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A Special Premiere for

“America’s Diplomats”


n Nov. 19, a special premiere of the

film “America’s Diplomats” will be

held in the Terrace Theater of Washing-

ton, D.C.’s Kennedy Center as a fundraiser

for the Diplomacy Center Foundation.

Produced by the Foreign Policy

Association, a nonpartisan educational

organization, the film features both

active-duty and retired members of the

Foreign Service and is narrated by actress

and director Kathleen Turner, a Foreign

Service “brat.” It is scheduled to air on PBS

stations in early 2016.

The one-hour documentary explores

the role of diplomacy in shaping Ameri-

can history, focusing on the actual people

who have staffed our embassies and

consulates throughout our history and

what they do.

Beginning with Benjamin Franklin and

the mission to France that played such an

important role in winning our indepen-

dence, the film highlights the diplomacy

involved in the Louisiana Purchase, the

Civil War and the years of American

expansion during the 19th century.

Coverage of 20th-century diplomacy

includes the role of Fiorello LaGuardia as

an American consular officer, the Rogers

Act and creation of the Foreign Service of

the United States, and the heroic role of

consular officers such as Hiram Bingham

during World War II.

The story of George Kennan and the

Cold War introduces the postwar period,

and coverage of the contributions to mod-

ern American diplomacy of well-known

FSOs like Richard Holbrooke and Ed Per-

kins, as well as many known best mostly

within the FS community, follows.

Individuals’ stories are interwoven

with descriptions of the functions of the

Service: consular, economic, commercial,

political, development and public diplo-


macy. The film also dramatically shows

the sacrifices made by diplomats—from

Nairobi to Benghazi in recent times, but

all throughout our history—in shots

of the memorial plaques in the State

Department lobby and searing footage

of destroyed embassies and funerals.

—Susan Brady Maitra,

Managing Editor

In Pursuit of




his year’s U.N. General Assembly

provided the backdrop for the

organization’s 193 member states’

long-awaited adoption of the Sustain- able Development Goals. The SDGs wi


replace the previous generation of pov-

erty slashing targets—the Millennium

Development Goals—when they expire

at the end of 2015.

The result of more than three years

of global consultations with leaders in

government, business and civil soci-

ety, the purpose of the SDGs is to help

guide the world in its quest to achieve

sustainable development by 2030 in

three dimensions—economic, social

and environmental. The sticker price for

such ambition? Close to $3 trillion.

Critics fault the drafters for replacing

the already unwieldy eight goals and 18

targets of the MDGs with a whopping 17

goals and 169 targets. As Bjørn Lomborg,

director of the Copenhagen Consensus

Center, explains in

Time magazine

, “The

chief problem with this new laundry list

of targets is that trying to prioritize 169

things looks very similar to prioritizing


Others are skeptical that the financial

resources and political follow-through

will materialize under the non-binding


President Barack Obama, speaking

at the UNGA Sustainable Development Summit, pointed to significant achieve-

ments under the MDGs as proof that

development works: “More governments,

more institutions, more businesses, more

philanthropies, more NGOs, more faith

communities, more citizens … need to

step up with the will and the resources

and the coordination to achieve our


He also committed the United States

to achieving the SDGs. This may prove

challenging, however, given the 16-per-

cent drop in funding for the U.S. Agency

for International Development since 2009.

Writing for

Foreign Policy

, Christo-

pher Holshek—retired U.S. Army civil

affairs colonel and senior fellow at the


From the movie “America’s Diplomats.”