“History never looks like history when you are living through it.” — John W. Gardner
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 programs, publications, and activities.
Over the past quarter century ADST has completed more than 2000 oral histories, also posted on the Library of Congress website, with more to come. Interviewees include such fascinating people as Thomas Pickering, who describes his experiences as an ambassador in embassies throughout the world, Melissa Wells, who went from Vegas showgirl to four-time ambassador, Julia Child, Philip Habib, actor Oliver Platt (member of a Foreign Service family) and many others. Excerpts from our oral history collections highlight the horrifying, the thought-provoking, and the absurd, showcasing lesser-known aspects of Foreign Service statecraft and life abroad. They reflect the reality of diplomacy, warts and all.