The Essential Diplomat at the Future of Diplomacy Symposium

The Essential Diplomat at the Future of Diplomacy Symposium


– Good afternoon! On behalf of the McCourt
School of Public Policy and our Institute of
Politics and Public Service and the School for Foreign Service, I’m delighted to welcome you to The Future of Diplomacy Symposium. I’d like to extend a special welcome to the Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is with us here today. We look forward to hearing
her keynote conversation in Gaston Hall later this afternoon. This is just my first
week as Dean of McCourt. (audience laughing) I have been promised that we will have distinguished visitors
like this every week, so I’m looking forward to it.
(audience laughing) I am thrilled to join this
wonderful crowd of students and academic leaders, diplomats, foreign service professionals and alumni. We are at a critically important juncture in our foreign policy. The world and the dynamics
of our diplomacy are changing and the United States’s global leadership is more essential now than at any time in the last generation. In this context we have much to discuss and since it’s founding
in the Fall of 2015, the Institute of Politics
and Public Service has established itself as a central player in bringing together this
conversations on the hilltop. Conversations across party
lines and branches of government that bring together key
leaders to share their insights on the critical issues of the day. Part of our mission at McCourt is to facilitate
cross-campus collaboration, whether cross-disciplinary research or convenings like this. And I wanna thank
especially Dean Joel Hellman and the School for Foreign Service for their partnership and vision in creating today’s symposium and for including as part of their Lloyd George
Centennial Lecture Series. In just a moment, we will hear
from experienced diplomats and foreign service experts
about the essential roles that they play in serviced
to state and country. Later we will discuss
what role values play in US Foreign Policy
and consider questions like what are our values and how can and should we stand for
them in today’s world. Following the second panel, Secretary Clinton will
give her perspective on American Leadership in Foreign Affairs in conversation with the
Ambassador Bill Burns. So, without more ado, thank you again for coming today. I am so proud to be part of Georgetown with an unmatched convening power that will help to shape the future of our diplomacy and our democracy. I’d now like to introduce, Zinna Senbette, a student in the Masters
of Foreign Service Program who will introduce our
panelists and our moderator. (audience applauding) – Good afternoon. My name is Zinna Senbetta and I am a graduate student in the Master of Science
in Foreign Service Program concentrating in Global
Politics and Security. Thank you for joining us this afternoon for our first conversation
about the future of diplomacy. As a Student Research Assistant at the Institute For
the Study of Diplomacy and a Rangel Fellow who will be entering the US Foreign Service in September, I am constantly thinking
about the future of diplomacy. (audience applauding) I am grateful for the opportunity to be here for a conversation among such prominent foreign
service professionals to discuss this important topic. It is a great honor and pleasure to introduce the
distinguished panel members. Ambassador Barbara Bodine
is a Former Ambassador to the Republic of Yemen. Her career of over 30 years
in the foreign service was spent primarily on Arabian Peninsula in Greater Persian Gulf issues. Ambassador Bodine currently serves as the Director of Georgetown’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy. Ambassador John Negroponte
has been ambassador to Honduras, Mexico, The Philippines, The United Nations and Iraq. His most recent position in government was as Deputy Secretary of State where he served as the State Department’s Chief Operating Officer. He currently serves as Vice
Chairman of McLarty Associates. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield served as US Assistant Secretary of
State for African Affairs. She was ambassador to Liberia and is currently a
distinguished resident fellow in African Affairs at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy. Uzra Zeya served as Chargé d’Affaires and Deputy Chief of Mission
at the US Embassy in Paris. Prior to that role, she was
acting Assistant Secretary and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Democracy
Human Rights and Labor. She is currently CEO and President of the Alliance for Peacebuilding. Ms. Zeya is a graduate of Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service and is a Senior Non-Resident Fellow at The Institute for
the Study of Diplomacy. The panel will be moderated
by Bernadette Meehan who served as Special Assistant
to President Barack Obama, a National Security Council Spokesperson, as well as Special Assistant
to Secretary of State. She is now continuing her
work with President Obama as Chief International Officer
of the Obama Foundation. Ms. Meehan is on the Institute
for the Study of Diplomacy Board of Advisors. Before we begin, I’d
like to encourage you all to engage with this event on social media using the hashtag #futureofdiplomacy to amplify this important discussion. Thank you all for taking the time to share your experiences and thoughts. And without further ado,
I give you our panel. (audience applauding) – Hi! (laughing) Thank you, Zinna for that
wonderful introduction and congratulations on heading
to the foreign service. I think you have a rich and
wonderful career ahead of you. We are all incredibly excited to be here. We are grateful to
Georgetown for hosting us for this incredibly
relevant and timely series of conversations today. It is wonderful to see so many friends, old colleagues, familiar
faces in the audience. It makes a little bit
more daunting actually, it’s like performing in
front of all of your peers. It’s a bit of a new experience. I in particular wanted to call out Ambassador Jeff DeLaurentis
and I don’t know where in the audience he is. Right back here. Jeff is a current Centennial
Fellow here at Georgetown. He was also most recently
the Chargé d’Affaires at our Embassy in Cuba, and
was one of my first mentors in the foreign service. When I was a first tour
officer in Bogota Colombia, Jeff was a senior officer,
the Political Counselor, and has mentored me throughout my career and I am thrilled that we are both back in some capacity at Georgetown, so just wanted to say
a special hello to you. And for students here that are
interested in foreign policy, one of the best pieces of
advice that I can give you is seek out Jeff and find time (audience laughing)
to speak with him while he is on campus. He will give you wonderful guidance and perspective on careers
that you’re about to embark in. So it’s a wonderful opportunity. Of course I would also like to say thank you so much to Secretary
of State Hillary Clinton for joining us here today. When people find out that I work directly for the Secretary for a number of years, they often approach me
in a somewhat low whisper and they say, “But what is
Hilary Clinton really like?” And I sort of nod. And while there is a
wonderful list of things that I could say about Secretary Clinton, I think the most relevant
to the conversation today is that when she was the leader
of the Department of State, and I think anyone who worked under her to the liege there would agree, she was a true champion
of the career officers at the State Department,
Foreign Service Officers, Civil Service Officers. (audience and panel applauding) And she routinely relied on
the expertise, the experience and the knowledge that our
diplomats have to offer. And I would like to follow
that simply by saying, because there’s so many
members of her team who were not career officers
but are here in the audience that this was a spirit
that I feel was really carried through by all
members of her team. And the reason I think it’s relevant and important to mention
that is the State Department and when we talked about the
role of the essential diplomat is really and it’s most effective when we are taking
