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Back Issues of PDAA Today

Back issues of PDAA Today, PDAA’s quarterly print newsletter are now online and available for download.

Linda Jewell – an Appreciation

Linda Jewell

Jazz Piano Christmas, an annual popular feature in the Kennedy Center’s jazz concert series, won’t be the same this year.

One of the last conversations I had with Linda confirmed that come December 7, as in years gone by, we’d again go to the Christmas program together. She wanted to know if, while she was buying tickets for herself and husband John Walsh, I had any recommendations for other, later concerts. I said we liked a French group, the Django Festival Allstars, and we left it at that for the time being, pending arrangements for a pre-concert dinner we’d enjoyed together before.

Linda died Monday morning in Washington Hospital Center at the age of 66, a week after returning from France when the cancer she had been fighting since May flared up again, obviously metastatic. She had never been sick before and her only hospitalizations had been for the birth of their two children, now adults. On one of those occasions in Washington, with her parents not yet arrived from Little Rock, Linda, with a new baby, asked Pat Chatten to ferry her home from the hospital with the new addition. Later, she had been the one to sit with me while surgeons were attending Pat. When I was diagnosed with prostate cancer but had to wait two months to schedule surgery at Johns Hopkins, it seemed logical to change that depressing subject and wait it out with old friends in Costa Rica, where she was DCM/Chargé d’Affaires.

We met in the spring of 1983 when I fell ill on a Senior Seminar trip to Mexico and the ten USIS American staffers in Mexico City, including economics program officer Linda and press officer John, visited me in the hospital, for an eccentric introduction to the guy assigned to become their PAO that summer. It was Linda’s second overseas tour, after Indonesia, and John’s third, and we got to know each other quickly and well. It was soon apparent that Linda was a star, bringing just the right Mexican government and academic leaders together with just the right American visitors, combining work ethic, program sensitivities, and the personal touch necessary to access Mexican personalities and sensitivities.

On the personal front, our music tastes meshed, spending time with a contact of mine, host of a popular pop and jazz radio program.

As the years passed, we stayed close, and though often worlds apart physically, we found ways to intersect. Pat and I landed on Linda and John in India, where they organized the most memorable of trips, east in the Himalayas to once-independent Sikkim and west to stay in former Maharajah palaces in Jodhpur, Jaipur, and Udaipur, places either they had been (west) or were forbidden as diplomats to visit (east). Linda followed me as USIA Latin America Area Director, three times removed, and I tracked down a half dozen former Area Directors for a dinner/reception at our house to celebrate her new job. Come the 1999 demise of USIA, she was integrated into State’s ARA Bureau, ultimately as a Deputy Assistant Secretary and then as Ambassador to Ecuador, where I had served my first PAO assignment. On a visit to them there, she delighted some of my former contacts with invitations to The Residence, one of whom ran a popular radio station and had been jailed for his irreverent attitude toward the government. I had sent him north on an international visitor grant and bought 50 copies of his book on the U.S., USA Mas o Menos.

One of my post-USIA gigs took me as a USAID contractor to wintery Moldova in the former USSR and its early efforts to privatize its economy. Coming down from those adventures, I headed for home via Warsaw on Air Moldova for R and R with Linda and John, where he was “culture” in the USIS shop and she was “information” and part time acting PAO in the Baltics. On a day when weather closed every airport in Europe, Air Moldova pilots either didn’t get the word or took it as a challenge to their masculinity. I was not surprised to find Linda and John at the airport to welcome me.

Two stories illuminate for me the Linda I knew and loved:

  • As a Foreign Service Officer with public diplomacy in her genes, the Ambassador to Quito tasked every member of her country team to have regular personal interaction with their Ecuadoran contacts. And in what became an important way in which she was known both personally and professionally, Ecuadorans saw her as the first American Ambassador in memory to visit every province in the country.
  • And in retirement, she volunteered to advise undocumented immigrants on where to find help for their predicaments because, “I didn’t want to just stay mad all the time.”

Robert Chatten
November 20, 2019

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Linda Jewell — Additional Appreciations

by Greta Morris

I first met Linda Jewel and her husband, John Walsh, in 1978 in Jakarta, Indonesia. They were on their first Foreign Service tour with the U.S. Information Service. I was in Jakarta as a Foreign Service spouse. Linda and John and my late husband and I became friends and shared some fascinating excursions to different parts of Indonesia. I learned from John and Linda about the work of USIS and the challenges and rewards of being a “tandem couple.” I was searching for a purpose and a career, and it sounded like exactly the kind of work I would be interested in. I took the Foreign Service exam and in 1980, I entered the Foreign Service—the U.S. International Communication Agency, as USIA was called at that time. John and Linda and my husband and I never served together again, but we saw each other between postings and on Washington assignments. In 1992, when my husband died suddenly, Linda and John became my support network. They invited me over for dinner on a regular basis. We were all in language study that year: Linda and John in Polish and I in Thai. Linda called me on a weekly basis to see how I was doing and share stories of the challenges of learning a “hard language.” I looked forward to those calls: they provided a lifeline.

