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J U LY - A U G U S T 2 0 1 2 / F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L
ternational Studies. FSOs who have done so, like Walter
Douglas, who has taken a yearlong fellowship to research
public diplomacy efforts in Muslim countries at the Cen-
ter for Strategic and International Studies, say State would
be wise to make greater use of such opportunities. “It’s an
incredible value if people can do it,” Douglas says. “You
get to step out of the system and read the literature and
do the research on how to improve our work.”
Fellowship opportunities are listed on the State De-
partment’s intranet site; competition for a limited num-
ber of slots is fierce. Employees who are selected must
agree to stay with the department for a period three times
the length of the fellowship, or else refund the training
expenses to the department.
Beyond slots at the war colleges, think-tanks and pri-
vate universities, employees can pursue exchanges with
foreign governments, such as Australia and Japan, and
sabbaticals, such as that offered by the Una Chapman
Cox Foundation, that come with few restrictions on how
they are used.
About 160 officers are currently taking long-term train-
ing. Another 182 are pursuing Foreign Service detail op-
portunities outside State, and 40 more are taking after-
hours seminars or other instruction.
Testimonials from the Field
Language training, of course, remains FSI’s bread and
butter, with classes in 70 languages that last anywhere
from a few weeks to two years for the more difficult lan-
guages. Retired Ambassador Ken Brown, president of the
Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training, says
FSI’s language school is “if not the best in the world, close
to that.”
Brown notes that competition for the teaching awards
ADST gives to FSI instructors is fierce. “The quality of
the teaching is very high, and the teachers are very moti-
vated to teach well and to look for ways to teach beyond
the normal curriculum materials,” he says. “If they have
a student with a particular problem, they will go out of
their way to help that student learn.”