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

Tachito Crumbles – The End of Nicaragua’s Somoza Dynasty

sandinistasFrom 1936 to 1979, Nicaragua was under the grip of the Somoza family. Coming to power following the death of his older brother, Anastasio “Tachito” Somoza re-established the fierce reign of violence that had characterized much of his father’s reign. Led by the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), mass protests and violence plagued the streets of Nicaragua as the country plunged into civil war.

Read more Moments in Diplomatic History.


Celebrate Womens’ History Month — Prudence Bushnell

Prudence BushnellAs a teenage daughter of a Foreign Service Officer who moved his family from country to country, Prudence Bushnell frequently complained that the Foreign Service ruined her life. It is ironic then that Bushnell would later be an FSO for 24 years. She confronted misogyny, an embassy bombing, and warlords in several high-threat posts. But Bushnell also experienced the tenacity of women in West Africa, helped fight corruption in Latin America, and saw the gradual destruction of gender roles in the Foreign Service.

Read about other Fascinating Figures.

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Inside Foggy Bottom

C Street entranceFoggy Bottomusa-consulate-1-200x200 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.

A Brief History of the Consular Service 

Throughout its rich history, consular service has attracted such luminaries as writer Brett Harte and future mayor of New York Fiorello LaGuardia as well as its share of the corrupt and power hungry, who liked the money their services brought in and the autonomy that isolation from Washington provided. Herewith a brief history of the consular service from the time of the pharaohs to the courts of France to the growing pains of the American Republic.


The Stump

The StumpBaker, Jamesstump photo 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.

Baker's Half Dozen -- Six Precepts for Foreign Policy

A skilled diplomat and negotiator, James A. Baker III served as the Secretary of State during a period of tumultuous change, including the collapse of the Soviet Union, Operation Desert Storm, and the U.S. invasion of Panama. In these remarks, which lay out specific steps on Ukraine and are at times critical of President Obama, Secretary Baker outlines his “Baker’s Half Dozen,” six pragmatic rules of thumb for foreign policy, including presidential commitment, consistency, and a balancing of values and interests.


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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