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The USS Pueblo Incident — Assassins in Seoul, A Spy Ship Captured

A Russo-American Diplomat: Back in the USSR

Hear Ye, Hear Ye! It’s Poor Richard’s Podcasts

Cool Ben with Earbuds

iTunesFor a more personal — and often more dramatic — way to experience ADST’s oral history collection, try listening to one of our podcasts!

Click the link to Podbean or iTunes, where you will find our growing selection of podcasts. Such as Eileen Malloy, talking about skinny dipping for her country. Renowned chef and Foreign Service spouse Julia Child and actress Kathleen Turner reminiscing about their experiences with the Foreign Service. Richard Erickson discussing the North Korean seizure of the USS Pueblo.  And more to come!







Highlighted Oral History: John Limbert

stage-spotlightlimbert2“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” Thanks to Benjamin Franklin for those wise words. The men and women in the foreign affairs community who have taken the time to record their oral histories over the past three decades have created something worth reading and done many things worth writing about. Of the more than 2000 histories we offer, here is one.  If you would like to suggest an oral history to feature, please contact ADST.


John Limbert, born in Washington, D.C., graduated from Harvard and served in the Peace Corps in Iran. He joined the Foreign Service in 1972 and served in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Tunis, Jeddah and Teheran, where he was taken hostage just 12 weeks after arrival and held captive along with 52 other Americans for more than a year. He then served in Djibouti, Algiers, Dubai, and was U.S. Ambassador in Conakry and Mauritania. Here's an excerpt about the attack on the embassy in Teheran:

"My hat goes off to them. Marines don’t like to surrender. Marines don’t like to retreat. But they followed orders and they did not shoot their weapons. Had they done so, I would not be sitting here today. We know now that the students attacking us were prepared, if there had been bloodshed, to take the bodies out and parade them around to the crowd and that would have meant that instead of facing a thousand people we would have been facing 500,000 people. You whip up a mob with rumors and all the rest and say the Marines are shooting women and unarmed demonstrators at the embassy. The situation could have gotten completely out of control."


To see the entire list of oral histories, please follow the link.


Inside Foggy Bottom

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.

fso-testRedesigning the Foreign Service Exam

The Foreign Service Officer Test has undergone extensive changes over time. In 1989, a court order found that the Department of State had discriminated against women in the written portion of the Foreign Service Officer Test, which led to initial changes in the exam. In 2006, then-Director General of the Foreign Service George Staples proposed that the written exam be removed from the process because of its negative impact on minority hiring. This prompted another review of the evaluation process. Management consultants McKinsey & Company proposed that the process include a “total candidate review,” which led to the creation of personal narrative questions.

Margaret Dean, Staff Director for the Board of Examiners (BEX) from 2004 through 2007, explained the challenges that she and her team faced in trying to design an exam which would not be biased against women and minorities and which would continue to yield the high quality of candidates needed by the Foreign Service.


Big Ben’s Top Ten


f-18Your BF serves them up the way you like them -- great taste and more filling! Check out Big Ben's Top Ten. He's got a wide selection from around the globe.

Moments -- they're good for whatever ales you.





1. "The Cold War Was Truly Over”                  6. Operations Sheba and Solomon

2. Tales from Rough First Tours                      7. PTSD in the Foreign Service

3. Creating a More Diverse Foreign Service    8.  Music Diplomacy in Shanghai 

4. Skinny Dipping for Her Country                 9. The ACDA-USIA Merger into State childrenmining_300

5. Stemming the Flow of Blood Diamonds     10. Re-establishing ties with Cuba


ben_cool (2)Navigating this Website

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.

To read the oral histories, please go to the top of this page. Click on the third link, “Oral History,” and the drop-down menu will take you to the oral history page, Country Readers (with excerpts about specific countries), Moments in U.S. Diplomatic History (highlights of the oral histories), Fascinating Figures and more. You can identify specific topics, people or countries mentioned in the Moments using Google Search. If you access the Moments from the drop-down menu, you can also search using categories and tags.

To meet ADST’s staff and Board of Directors, please look at the second link, “About ADST”.  “About ADST” will also tell you about ADST internships and how to apply for them. Explore!

Please consider supporting our vital work of interviewing, transcribing, editing and archiving U.S. diplomatic oral history by making a donation to ADST.





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