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Reap the Whirlwind — The Assassination of Rajiv Gandhi

rajivgandhi_assassination_nOn May 21, 1991, while campaigning for the upcoming elections, Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by a suicide bomber. He was killed in the outskirts of Madras (now known as Chennai), the capital of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, which was a haven for many Tamil separatists. It is widely assumed that the Tamil Tigers' decision to kill him was perhaps aimed at preventing him from coming to power again.

Read more Moments in Diplomatic History.


Averell Harriman, The Old Crocodile of Diplomacy

Harriman TimeW. Averell Harriman was one of the more prominent public figures of the 20th Century, holding major positions in diplomacy, government, and business. Harriman served as Ambassador to the Soviet Union in 1943, and later to Ambassador to the United Kingdom in 1946. He was elected Governor of New York in 1954. Harriman was at once a brilliant, indefatigable diplomat but one who often could be imposing with those he worked with. Harriman had the somewhat annoying habit of removing his hearing aid when he no longer bothered to pay attention to what others were saying.

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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