Diplomatic Pouch / February 4, 2016
By Larry Luxner
Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service (SFS) has received a nearly $840,000 grant from New York-based Carnegie Corp. to fund the school’s 97-year-old mission to connect academia and the global policy world.
Two institutions within SFS will share the grant, “From Scholar’s Theory to Practitioner’s Work, and Back” — the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy (ISD) and the Mortara Center for International Studies. The goal: to help Georgetown expand the understanding and application of diplomacy as a critical tool of national policy.
“Our initial mission was to bridge the gap between academic theory and the world of the practitioner,” said ISD Director Barbara K. Bodine, a former U.S. ambassador to Yemen. “Part of that is educating the next generation of diplomats and policymakers, and one of the core tools to do that is by bringing forward the lessons, experiences and realities of how diplomacy has been done.”
Bodine told the Diplomatic Pouch that Carnegie’s two-year grant will allow ISD to update the online library of 230 case studies it’s maintained since the early 1990s.
“There’s a certain amount of on-the-job training that goes with diplomacy,” she said. “The idea is to capture the experience and expertise of senior practitioners who are involved in critical issues, and put them into a format that is accessible to instructors and students well outside the Beltway, and overseas.”
These case studies include, for example, a paper on the Balkans by Ivo Daalder, president of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and former U.S. permanent representative to NATO, and another on Somalia by Ryan Crocker, former U.S. envoy to Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan.
“We would also be very interested in case studies written by non-Americans,” Bodine told us. “We are literally building a library, not by buying books but by creating knowledge. It’s a way of being able to capture what works, what didn’t work, how do you do it and who does it, in a way that’s academically rigorous but very professionally relevant.”
Bodine, who’s headed ISD for the last 18 months, spent 30 years in the U.S. Foreign Service, including a stint as Washington’s envoy to Yemen from 1997 to 2001.
She also served as deputy principal officer in Baghdad during the Iran-Iraq War, in Kuwait as deputy chief of mission during the Iraqi invasion of 1990-91, and again in Iraq in 2003 as the senior State Department official and the first coalition coordinator for reconstruction in Baghdad and the central governorates.
Before joining Georgetown’s SFS, Bodine taught and directed policy task forces and workshops on U.S. diplomacy in the Persian Gulf region —including Iraq and Yemen — for seven years at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.
“In the last year we’ve certainly seen the power and importance of diplomacy. If we’re going to move this forward, we must have a body of knowledge that can be shared,” she said, adding that “it’s one thing to have me or some other senior diplomat teaching classes, and that’s wonderful. But if you’re in California or Idaho or Wyoming, you don’t have the kind of access to real practitioners that students have here.”
In addition to the case studies, the Carnegie grant will fund a series of scholar-practitioner working groups hosted by ISD that will make viable recommendations to policymakers, as well as the creation of a Mortara Center post-doctoral fellows program to fund junior scholars who will explore global challenges and communicate their findings to the broader public.
“The idea is to bring back academics and people from think tanks who look not just at the most immediate issues but those looming over the horizon that we really need to focus on and try to get ahead of, so we’re not just reacting to the most recent crisis but we’re able to anticipate them,” Bodine said.
Finally, the grant will enhance the popular Monkey Cage blog published by the Washington Post and co-edited by Georgetown professor Erik Voeten. It’ll also support the online journal Research & Politics, a new academic journal which publishes short articles freely accessible to anyone with an Internet connection.
“Georgetown University and the School of Foreign Service have as part of their very DNA the mission to connect the best scholarship with the practicalities of the modern world,” SFS Dean Joel Hellman said in a press statement. “We are uniquely positioned, and located, to continue to play this role. The Carnegie grant will allow both ISD and the Mortara Center to expand their work on campus and their outreach to a broader community of students, academics and practitioners.”