advantage of the knowledge and the expertise of the career experts who have made this their career. So we are incredibly grateful to you, to members of your team who are here for carrying that spirit through and remaining champions of the
essential role of diplomats, current and future, so thank you very much Madame Secretary. (audience and panel applauding) So I am honored to be
among some of the giants of the foreign service
up here on the stage. What is the essential
diplomat you might be asking. What are we actually going
to be speaking to about? So before we launch into the conversation I thought I would provide a little context of what we discussed and how
we approach this topic today. When we look at the world as it is, we see an increasingly complicated place. Power is becoming more diffuse. There are more actors on
the international stage. Information is faster, more voluminous and less trustworthy
than times in the past. The forces of disorder and
disruption are growing. And diplomacy is no longer conducted simply between governments, so it’s a whole new landscape. But we also see more
opportunities than ever before to advance the interest of
our nation and the world. From discovering breakthroughs
in global health, sustainable energy resources, to providing greater access to education, and economic opportunity. Today, we will discuss how we see our nation
engaging with the world. Are we prepared to meet these
challenges and opportunities? Is the State Department well-positioned to lead negotiations and discussions about how to confront these issues? How can we ensure that our
diplomats are well-trained, nimbled, and remain
essential to this process? So that’s what we’re gonna get down to business and discuss. I’d like to start with Barbara who as you heard is the Director of the Institute for
Diplomacy here at Georgetown. And as mentioned I spent
a year here and now serve on the Board of Advisors and
feel very honored to do so. Embedding as a practitioner
for me was a great way to reflect on my experiences
as a Foreign Service Officer but also importantly to brush
off some of the cynicism that collects from years in
government service at times and sometimes rote way of
thinking when your sort of in a career for a long amount of time and you don’t have an opportunity to sort of break out and think creatively. So I’m hoping Barbara
that you might be able to tell us about the mission of ISD, how ISD works to prepare this
next generation of diplomats and other foreign service professionals in other institutions like the military for the challenges and opportunities, and in particular for the
students in the audience, how should they be engaging with ISD and taking advantage of
it during their time here. – Thank you. My thanks to the McCourt School and in the School of Foreign Service for putting this series of events on and great deal of thanks
to Secretary Clinton for all of your leadership
over so many decades. ISD was actually established 40 years ago. I think it maybe the oldest institute within the School of Foreign Service. And it was designed to bring
together the academic richness of the university and the
considerable experience of practitioners here in Washington to get those two worlds together in a way that improved their ability to do their respective work. It was designed via a bridge
between these two cultures which sometimes seem to
be very very far apart, and very much of an active two-way traffic across that bridge. Our focus is on the conduct of diplomacy as the implementer of foreign policy, is if you want the ground game
of international relations and international theory. And the way we do that
is we have the pleasure and honor of welcoming
people like you, Linda, Uzra, and there’s a large crowd
of ISDers out there. Thank you all. The senior practitioners
who come for a year sometimes two years and what they do through their teaching and their mentoring of
Georgetown’s students is help prepare them for
what does it really mean to be a diplomat, to be a practitioner. We have certificates in diplomatic studies that we’ve started. I wanna do a shout out to Zinna who is not just a Rangel
Fellow and going in to the foreign service but one
of our certificate students. We also do student research fellows and two CAPS and some Capstone courses. So, we’re very focus on the statecraft side of it, not tradecraft, but more the statecraft side. And that means trying, working
on the intellectual skills, and to a certain extent
the personal skills that you need to be effective to formulate and implement policy both here in Washington and abroad. A large part of that focus is the ability to think creatively. The ability to think innovatively
and still be pragmatic. To be able to look for possible solutions to what seem to be the
untractable problems . If it was a tractable problem, someone else could have already solved it. And to understand my way of thinking, to understand more the
questions you need to be asking as opposed to trying to
get from your professor what the answer is, it’s the questions that will allow you to dig deeply into the new issues that you’re confronted with, the new technologies
you have to deal with, the new parts of the world
that you could end up there. And whether that’s doing grand strategy or if it’s just a day to day decisions that we deal with. If you know the questions to ask you’re gonna work more comfortably in the complexity and the ambiguity on the white spaces that is diplomacy and so much of our world today. We have to recognize I
think, very importantly that we are at the preparation end of what will be a very
long arc of a career maybe even multiple careers. And we can’t train to current events, we can’t train to current issues. We need to educate to a mindset and intellectual skillset
to be able to go off and deal with issues and problems that we don’t even know the names of. Couple of weeks ago I had lunch with some former students of mine from 10 years past, and they are in careers
that even didn’t exist when they were in school. They are using technology that
didn’t exist 10 years ago. So we need to think long
term, not immediate. We also need to recognize that the shift of careers are gonna change. I mean, just the list
of ambassadorships for, Ambassador Negroponte, you know shows you how much you’re gonna get
bounced to reel the world. I started life working on
Chinese Domestic Politics and ended up working on
the Arabian Peninsula which I couldn’t have
found on a map in school. I learned. So, it’s this ability to think long term, to analyze with good research skills, the ability to write long
form as well as short form, the ability to write,
the ability to write, for effective, if you didn’t get it, I think writing skills are important for a whole variety of audiences, you’d have different
audiences at different times. And then the ability to
express your arguments effectively and cogently. Technology has change
the way we communicate but it hasn’t change the essence
of the need to communicate. And I personally don’t think
it has changed the need for the face to face diplomacy, in fact it may have actually
made it more important. ‘Cause as you mentioned there’s a lot of disinformation out there and the diplomat’s job is
to know the ground truth and be able to convey at
both to the host government or whatever other players and
then also back to Washington. So we need well-grounded, agile diplomats and foreign policy people. I would also make the point that ISD works within this academic community
and we are a complement to our academic scholarly colleagues. We’re not a replacement for them but we take that theory and we help the student translate
it down to some reality. So we’re busy. I do encourage any student
here to please seek us out, to talk about these
issues, we have 15 people, we have Military Officers,
State Department Officers, and part of our job is to deal with you, so thank you for the opportunity for the small public service announcement. – All right,
(panel laughing) thank you Barbara. And I can echo that it really
is an amazing institution and you have a wealth of
individuals and experts, – Yeah.
