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    Former U.S. ambassador Dennis Jett explains where ambassadors come from, what they do, where they go, and why they still matter.

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    At Poor Richard's General Store, we have all you need to show that you're a proud member of ADST Nation. As Poor Richard would say, "Wealth is not his that has it, but his that enjoys it."

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    Interested in learning more about our nation's diplomatic history? Visit our sister site,!

A Flood of Cuban Migrants — The Mariel Boatlift

Cuban immigrantsOne of the most contentious events in mass migration started in April 1980 when several Cubans took control of a bus and drove it through a fence of the Peruvian embassy in Havana; they requested – and were granted — political asylum. Castro ultimately stated that the port of Mariel, just outside of Havana, would be opened to anyone wishing to leave Cuba, as long as they had someone to pick them up. That set in motion a six-month drama in which more than 125,000 Cubans fled their country and overwhelmed the shores of the U.S.

Read more Moments in Diplomatic History.


A Frank and Open Interview with Chas Freeman

Chas_W_FreemanChas Freeman joined the Foreign Service as “a perfect escape from boredom and monotony” and somehow became almost bilingual in Mandarin in two years (an unheard-of accomplishment) and then served as one of the interpreters during Nixon’s historic trip to China. He served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for African Affairs and as Ambassador to Saudi Arabia (after learning Arabic) during Desert Storm.

Here he speaks frankly about a wide array of topics, including the Foreign Service (“unable to learn from its mistakes"), and interagency negotiating (when you have a problem with the Department of Commerce, schedule the meeting for early evening since they will want to go home and therefore will make concessions).

Read about other Fascinating Figures.

Inside Foggy Bottom

C Street entranceFoggy Bottombreaking-through-glass-ceiling1 refers not only to that neighborhood of Washington, DC, but also to the State Department itself. In this feature, we will try to dispel that fog and smoke and cast light on some of the lesser known aspects of the State Department and diplomatic history.

Cracking the Glass Ceiling -- A Discussion

To commemorate Women’s History Month, ADST, in conjunction with Executive Women at State, convened a panel March 30 with four Foreign Service pioneers, Phyllis Oakley, Elinor Constable, Stephanie Kinney and Eileen Malloy, to share their stories about being female Foreign Service Officers. You can also watch the panel discussion on YouTube.


The Stump

stump photoThe StumpPrinceton-Lyman_0 is an online forum to encourage discussion on issues regarding the State Department and foreign policy. The views expressed should not be considered official statements of the U.S. government or ADST.

Responding to the Threat of Mass Atrocities

Drawing on his experiences as U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, Ambassador Princeton Lyman highlights the decision making trade-offs he and his colleagues faced when they weighed the risks associated with the various forms of intervention they considered to mitigate the mass atrocities in Darfur. He also discusses similar trade-offs raised about the genocide in East Pakistan in the early 1970s and the decision to intervene in Libya to prevent a mass killing in 2011


Big Ben’s Top Ten


Powers on trial (AP Credit)Your BF serves them up the way you like them -- great taste and more filling!

Check out Big Ben's Top Ten -- the articles he recommends for their substance and popularity. He's got a wide selection from around the globe.


cuba-us-migration-cropSo share the Moments -- they're good for whatever ales you.




1.  The Assassination of Anwar Sadat              6.  Murder in an Embassy

2.  Trial of U2 Pilot Francis Gary Powers          7.  The Tet Offensive

3.  Terrorist Attack in Khartoum                       8.  Nixon Goes to China

4.  The Jonestown Massacre                              9.  8 Weird Things about Dips

5.  The Peruvian Hostage Rescue                    10.  Re-establishing ties with Cuba, 1977


ben_cool (2)The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”  — William Faulkner

The Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training (ADST) is an independent nonprofit organization founded in 1986. Located at the State Department’s George P. Shultz National Foreign Affairs Training Center in Arlington, Virginia, ADST advances understanding of American diplomacy and supports training of foreign affairs personnel through a variety of programs and activities.

Over the past quarter century ADST has conducted more than 1800 oral histories, which are also posted on the Library of Congress website, with more to come. Interviewees include such fascinating people as Prudence Bushnell, who describes her harrowing experiences during the bombing of U.S. Embassy Nairobi, Julia Child, Philip Habib, Dean Rusk, George Ball, Kathleen Turner, and many others. Excerpts from our oral history collections highlight the horrifying, the thought-provoking, and the absurd. In other words, they reflect the reality of diplomacy, warts and all.

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