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Foreign Service Link Begins ‘Diplomat’ Series

Foreign Service Link Begins ‘Diplomat’ SeriesUniversity of St. Thomas’ Center for International Studies formed a partnership with the American Foreign Service Association in Washington, D.C., to promote and deepen public understanding of U.S. diplomacy, and the Center will launch a new “Distinguished Diplomat” lecture series this month. 

The partnership with AFSA will focus on the critical skills that foreign service officers deploy in the face of increasing global challenges to vital American foreign policy interests.

The inaugural “Distinguished Diplomat” lecture will be given by Ambassador John Negroponte, former director of national intelligence, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and deputy secretary of state during President George W. Bush’s administration. The lecture will be held at 6:30 p.m. on March 21 in the Grand Salon of La Colombe D’Or Ballroom, 3410 Montrose Blvd.

Dr. Richard Sindelar, assistant professor in CIS, said Negroponte’s focus will be the outlook for United States foreign relations in light of recently concluded federal elections and a professional assessment of policy prospects, opportunities, and alternatives for the U.S. He also said CIS is greatly honored that AFSA has agreed to team with CIS to inspire careers in diplomacy. 

“Never before have diplomacy and diplomatic skills been as important for the success of American foreign relations and international business,” Sindelar said. “The modern, global situation offers unparalleled opportunities and great risks for both U.S. foreign policy, and private international commerce and finance world-wide.

The University has a history of preparing students for careers in international relations and diplomacy. Four alumni have become U.S. foreign service officers, three of them from the Center for International Studies.

To meet the need for a new generation of talented diplomats, the Center and AFSA joined forces to develop programs that inspire greater student and public interest in the craft of diplomacy, and the professional development of young leaders to fill diplomatic roles, whether in the public or private sectors.
The new endowment fund, established with a goal of $500,000, will support the biennial lecture series and a continuing program of outreach to students about diplomatic careers. Susan Johnson, senior career foreign service officer and current president of AFSA will also participate in other special program events.

St. Thomas launched its pioneering undergraduate program in international studies 40 years ago. In 1981, it founded the Center for International Studies as the home of its interdisciplinary major in International Studies, joined in 2006 by a major in International Development. More than 700 graduates of the two programs work in career fields such as commerce, education, development, diplomacy, public service, non-governmental organizations and communications. 

The American Foreign Service Association, established in 1924, is the professional association of the U.S. foreign service. With nearly 16,000 dues-paying members, AFSA represents more than 30,000 active and retired foreign service employees of the Departments of State, Commerce, and Agriculture, the Agency for International Development and International Broadcasting Bureau.

A sponsors’ dinner with Negroponte will follow at the Colombe D’Or about 8:30 p.m. For sponsorship details, contact Sindelar at or 713-525-3819.