– so for students, it really is something
to take advantage of while you’re here. – Would the ISDers just raise your hands and former ISDers and Steve Mull is here? Thank you, yay! – So continue on in a conversation I think before we turn to sort
of real world application of why is the world of
a diplomat essential or the question of, is the role of the
diplomat still essential? I’d like to focus a little bit on who are the diplomats, who are we, the make up, the diplomatic
corps when we talk about you know sort of foreign
service and civil service and some of these terms. Linda, you served as Director General of the Foreign Service,
Director of Human Resources, you oversaw an entire bureau, you served as an ambassador so oversaw a sort of
the work in the field. To me the case is clear, right? We literally represent the face of America and America is becoming
more and more diverse. Half of the children under the age of five in this country represent minority groups. Women in minorities are increasingly the percentage of college
and post-graduate degrees in this country, so the case is clear and the talent is there. My question for you is,
is the State Department approaching issues of
diversity and inclusivity in the right way? How do we better prepare
the foreign service to reflect the country and
why is it important at all? – Wow. (laughs) Let me just start by
saying, it’s important. – Yes. – And I have to say, having served in the foreign
service for 36 years, I saw how important it was as I traveled across the globe. It’s the richest element of
American culture, our diversity. And while we are not a homogenous society, we’re unified in our
understanding and our belief, most people, that diversity
and inclusion is important for our foreign policy. And I truly believe
that the foreign service must represent the best face of America wherever we are in the world. So, are we approaching
diversity in the right way at the State Department? I think we are. I think we have made really
extraordinary efforts and I was part of those efforts as Director General and
certainly throughout my career. We have amazing recruitment programs. We go all over the United
States to recruit for diversity. We’re at historical Black
colleges and universities. We’re at traditional Latino
and Hispanic universities. We go to the far reaches of the country to recruit the best and brightest and the most reflective face of America. We have not been totally successful and part of the reason we’ve
not been totally successful is that we start too late
in the recruitment process. I always felt when I was Director General that we needed to start
recruiting in 8th grade. Because young people once
they go in to high school, they start thinking about
what they want to do and what they wanna be. And by the time they are in college, then most of them, or at
least as parents we hope they have decided. So, when we start
recruiting at college level, we’ve already lost most of the people, they’ve already decided that
they are going to be lawyers or doctors or teachers or whatever. And many of them have not
seen the foreign service as a career choice so we need to plant that seed early. And when we plant that seed
early we need to nurture it. So we need to encourage
our foreign service people when they go home to go
and speak at high schools. I always speak at high schools, I still speak at high schools, and when I was Director General,
I spoke at high schools. And I have even met one young person that I spoke to in high school who’s in the foreign service now. – [Bernadette] Great. So you only have to get one. (laughs) So, and then secondly, we
do have amazingly successful diversity recruitment program. Zinna is representative
of the Rangel Program and we have the Pickering Fellowship, and we have recruited
extraordinarily talented and smart young
African-Americans, Latinos, women, people who come from diverse backgrounds into the foreign service. So at that part we’re doing okay. I’m not saying we’re
perfect, we’re doing okay. Where I think we’re failing because diversity is not just recruitment, – [Bernadette] It’s retention. – it’s retention.
