Skip to main content

F702 Fall 2018 Diplomacy at Risk

Course number : F702 Fall 2018   
« back to classes page
F702 Fall 2018 Diplomacy at Risk
Mondays, 2:15–3:40, Sept. 17–Nov. 12 
No class Oct. 8 & Oct. 29
Seven sessions
Church of the Good Shepherd
Coordinator: Kathleen Burns

By definition, diplomacy is the “profession, activity or skill of managing international relations, typically by a country’s representatives abroad.” It is also described as “the art of dealing with people in a sensitive and effective way.” Its practice is characterized by skills including tact, statesmanship, finesse, politeness, discretion, and the ability to negotiate, among others. The role of the US Foreign Service corps of career officials around the world is to help carry out this mission, preventing wars, dealing with international crises, and protecting Americans abroad and at home. But since the White House transition of power occurred in January 2017, this goal has been put at risk. As of April 2018, over 45 of 188 ambassadorial posts remained vacant, including in hot spots like South Korea, Syria, and Venezuela, and strategic posts like Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the European Union. In the past year, 60 percent of the top-ranking diplomats left the State Department. And more budget cuts and slashing of staff could be in the future. Join us as we discuss this perilous situation. We will also show some vignettes from a new seven-part TV series developed by retired foreign service officers entitled “Diplomacy at Risk.” Speakers will include those who have served as ambassadors, deputy chiefs of mission and other consular career officers, military, business officials, and foreign policy experts. Join us for this in-depth course as we explore issues such as national security, jobs and business, refugees and human rights, energy and environment, and cyberwarfare in today’s rapidly changing world.
Kathleen Burns, a longtime OLLI instructor, was the 2016-17 president of the DC Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. She was a foreign correspondent in Australia and has taught in seven universities, both in the United States and overseas.

