking with the U.S.

military about what assets we might be

able to bring in.”

For donations and to learn the best

ways to help the relief efforts, USAID

(www.usaid.gov/nepal-earthquake

)

has posted a full list of organizations

provided by the Center for International

Disaster Information

(www.cidi.org/

nepal). Monetary donations to any of

these organizations are encouraged.

For most immediate updates, visit

the USAID website

(www.USAID.gov

) or

Twitter page

(www.twitter.com/usaid

).

n

—Brittany DeLong, Assistant Editor