– [Bernadette] Yes. And we need to do a better job of retaining the people
that we are bringing into the foreign service. When young people like Zinna look at the top of the foreign service, she wants to be able to see
people who look like her. She wants mentors who
not only look like her but mentors who do not look like her, a reflection of that diversity. So we have to do a better job of retaining and finding out what why
people who leave, leave. – Do you think there’s
been a recognition already that retention is part of the problem and has there been a shift to address that or do you think we are
sort of still at the point where we need people to acknowledge that that is part of the problem? – I think we have
acknowledge it as a problem and there are people who
are trying to address it, but it cannot be a one off. – Mm-hmm – So, we’ll have a program
that talks about mentoring – [Bernadette] Mm-hmm – or program that discusses retention, and then we live it. – [Bernadette] Mm-hmm – It has to be constant, it
has to be in the side key of every single person
in the State Department. It can’t be just the Director General. It can’t be just Senior Officers, it has to be everybody in the department. And it has to be part of a vision that our leadership has, that we push down at every level so that
people do understand that diversity is
important, it’s a strength, it’s a value and it’s
important as a reflection of our foreign policy. – Thank you. I think certainly the tie
to an institution like ISD within Georgetown, if
we could replicate that and have that sort of
model in other schools and high schools and other institutions certainly bringing awareness
to what the foreign service is and encouraging people
to become a part of it. – And I just want, one final point. When you asked why diversity is important, we need to have diverse people in the room when we’re doing negotiations. So if we’re negotiating in
Afghanistan, with the Taliban, we ought to have women in the room – [Barbara] Mm-hmm
– [ Bernadette] Mm-hmm – to bring up the issues
that are relevant to women. (audience applauding) In South Sudan, where rape is being used as a tool of war, it’s rape on the table as an issue to be discussed when we’re negotiating. So we need to have a variety
of people at the table who will bring different
ideas to the discussion so that we can get to a
point where we’re successful in our negotiations and that’s
why diversity is important. – That’s great, that’s a wonderful answer and the passion comes through, and I think it was fantastic. Thank you. I’d like to segue now,
sort of with the background of a little bit of education
and tools and training that we feel is necessary who
we are as a diplomatic corps, just sort of a real world application, I’m gonna turn to a very storied gentlemen in foreign service lore, Former
Deputy Secretary of State, Ambassador Negroponte,
you heard his resume, I can’t even run through all of the titles and the jobs that you’ve had so we’re thrilled to have you with us. And I thought, we could talk about this in a context of China, which is arguably, well certainly one of the
most important relationships that we have bilaterally and arguably one of the
more complex relationships. I would put in another Georgetown plug as I’ve been trying to do all along, but this one has a personal twist. My husband Evan Medeiros
who’s a Georgetown professor teaches on Chinese Foreign Policy so if you’re interested students, you can sign up for his class. (audience laughing) And with that I will turn back
– That’s 2 PSA of the day. – to the topic at hand. (laughs) (audience laughing) In the past, I think the US has tried to find a balance between cooperation and competition with China. We’ve cooperated and had success on issues like climate
change and non-proliferation. We seem to be continually
in a competitive mode on issues like trade, military
presence in East Asia, Maritime issues, Taiwan,
all of these questions. Certainly I think we
are increasingly moving towards more of a competitor
for relationship of late. My question to you is, given sort of the unique
comprehensive complexity of the relationship with China, do you feel that the State Department and the diplomatic corps is prepared to meet the challenge
of engaging with them? Do we have the depth of understanding not just of the Chinese language which I think a lot of times
people use as the marker of whether a diplomat is trained well, he speaks Chinese, well okay
what does that really mean? Do we understand sort of the ideology, their historical lengths
for viewing the world? Do we have the ability
where the inclination to not combat but deal with
their increasing presence in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and leverage it where
it might be appropriate? How do you view how we
have sort of historically as an institution prepared
diplomats for these challenges? – Okay. – That’s a lot. (laughs) – Thank you for the modest question. (audience laughing) But before I try to answer it, let me just thank Georgetown, the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, the School of Foreign Service, for pulling this meeting together and for inviting Secretary Clinton to play such an important
role in our get together. I have a lot of connections
with Georgetown. I taught a course on Science Technology and Foreign Policy when I was, it was a workshop at the
School of Foreign Service when I was Assistant Secretary State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs back in the 1980s. I have a daughter who
graduated from Georgetown and my wife has got a PHD
from the History Department, so we’re– – [Bernadette] part of the family – kind of Georgetown everywhere. I also want to say that, both the Rangel and Pickering Fellows have
been absolutely outstanding in the decade I’ve been out of government. I’ve had the chance to
teach for about 9 years, 7 of them at Yale, 2 at
George Washington University and I’ve always had as it turned out, either Rangel or a Pickering
Fellow as my teaching assistant and they went on to foreign service and some of them have already
had two or three tours. And they loved it and they’ve just been absolutely outstanding, so Linda, I think that’s a program that we just have to
encourage to keep on going. Now, China. I had a little bit the
reverse experience of Barbara. I asked to go to Sub-Saharan Africa, it’s my first assignment
in the foreign service because I spoke French, I spoke quite fluent French in those days. And when they had a, the day where they
announced our assignments, I was told I was going to Hong Kong, (audience laughing) which I thought was a little incongruous but I did it. The foreign service
hall always has its way of trying to prove its point to you that you’re available (laughs) for worldwide service
(audience and guests laughing) and I personally think
that’s a very good principle and I think we should think carefully when we make exceptions to that rule. But China was a totally
different place in those days. It was the Bamboo Curtain, it was hard to figure out
what was going on out there. Movement back and forth
between even Hong Kong and China was very limited. We had no good intelligence. We couldn’t even figure out whether there was a
famine going on in China at that time because you
know in subsequent years we would have flown a satellite around and witness crop failures and so forth. So, our main sources of
intelligence were refugee interviews and we had a big, the basement of the British
American Tobacco building where we’d imported all
the Chinese newspapers from the mainland that
we could get our hands on and we had people translating these papers for whatever tidbits we could pick up about the People’s Republic of China. Well, how times have changed. I think the question you have asked about the importance of China and how well-equipped
we are to deal with it is probably one of the biggest issues facing our diplomacy today. It is, I don’t fear any
contradiction on this, the most important single
bilateral relationship that we have and it needs to be handled with great care and handled by people who have some good sense of
what that country is like and all about. You asked me how well
we’re doing in that area. Frankly, I’m impressed. When I went out to Hong Kong and you know there were people in Taiwan and so forth, then we had relations, we opened relations with China, we had people at the Embassy
who spoke pretty good Chinese. I went as Deputy Secretary
to the Embassy in Beijing and met with all, one of these meetings with all the junior officers,
the first tour officers. I asked, how many of you spoke, how many of you speak Chinese? They all raised their hands. They absolutely, all of them. And a lot of them start learning Chinese even before going to college as many of you know. When I taught at Yale, I think
10% of the entering freshmen would take Chinese as their foreign, to meet their foreign
language requirement. I don’t know if that’s still true. But studying a language is more than just studying a language. I mean anybody who’s study
the foreign language knows you learn a lot about the culture. You learn how people talk about food, you learn (laugh) about how they talk about
different kinds of ideas, and so I would say,
language in area studies remains one of the real coins of the realm as far as being an effective
Foreign Service Officer. I don’t think that that’s changed so much and we’re always appreciative, wherever you go around the world of those officers who’ve taken the trouble to learn the language, learn the culture, know about the area, and
they can actually go out and make more friends
with the United States. I was told the entering
classes of foreign service, if you set a modest goal for yourself, meet one new person from the country you’re assigned to a day, just try and do that. Then by the end of the
year you’ll have met two three hundred people and made some friends for the United States. In the ambassador’s course,
I used to tell them, go visit the people that you want to see. Don’t call them all behind the
– [Barbara] Oh yeah. – big walls that you live behind. And go visit the Bank Heads and the people that run the NGOs, and people 30 years later will be telling their grandchildren that the American Ambassador came to see me and I told him or her this that you know… thanks. So, yeah I think we’re
pretty well-equipped. I think our problems with China are more on the policy front. I think we have without
being too discursive here, I think we’ve got the issue of dealing mentally and politically with the fact that China has become such a powerful and dynamic country and
there’s no turning that back. And if somebody has the idea that, oh an effective policy is gonna be they start taking measures to prevent them from
advancing economically. That’s foolish.
