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The Headache That Is the Fourth of July Party

4th tired statueThe Fourth of July is a celebration of the United States’ independence.  It is a day of family, friends, food, and a few beers.  However, this is not typically the case for those representing the United States overseas.  When the time comes, members of an embassy overseas are charged with putting on a big party to showcase the American pride and unity that comes with this historic day.  Yet, these parties often come with more headaches and fake smiles than one would expect.

Read more Moments in Diplomatic History.

Frances Willis, The First Career Female Ambassador

4076bFrances Elizabeth Willis was the first female to rise to the rank of Ambassador as a career Foreign Service Officer. She taught political science until she decided to switch careers, saying “I didn’t want to just teach political science, I wanted to be a part of it.” She passed the Foreign Service exam in 1927 and left shortly after for her first post in Chile, followed by posts in Sweden, Great Britain, Belgium, Spain and Finland. She rose quickly through the ranks, showing her competency and talent for diplomacy. President Dwight Eisenhower appointed her Ambassador to Switzerland in 1953.

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 StumpDiplomacy-580x435 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.

“Military overreach cannot be offset by diplomatic incapacity”

Retired Ambassador Chas W. Freeman notes that on the eve of WWI, nations began to conflate “military posturing with diplomacy, much as events in the East and South China Seas, the Middle East, and Ukraine seem to be doing today.” He calls for dialogue over militarism and a reinvigorated Foreign Service of professionals, not dilettantes.




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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