The Foreign Service Journal - December 2017

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | DECEMBER 2017 23 zation and promotion of diplomats in each country. It included a careful reading of published accounts of diplomatic training, interviews with diplomatic personnel in Washington, D.C., and discussions during a January meeting of the Austin Forum—an intensive three-day workshop for rising American, European and Latin American diplomats. Assembled in country teams, the researchers asked a series of questions: What is your country’s diplomatic culture and profes- sional ethos? How does an individual get chosen for the diplomatic corps in your society? What is the content and duration of initial training? What is your country’s budget for its diplomatic service in relation to other priorities? What are the expectations for early postings and career advancement? How are diplomats organized— by region or issue area? What are the opportunities and expecta- tions for mid-career training? What is the trajectory for a typical diplomatic career? What role does your diplomatic service play in foreign policymaking, and how is this role changing? The result was a series of case studies containing valuable insights about different diplomatic services. Of course the informa- tion was more accessible and detailed for those in democratic soci- eties (e.g., the U.K., France and Germany). Information was harder to acquire for more closed countries (e.g., Russia and China). The final report, completed in May, is available from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs and online. Though dealing with non-American countries, it identifies some “best practices” in the field of diplomacy that may contribute to reform- ing and improving our own distinguished U.S. Foreign Service. We discuss some of the potentially valuable findings below, including presenting highlights on specific countries, following a brief review of the history of U.S. diplomacy. Educating Russia’s Future Diplomats Russian diplomats are known for their strong professional training and deep linguistic and cultural knowledge of assigned regions. The principal pipeline for new diplomats remains the Moscow State Institute of Interna- tional Relations (MGIMO), which conducts rigor- ous training in diplomatic theory, area studies and foreign languages. Entry-level officers are expected to have mastery of at least two for- eign languages, and they generally focus on one region of the world, moving from post to post while rising slowly through the ranks. While the Service is still a prestigious and valued institution in Russia, it has faced chal- lenges in recent years that have lowered its pres- tige, including competition from higher-paying private-sector jobs and complaints of limited autonomy and agency. Further, while in the past the vast majority of those attending MGIMO were specifically pursuing careers in the foreign ministry, this is no longer the case. A survey pub- lished in 2011 suggested that the ministry had failed to adapt to the needs of the post-Soviet generation. —From “Developing Diplomats: Comparing Form and Culture Across Diplomatic Services,” Country Report: Russia, pp. 117-135. BerntRostad [CCBY2.0]viaflickr ( Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on Smolenskaya Square in Moscow.