– [Bernadette] Yeah. – But it seems to be if you’re saying the playing field should be equal and we should insist that
they play by certain rules, but if you play by the rules, then as long as you’re willing
to compete fair and square then we’ve got to adapt ourselves to living with that situation. And lastly I would say, if we could bring
ourselves to some kind of adequate modus vivendi with China, I think the opportunities
for collaboration with China are very large indeed and I
think there are global issues on which if we don’t collaborate
with the country like China we will be at odds and
the world will not be able to decide what to do where
as if we work with them that makes the two largest
economies of the world helping move that issue forward and the much greater
chance of other countries falling in line or coming along with us. – I’m heartened by your response
because that sounds like you have a positive outlook, you feel like the State
Department’s well-positioned , Foreign Service Officers
are sort of engaging and going out into the field. Compare.
– We have no choice. It seems, I mean unless
you wanna turn this over to the Pentagon or something,
– No. Okay. Right. (laughs) (audience laughing) – With all due respect. – I’d rather not either. – I’d like to turn now, Uzra, you, as mentioned in
your bio of services are Chargé d’affaires in France, you’ve also had a wealth
of other experience and I’d like to explore
sort of the theme of as around the world but in Europe it seems at the forefront now, people are becoming a
little bit disenchanted with the benefits, or
the so-called benefits of globalization as someone say. Arise in populism, arise in nationalism. There seems to be a trend of governments making foreign policy decisions based perhaps more than, that at certain points in the recent future, on domestic
political considerations. The UK and the EU are
grappling with Brexit. Other countries in Europe including France are dealing with issues of
migration and integration. We see it turning inward. There are also, and I think historically the foreign services has dealt with sort of these allegations that diplomat student, ivory towering, were disconnected from what
the people really think and isn’t it nice to drink
champagne and go to parties. – [Uzra] What poses that? – Right. Yeah, what poses that? My question for you is, how can Americans diplomats approach and solve global problems like migration that are so deeply linked to local domestic politics
and public sentiments? And at the time when
government sometimes really do seem deeply disconnected
from what the public is thinking and feeling,
how can our diplomats more effectively engage with the public and be more connected to the reality of the feeling on the ground? – Great. Okay, well I’m going to give the solution to the migration crisis in 60 seconds. – Great. – Down.
(audience laughing) First I just have to
say, what an honor it is to be present in a room
of so many of my idols in the field of diplomacy. So I’m wondering how I ended up here, maybe it was a random drawing, the letter Z.
(Linda laughing) But I’m honored to have the
chance to share my views. I think on an issue like migration, this really is a case where we need to be able to play that
three-dimensional chess game and not try to reduce it down to a straight line security solution. All of the measures I would propose in three or what I would put forward are within the frame, simply that
the US cannot go with alone. First and foremost, you have
to take on the root causes. And the driving force
behind forced displacement which has hit record levels, 68.5 million innocent people
forcibly displaced in 2017. The driving force is violent conflict. It’s interesting. If you look at the trendlines, 10 years ago, 80% of
humanitarian assistance was going to victims of natural disasters. Now their proportions is flipped. 80% of humanitarian assistance world wide going to victims of violent conflict. And to look at the drivers,
you have to tackle issues like governance, like rule of law, like accountability, and that
brings me to my second point, obviously is diplomats. Government to government
engagement is paramount, it’s the essence of what we do. But we have to go beyond
the quarters of power to engage civil society. And by engaging that means listening, that means empowering, and that means supporting local actors and local solutions on the ground. I can say that anyone of
the leaders in this room has been a part of that. Mike Posner in the Bureau of Democracy Human Rights and Labor, we were proud to pioneer
series of programs to bring together local actors in Syria to reconcile sectarian divides, to work in Central America
towards NGO accountability of past atrocities and
violations of human rights that create justice in
a space for citizens to exercise their rights
and live peacefully. And finally I have to give
credit to Secretary Clinton and I have to say on every visit of yours that I supported, you made time to meet with underrepresented
civil society actors. I saw you do it in Iraq when you convene the group of Iraqi women, victims, no, survivors of conflict and important actors in
the political process and you gave them the chance to explain to the Secretary of State
how they see things. So, I think this can
really occur at all levels. The final point I would make on civil society engagement, I think it’s important
that we get out of the lens of seeing civil society as a recipient of largesse
– [Bernadette] Mm-hmm – and we recognize it as an
equal partner with government. Just one figure I would draw at you all, 2015 the last year documented
private US foundations donated 380 million dollars towards peace and security world wide. So again, there are many
actors in this space – [Linda] Mm-hmm – who share US government
interests and values and I think who are ready to partner if we take the time to engage. The final point I would make
with respect to migration is I think there is an imperative for the United States to
re-engage and lead multilaterally. When you look at the decision to withdraw from the global compact on migration for which the US was
an ideological driver, you have 164 countries who’ve
committed to an outcome which the US did not shape – [Linda] Mm-hmm.
