Sisco Memorial Forum
Last year's Sisco Forum featured General Colin Powell on Wednesday, October 8, 2014.

Diplomacy and Violent Jihad
Last year's event, in conjunction with the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies, was held on Saturday, October 25, 2014. The keynote speaker was Ambassador Robert Ford.


AAD Announces: "American Diplomacy at Risk"

A strong State Department, based on a strong Foreign Service and a strong Civil Service, is a critical component of America's security. But America's diplomacy—the front line of our defenses—is in trouble. Increasing politicization undermines institutional strength; almost no career officers serve in the most senior State positions, while short-term political appointees penetrate ever deeper into the system. The Foreign Service lacks the professional education and standards to meet its current heavy responsibilities and to create its necessary future senior leaders. The Civil Service is mired in an outdated system with limited coherent career mobility.

Some State Department officials seem intent on nullifying the Foreign Service Act of 1980, and its merit-based personnel system by bureaucratically seeking to blend the Foreign and Civil Services. This creates needless friction and diminishes both services. Our national interest requires our immediate recommitment to the law and to strengthening our professional Foreign and Civil Services. State needs to comprehensively review and modernize its entire system of workforce management and budgeting.

This report aims to stimulate the changes necessary to prepare American diplomacy for the challenges of the 21st century.

Click here to view the abridged report.

Click here to view the full report.

For a consolidated list of recommendations, click here.

The United States Institute of Peace Special Report: Using Special Envoys in High-Stakes Conflict Diplomacy

This report is based on two group meetings and over twenty individual interviews with current and former envoys and other officials and on their memoirs and published reflections. We consulted envoys who had addressed conflicts involving Northern Ireland, the Balkans, North Korea, the Middle East, Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan/South Sudan, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Literature review also covered other situations, including Mozambique, Angola, and Sri Lanka. Most interviews were with Americans, although UN, European Union, UK, Norwegian, and Chinese envoys provided further insights. We also drew on an earlier United States Institute of Peace (USIP) study of the use of special envoys and other studies of this diplomatic practice.

Click here to view the report.

Click here to watch the panel discussion, "Diplomacy in Conflict: Improving on Special Envoys" hosted by USIP and aired on CSPAN (December 19th, 2014). The discussants feature AAD members Ambassadors Lyman and Beecroft, as well as former envoy Ambassador Dan Kurtzer and Humanity United Vice President of Policy Government Relations David Abramowitz.. Moderated by former Congressman Tom Perriellol.

This year's Sisco Forum featured General Colin Powell: America Confronts a World in Crisis

Watch online as Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell speaks about diplomacy and policy during turbulent times. General Powell discussed these topics and more with Ambassador Marc Grossman, former Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs and most recently Special Representative for Afghanistan.

AAD Event: A 21st Century Imperative: Breaking Down National Security Stovepipes

A one-day conference with panels featuring discussion on coordinating the components of state power and interagency stovepipes and their impact on policy-making and execution. Friday, September 19, 2014 from 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM (CDT). Austin, TX.

AAD new program: The Omaha Ambassadors Forum

The Spring 2014 Omaha Ambassadors Forum took place Monday, April 7th from 11:30 am to 2 pm at the Scott Conference Center. The focus of the forum, developed in conjunction with the University of Nebraska at Omaha, is Asian Pivot: American Interests, Diplomacy and Regional Perspectives. Recent actions by North Korea have created uncertainty and unrest in the East Asian region and globally. China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea add to these tensions. The Omaha Ambassador Forum, and its distinguished speakers, intended to address how these events will impact the interrelations between the USA, China, Japan, and other nearby nations as they demand attention in the coming months. We were extremely fortunate to have Ambassador B. Lynn Pascoe, Randall G. Schriver of Project 2049, and Ambassador John Wolf leading the Omaha Ambassador Forum this year.

AAD Report: The Foreign Policy Advisor Program: Diplomats Among Warriors

On May 10, 2013, The American Academy of Diplomacy joined with the Simons Center for Interagency Cooperation to sponsor an interactive conference on the role of the State Department Foreign Policy Advisors who serve with the U.S. military. There were presentations by Acting Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs Thomas Kelly and Director of the Army Staff Lieutenant General William J. Troy, perspectives from conference participants including active and former POLADs, and comments and strategic insights provided by General (ret) David Petraeus. Ambassador (ret) Ronald Neumann moderated the discussions. A full report, including the organizers’ observations and recommendations, may be accessed here. It will also be available in booklet form on request to

Click here to view the report.

DTOS Report

AAD Announces: "Diplomacy in a Time of Scarcity",

The Foreign Service Officers of the Department of State and the Agency for International Development (USAID) are the foot soldiers of smart power. These men and women lead and staff our 195 Embassies, 55 Consulates, and 85 USAID Missions around the world. They are our nation’s first line of defense.

Click here to view the report, written in partnership with the Stimson Center and supported by the Una Chapman Cox Foundation.

AAD Announces: American Academy of Diplomacy statement on attack in Benghazi

Diplomacy & Education - Teaching Resources: The Academy, in partnership with the International Center for Jefferson Studies, hosted a conference titled “Diplomacy and Education: Discovering and Teaching Reality.” Click here to view the Academy's suggested teaching resources regarding diplomatic practice.

AAD Report: "Forging a 21st-Century Diplomatic Service for the United States through Professional Education and Training"

This report puts into stark relief the urgent need to prepare and sustain a corps of American diplomatic professionals that is intellectually and operationally ready to lead in the new environment. The core of the study consists of eight succinct, specific recommendations.  They focus on the need to redress America’s  chronic under-investment in diplomacy, the need to strengthen and expand the State Department’s professional development process, and – perhaps most crucial – the requirement that as necessary resources are phased in, every U.S. Foreign Service Officer must complete a year of advanced study relevant to his or her career track as a condition for promotion to senior diplomatic ranks.

Click here to view the report, written in partnership with the Stimson Center and supported by the Una Chapman Cox Foundation.

News from AAD

Questions to AFSA Presidential Candidates

The 2014 Arthur Ross Media Awardees were Alexandra Zavis (for Reporting) and Eugene Robinson (for Columnist) and a special citation to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

The Academy selected The Limits of Partnership: U.S.-Russian Relations in the Twenty-First Century as the 2014 Dillon Book Award Winner. The call for submissions for the 2015 award will go out in spring 2015.


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First Line of Defense
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