9/17 Introduction to the Course and “Diplomacy at Risk” video series, Ambassador Edward Marks, “Has Diplomacy Become Militarized?” Dr. Anthony Quainton
Dr. Anthony Quainton is the Diplomat in Residence in the School of International Studies at American University and a professor of US Foreign Policy. He has previously served in the US Foreign Service and held ambassadorships to the Central African Republic, Nicaragua, Kuwait and Peru.  He holds degrees from Oxford University, Princeton University and La Roche College, Pittsburg, PA.  Dr. Quainton is the recipient of the State Department’s Distinguished Honor Award, and winner of the Presidential Meritorious Service Award (twice).
9/24 “Cultural Heritage Protection and Its Role in US National Security and Diplomacy”  Michael B. Toth     
The destruction and sale of cultural heritage objects from around the world, but in the Middle East in particular, have led to increased focus on this important illicit activity as part of US foreign policy.  Diplomatic and national security activities are increasingly aimed at thwarting illegal trade and destruction of the patrimony of communities around the world.  This enhances the goals of cutting off revenue streams for US adversaries and enhancing US cultural ties abroad.
Michael B. Toth, President of R.B. Toth Associates, supports the studies of cultural heritage objects and their digitization for global access.  Michael leads teams helping museums, libraries and other institutions make more historic data freely available.  His work has taken him them from the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore to Harvard, the Sinai Desert, the Vatican and Paris. His work on the one text led a reporter on the public radio program Marketplace to note “If you were to go looking for a real-life, present-day Indiana Jones, you might get someone like Michael Toth.” 
10/1 “Sounding the Alarm at the State Department with Cuts in with Funding, Personnel, Direction” Virginia L. Bennett                                                    
A career Foreign Service Officer, Ms. Bennett served in US Embassies in Bogota, Colombia; Tokyo, Japan; and Manilla in the Philippines. She also worked in New York City at the US mission to the United Nations, in the Department of State Operations Center, and in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs.  From 2009 to 2011, she was Deputy Executive Secretary of the State Department and from 2007 to 2009, she was Chief of Staff to Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte. She also held appointments as the Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Athens, Greece, and as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor and then became the acting Assistant Secretary of State for that division.  She holds degrees from Wellesley College and from Cornell University
She will speak about the complimentary role American Foreign Service Association (AFSA)plays in conjunction with the State Department.
Founded in 1924, the organization has more than 16, 500 members serving in US embassies and consulates throughout the world.  In the words of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the Foreign Service is described as “one of the most skilled, loyal and motivated workforces of any organization on the planet.  Our foreign affairs and development professionals are among the most dedicate of our public servants, on the front lines of safeguarding our nation’s security.”
10/15 The United Nations in Peacekeeping: A Difficult Role with Global Challenges, Jacques Paul Klein, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations (Ret.)
In his remarks, Jacques Paul Klein will give an overview on the UN Security Council structure, how it operates, how it gets involved in peacekeeping operations and use of the missions as an example. He is a lecturer, writer and consultant on foreign affairs. From 2005 to 2006, he was the Frederick Schultz Visiting Lecturer in International Affairs and Visiting Professor of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School.  From 2003 until 2005, he served as the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Representative and Coordinator of United Nations Operations in Liberia with the rank of Under- Secretary- General. He previously served as Special Representative and Coordinator of United Nations Operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina; Principal Deputy High Representative in the Office of the High Representative in Sarajevo; and United Nations Transitional Administrator for Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium in Croatia.
Ambassador Klein was a career member of the Senior Foreign Service of the United States with the rank of Minister Counselor.  He served seven diplomatic postings abroad and three tours in the Department of State.  He is also a retired Major General of the United States Air Force.
He received his Undergraduate and Graduate Degrees in History from Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois, and has done Post-Graduate work in International Politics at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. In recognition of his service to peace, he was awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Law by Elmhurst (IL) College, the Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa, by Roosevelt University, and an Honorary Doctorate, Honoris Causa, from Josip Juraj Strossmayer University in Croatia. In 2010, he was awarded the International Marcel Rudloff Prize at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, for “service de la defense de l’esprit de tolerance.”  In 2011, he received the Distinguished Leadership Award by the Evandeoski Teoloski Fakultat in Osijek, Croatia, for “being a transformational leader who demonstrated clarity of vision, moral conviction and the political will while championing human rights in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzeg
10/22 “The Voice of America: The Overseas Communications Channel for US Diplomacy” Margaret  Kennedy
Begun in 1942, VOA ‘s goal was “to tell the truth, whether it be good or bad for American interests,” during World War II.  Its news and feature programs are prepared for radio, web and video production in Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, in more than 40 languages. Its staff of more than a thousand people reaches over 230 million people each week.  Most Americans were unaware of VOA’s existence until a few years ago, since the agency was forbidden by law to disseminate its scripts or advertise its existence to American audiences.
10/29 “The Military Liaison Component in US Embassies” Army Col. Terry Anderson                                       
Currently an associate professor at the National War College, which is part of the National Defense University in Washington, DC, Army Col. Terry Anderson was formerly designated a Foreign Area Officer and served as regional director for the European Command.  He served tours at various US Embassies including Kosovo, Slovakia, Tunisia and Berlin as well as combat tours in Panama, Korea, Kuwait, Iraq, Uganda and the Balkans.  He is a graduate of Old Dominion University and earned Master’s degrees from the University of Kansas and the US Army War College.  In his OLLI presentation, he will talk about the interactions with the Ambassador as well as officials from the State Department, the Department of Defense and the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Marine Security Guard and special detachments.
Remaining talk on Nov. 5 or Nov. 12


Class Details

7 Sessions
Weekly - Mon

Church of the Good Shepherd

Kathleen Burns 

Class Fee: 


Schedule Information

Skip dates: (No class on 10/08/2018, 10/29/2018)

Date(s) Class Days Times Location Instructor(s)
9/17/2018 - 11/12/2018 Weekly - Mon 2:15 PM - 3:40 PM Burke, Church of the Good Shepherd  Map, Room: Parish Hall Kathleen Burns 

  OLLI on Facebook          OLLI on You Tube