– in it’s final result. And with that, you know, as
we continually ask countries to do more, let’s not
forget 85% of refugees are in developing countries. We cannot roll up our own welcome mat. We have to meet our own treaty obligations and really live up to what I
found to be in my own career the most compelling case
for America, is our story that we are a nation of immigrants. If we don’t live up to
that in our policies, I think the ultimate results is diminished American in flaunts. – Picking up on that
thread and very briefly before we open it up to student questions, you mentioned civil society and sort of in the in for marks we talked about how diplomacy if it ever was is certainly no longer just a purview of governments to governments. I’d be interested briefly
in hearing from any and all of you before we
open it up to the students, what are sort of
non-governmental alliances that the State Department
should be looking at? What is sort of the future of
public private partnerships, working with foundations,
civil society groups, businesses, when you have
companies like Google and Facebook and Apple weighing in on privacy debates in Europe when you have The Washington Post sort of taking a leading role in lecturing us on what are human rights values should be in the relationship with Saudi Arabia? When we look at all these outside actors, how do we engage with
them and bring them in so the State Department
is ahead of the curve and not sort of ceding
the space to outside sort of influencers? And I’d welcome anyone’s
thoughts on that one. It’s a lot I know. – Okay. First of all, I don’t think that diplomacy has ever been just, well
let me back that up. Any diplomat who’s been
all of his or her time only dealing in the ministries wasn’t doing their job. And whether or not we
had big walls or not, your job was to get out of the embassy and out of the ministries. And for those of you in Washington, if you know the effective
embassies here in town, they are the ones that are getting out of just the State Department
and Department of Defense. So our job has always been working with the business community, working with academics,
working with civil society. So it become more diffuse and
we have to work at it harder. But that’s always been
part of a good diplomat and I think this idea of
make a new friend everyday, not just in the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs. One new area that actually
the Institute is looking at, a new player on the scene, is we always thought the
nation’s state was going to be so zoomed by either
multilateral corporations, the Google sort of world, or the super national, the UN, the EEU, these types of organizations and they are definitely power players that we have to deal with. A new actor emerging are cities and states. And if you think about,
California very nicely said, well, you may wanna get out
of the Paris Peace of Corps, but we’re still in it. And given the size and power
that California economy, that’s important. There are major cities that have, are involved in migration issues, involved in technology issues. And so, they’re just starting
to define for themselves what their role is going to
be and how can they play. And the State Department needs
to sort of start thinking about that, too. But I do firmly believe
that the nation’s state and therefore the diplomat is
still going to be the core, ’cause at the end of the day, Google can have an agreement with the EU. But if you’re going to have a treaty, it still has to be a nation state. If you’re gonna have migration, if you’re gonna have climate change. So we need to understand
that these are the barrel of military term for its
multipliers, not competitors for what were trying to do. And that’s gonna go back
to this agility issue, this ability to think not
even three-dimensional chess, five-dimensional chess, and looking at these, to
be honest as a diplomat serving overseas, I love my
friends in the ministries, I truly enjoy the people
outside of ministries. You know– – And I see you nodding Linda that – Yeah
– you agree, I assume with all of these and… – I would just add to that,
again to echo that point, it is so important to
get out and meet people beyond governments. And I was just sitting here thinking about the Young African Leaders Initiative where we have brought over 3,000 Africans from across the continent, from urban areas to rural areas to the United States, giving
them leadership training, and I know that one, two, a
dozen of those young people on this continent where
the median age is 19, that those young people are going to be in leadership roles in the future. And we have to engage them now, we have to nurture them now, we have to treat it
almost like we treat the mentoring in the foreign service. – [Bernadette] Yeah.
– We have to mentor them and prepare them for leadership so that they can bring their countries up to, to the next level and NGOs can help us with that,
we should partner with them to work with youth populations, but we also have to be
part of that process so that when these leaders
step into leadership positions, they are prepared and they
have the best interest of their countries in mind. – Right. Uzra briefly, yeah. – If I could just pick up on one of your points Bernadette earlier about public disaffection,
I saw it first hand in France, in Europe, we
see it in the United States, elsewhere, I think
public-private partnerships really broadening the
definition of who can partner with the United States on equal footing is part of the solution. I think you see that
in the Paris Agreement where the considerable
private sector commitment is right up there with states and cities in terms of being America’s presence now and that process. But also I think that it gives citizens a way to participate and be
a part of those solutions as opposed to being cut
out and not understanding or appreciating the
effort that’s being made. One other point I think
is we need to recognize the closing space
– [Bernadette] Mm-hmm. – for civil society world wide. It’s part of a 13, 14-year
trend in an overall decline in freedom.
– [Bernadette] Mm-hmm. – It means being resolute
also with some of our partners in the need to allow
civil society the space to operate and to accept foreign funding. – With that, I think we sort of touch on a variety of topics and I’d love to open it up to student questions. There is microphones on each side. So, we will start right over here. Please if you could let us know your name, what you’re studying and
then ask your question. – [Falpmann] : Hello, my
name is Falpmann Feder. I’m in the area of studies program and I’m pursuing a certificate
in global human development. I’m sorry it’s not ISD (laughing). I’m from Modesto, California. However, I’m a Yemeni-American and my questions is there has been a lot of discussion about how diplomacy has filled Yemen and so I’m interested to
hear what kind of tools you think are needed to help the State of Yemen right now with the current peace talk or with the current UN-led talks? So, yeah. – Sure. I think Barbara–
– I think that’s my question (audience and panel laughing) – Nice to see you. The only way that we’re going to solve the Yemen tragedy and it is a tragedy of grotesque proportions, is through supporting diplomacy. And I think, you know the steps that have been taking, the UN has been doing just you know an amazing job in bringing
the parties together. And the part of role of the diplomat and it’s quiet, it’s not you know, one of the downsides of diplomacy is that we’re not a
very visible profession and when we are the most effective, we are the least visible. But having diplomats who are working aggressively, assiduously, with the Saudis, with the Emiratis, to the Omanis, with the Kuwaitis, the Jordanians, and then certainly the EU and other parties, to
really push the parties to this step by step process that Griffiths has launched. I’m not sure if I would say
that diplomacy has failed, I would prefer to think that diplomacy just has not yet succeeded. Because the other side of that is that there isn’t a military solution. And the diplomat is there
before the military shows up and the diplomat is there
after the military leaves. And we’re open there on the
ground quietly in between. This is also a case to kind of go back to some of our other partners on how we we further our interest is by supporting NGOs and
civil society in Yemen, we’ve both financially and politically. We have been able to blunt
some of what is going on there by making sure that food is there, we’re working with congress
on trying to roll back or that we’re clearly
define and examine our role in supporting some of these. So the diplomats are there very quietly across the board. This is a UN-led issue, we’ve effort at this point and it should be. But it also is taking diplomats of Arab State, European States,
and the United States to push it forward. We’ll get there. – All right, thank you.
– [Falpmann] – Thank you. – Let’s go over to this side please. – [Tipa] Hi, thank you so much for today and my name is Tipa. I’m a graduate student from Center of Latin American Studies. And I’m from Thailand. And my question is about public diplomacy. So, I would like to hear from you what do you think the role or
the impact of public diplomacy we can use in both countries that have kind of misperception or
misunderstanding to us and also in the country
that do not know us enough? Thank you. – Public diplomacy. – Well, has anyone else
like to take it and… – Further that…you’re a…
– I’m happy to a… So I was a Public Diplomacy
Officer (laughing) (audience and panel laughing) It’s a great question, I have often felt that in
recent years I think people are elevating the role of public diplomacy. I think historically
at state it was sort of the political officers
and the econ officers, those are like the sexy jobs, and you’re grouch in the
ministry in doing the marshes. And it was like oh public diplomacy, what is that all about. You’re just kind of
like talking to people. I think it’s one of
the most important jobs that we have at the State Department. I think when we’re talking about the role of the essential diplomat,
all of these points that John and others have
made about getting out into the public, meeting people, explaining what we are all about, to Linda’s point of
just the representation of who are diplomats are alone is part of public diplomacy. I think that it requires
getting out into the field. I think we need to do a better job of explaining our policies, explaining how they’re
relevant to the lives of everyday people that we meet, and not just directed at
messaging towards governments. Because in my experience,
the success or a failure, or failure of a policy
is not just dictated by how good the policy is, but it’s how well you can
mark it and sell the idea and gain the support of the constituencies that you’re appealing to. And I think historically we have not done a great job of that. We focus on the
governments and not sort of getting popular support, and
this was part of the question that you know that Uzra was addressing, we sometimes seem so
disconnected from what the public is actually thinking and feeling that I think we get in
our own way a little bit. So, I don’t know if that
fully answer the question and I’m happy for others
to weigh in also but… – Just one sentence.
– Yeah. – If you can’t explain a policy, – Mm-hmm. – it’s probably not a good policy. – Yeah absolutely.
– Yeah. – Yeah, it’s absolutely right.
(audience laughing) (audience applauding) Please. – [Rebecca] Thank you panelists for your comments this afternoon. My name is Rebecca Martin, I’m a graduate student in
the German and European Studies Program here at SFS. And I wanna take advantage of having so many
distinguished women on stage to ask a question about
women in the policy (panelists laughing)
I apologize. Your thoughts are welcome
as well. (laughing) (audience laughing and applauding) But my questions is, as a female diplomat, what are
the challenges or obstacles you felt you faced that were nicked to you being a female in the
role as a US Diplomat either professionally or personally and what other some strategies
or solutions you developed to overcome that, that this
next generation of leaders and diplomats can learn from. Thank you. – How much time do we have? (audience and panelists laughing) – Please. – I’ll start. Oh you want it
– Okay. – Go.
– You’re so downplay. – I think everyone just has to speak from their own experience. I worked as a political reporting officer largely in the Middle East, and we think with your stereotypes that as a woman, as a woman of color, I would have been at a
disadvantage in that role. I would say quite the contrary. In my own case, personally, I had access to all sides of society. – [Barbara] Yeah. – The very male, but not
entirely male dominated power structures and
countries that where I worked, Oman, Syria, Egypt, welcomed me as an official representative of the US and didn’t question my
credibility based on my gender. But I also had an access to the women of all these countries
which I think gave me that 360 perspective that Barbara and Ambassador Negroponte
have elaborated on so well. – I’m just gonna jump in, so what I want to elaborate on that point and then we can move you know, ’cause I also served
primarily in the Middle East, started in Asia but
primarily in the Middle East, and served in Baghdad
twice Kuwait and Yemen. And I agree entirely with Uzra that I did not find it a disadvantage and in fact in many ways,
I found it an advantage. My access in the government and all the non-governmental sectors
that we talked about, it was not a problem. And then I also had the 360. So, I think one thing and
I would actually say this to anybody going into diplomacy. If you wanna be taken seriously, do your job seriously. Know your stuff. And if you are credible and you’re serious and you are doing your job, what your gender is or what your color is or what your background is, disappears. They’re interested in
do you know your stuff, and that’s the most important thing. – And I always felt that
I was the representative of the US Government and I think
– [Bernadette] Yeah. – that’s what people saw
when I walked into the room. – [Bernadette] Mm-hmm. And occasionally you would have a person who might look down on you or may question your abilities because you’re a woman or in some cases because I
was an African-American, I’d never own that.
– [Barbara] Yeah. – I made sure that I owned who I was and I owned my presence
– [Bernadette] Mm-hmm. – and my presence was the representative of the US Government.
[Barbara] – Yeah. So I didn’t really feel
that I was disadvantaged overseas as a woman, I probably felt more disadvantages inside the State Department. – Right. – I will–
– on that point – Yeah, please. – I would echo Linda’s comment. (audience and Linda laughing) – I think (laughing) I think you can learn from
negative experiences though in terms of the kind
of mentor you wanna be. I first experienced that difference internally from the State Department when I chose to have a baby. – [Bernadette] This is what I was gonna– – And the six weeks that
I took off was questioned by my supervisor as excessive. And I learned from that experience that I would model my own
leadership very differently. And I think everyone is leaders, we really have an imperative to give that next generation
the support they needed. It is not easy single or married, taking a family through
the foreign service nomadic life of moving
every two to three years. So.
– Yeah, it’s interesting ’cause I approached the
question in the same way where for me it was sort
of, I’m a new mother, I have a nine month old at home and I’m no longer in the foreign service, but I think it’s an issue that women grapple with everywhere. So when I heard the
question it was sort of less of how did others approach me and it was how does my own institution handled me being a woman who when I entered I was single. I had aspirations of meeting a partner and having a family life. That’s tough enough in
the foreign service. And then you meet someone
and that person has a career and dreams and goals of his or her own, and then you bring up a baby into it. And as a woman it’s difficult. You feel like you’re face with choices that perhaps your male
counterparts don’t have to make. And it’s the question of,
I think I will be so bold just to say broader than
the State Department and just how in the US, we
approach the importance of family and the role of women in the workplace and how we can be more supportive not just in the diversity of our talent but in recognizing that
families and working women are part of that diversity, and we need to be much more
supportive as a society if we wanna succeed. – Yeah. And I want to put some Yeah, I agree. (audience and panel applauding) I wanna put some context on this, it’s that having come in
to the foreign service practically with Thomas Jefferson. (audience and panel laughing) That the fact that the conversation is how can I be married and have a child and still have my career was not even an issue before. It used to be that first of all if you got married, you had to quit. – [Bernadette] Right. – That was it. And more in some ways,
almost more importantly when I came in to the foreign service, women were not allowed to have Russian, Chinese, Arabic, Japanese
language training. And you couldn’t go to basically post that didn’t speak French or Spanish. Those two, that language and
that assignment’s limitations severely limited your career trajectory. It’s a little bit like being in the army and not knowing how to carry a gun. You had no status. And it was in the ’70s that these changes in first language training and
assignments around the world and then also a decision that
you could actually be married and keep your job really
changed the whole structure, the whole environment
within which women were able to have careers. They simply couldn’t have them before. And I think that it’s important to note that the State Department is never we were never finished, but we have made such
considerable strives, the fact that you have
four women on this panel and you’re gonna have four
women on the next panel, we had, I had two women in my
foreign service entering class and so, and by the time I
was Ambassador in Yemen, again we weren’t supposed to have Arabic, we weren’t supposed to
go to difficult post. My embassy, I’m a woman, my Deputy, my Political
Officer, my Economic Officer, my Vice Counsel, my
Deputy Systems Manager, and the Deputy Commander of
my Marine Security Guards were all women. And all of them but the marine
had Arabic language training. So the world changes. – Yes, I think we’ll go to this side. – [Jonah] Thank you so
much for being here. My name is Jonah. I’m a Law student, I’m
doing International Law. I also applied to the
Arab Studies School here. And I have a question, something that Ambassador
Thomas-Greenfield had really stuck out to me about, getting to kids and
leaders when they’re young and making sure that they’re motivated to go on this course
and pursue the languages and cultures that would make them into an effective diplomat. I kinda thought about my own experience where I went home and I told my parents that I wanted to be a diplomat and they have really didn’t
know what that meant. If I went home and I told
them I want to be a doctor or a lawyer, they would have understood but I said something similar
to my guidance counselor and my school administrators and they again, didn’t
really know what to tell me. So, do you think that it’s there is something else
that needs to happen besides getting to the kids early and making sure that their parents know that this is not only an achievable dream but this is a, important and increasingly essential need in our society today. Is there something to do additionally besides getting to the kids get the word? – You know that this
– [Jonah] To? – This is an issue that we
have all been grappling with in the State Department, how do we get our story
out to everyday Americans, how do we develop a
constituency among people outside the belt way. And part of that again is having people in the foreign service, we have a program called Hometown Diplomats,
where people go back home and talk about the foreign service and talk about what we do to people who wouldn’t
ordinarily hear that. My family didn’t know what I was doing until I became an Ambassador. (audience and panel laughing) – [Barbara] Mine still has no clue. – And most people thought when I said I was in the foreign service, that I was in the military service, and they would ask me what
branch of the service. And that still happens today and it was happening 36 years ago. So we have to do a
better job of getting out to communities and talking
about the foreign service. I spent probably 30% of my time going across the US speaking. And it’s not easy because
you’re going to far flung places and you’re not being
paid and half the time I’m using my own money, but I think it’s important
to let Americans know that we’re out there so
that they can thank us for their service as well,
for our services as well, because diplomats get
killed in the line of duty. – [Barbara] Oh yeah. – Diplomats sacrificed so much and the everyday American
does not realize that. They don’t realize what
we are doing for them and as I used to hear Wendy
Sherman say all the time in her speeches that people
like we, thank our military for their services, we
need to thank diplomats for their service and people
don’t know to thank us because they don’t know who we are. – Yeah.
– That’s right. (audience applauding). – Thank you for the question. – So, I think on that note,
it is time for us to wrap. I would like to close
just by thanking everybody on the stage for joining us. To all of the students in the audience, three of the people on this
stage you have access to here on the Georgetown Campus, so take advantage of it. I’ve already filled up
Jeff’s schedule for the year but I suggest it you meet with him. (Barbara mumbles) – Exactly. Please take advantage and know that if you
join the foreign service you are joining an incredible family that is in fact essential, that is values-based and may
you all have the good fortune to work for a secretary
like Secretary Clinton and her team because it
really has been a privilege for all of us who have done so. And we’re very grateful. So, thank you so much for joining us. (audience applauding)

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