As a fellow woman FSO, Linda was my role model. She was smart, dedicated to her career, and worked hard, but she always had time for other people. After we both retired in 2008, we served together in PDAA and PDC.

After Linda’s diagnosis with cancer, we stayed in touch. I was fortunate to see her a few times between her treatments and family get-togethers and travel. The last time I saw her was right before she and John took a trip to France and Belgium. I had just returned from France and shared tips about hotels, restaurants, museums, and other attractions in Honfleur, where I had spent a week. I was delighted to receive a couple of e-mails from Linda during their trip; she seemed to be having a wonderful time. It was such a shock, and a great sadness, to learn of her passing shortly after her return to Washington. I will greatly miss her friendship, her dedication to public service and the highest American values, and her joie de vivre.


Ambassador Morris and other members of the PDAA Board of Directors.

Ambassador Greta Morris was previously President of PDAA.

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Our People and Our Values Are the Core of U.S. International Leadership: Statement by PDAA and PDC Boards of Directors

October 31, 2019

As Board members of the Public Diplomacy Council and the Public Diplomacy Association of America, non-partisan organizations of professionals committed to U.S. global leadership, we support all public servants who work every day to advance our national interests. We call on Americans to reject efforts to demean the integrity, lives, and careers of our professionals and join together behind the democratic values that have earned our country admiration around the world.

Throughout our careers, we have seen first-hand the advances and partnerships that generations of dedicated public servants have won for our country. Like the military, State Department career professionals leave our politics at home. As public diplomacy professionals, we have dedicated our careers and our honor to explaining, advocating and advancing U.S. foreign policy and strengthening international dialogue for understanding.

The people representing U.S. interests and telling America’s story to the world are truthful and patriotic advocates for the policies set forth by our elected leaders, consistent with our democratic values and the rule of law — and sometimes do so at great risk. When career professionals have concerns about official policy or practice, there are long-standing and legally-protected channels to express them. We support the use of those channels, as is happening now, as fully legitimate and in the best interests of our national security.

As Americans work to rebuild our national consensus, it will be important to remember that our country is always on stage, a global power whose actions and values animate discussions everywhere. With the power of our armed forces well established, we must move quickly to reiterate the connection between our foreign policy and our values – providing the world with regular, clear articulation of our vision and goals. Most important of all, we must continue to engage the American people, source of our greatest strength.

The world can be a dangerous place, yet America’s commitment to democratic principles, open dialogue, and truth wins us global respect – even from our adversaries.

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The Public Diplomacy Council is a U.S.-based nonprofit organization committed to the academic study, professional practice, and responsible advocacy of public diplomacy. Contact: publicdiplomacycouncil@gmail.com.

Public Diplomacy Association of America is a not-for-profit, voluntary association for public diplomacy professionals, with some 400 members. PDAA members have worked in or with the information, education, and cultural programs, which the U.S. Government incorporates into the conduct of its diplomacy abroad. Contact: Admin@publicdiplomacy.org.

PDAA Board of Directors 2019-20

PDAA Board of Directors, from left: Judy Baroody, Joel Fischman (Vice President), Mary Jeffers (Treasurer), Cynthia Efird (President Emerita), Greta Morris (President Emerita), Tom Miller, Janice Brambilla (President), Domenick DiPasquale, Bill Wanlund (Secretary), Michael Korff (Editor). Absent: Jarek Anders, Pat Kushlis, Joan Mower, Claude Porsella. (Photo: Alan Kotok)

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The State of State: Issues Facing the Foreign Service Today

You are invited to join the next First Monday lunch forum on December 2, The State of State: Issues Facing the Foreign Service Today, featuring Ambassador Eric Rubin, President of the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA).

AFSA President Eric Rubin

The forum starts at 12:00 pm and takes place at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs, 1957 E Street NW, room 602. The program is free and includes lunch, but those planning to attend should register here.

The program is presented by the Public Diplomacy Association of America, the USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership and Policy, and the Public Diplomacy Council.

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Reorganizing the State Department’s Public Diplomacy Operations:  An Update

Two top State Department officials will discuss the Trump Administration’s reorganization of the Public Diplomacy offices at the PDAA luncheon, Monday, Nov. 18, 2019, at the DACOR-Bacon House.

Nicole Chulick, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Global Public Affairs, and Jennifer Hall Godfrey, Chief of Staff for the Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, will outline the goals, challenges, and impact of the reorganization, the first major overhaul of the PD sector since USIA was dissolved in October 1999.

Chulick and Godfrey are both Foreign Service officers.

Chulick previously served as Principal Deputy Coordinator for the Bureau of International Information Programs. She was also acting director of Press and Public Diplomacy in the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs. She has served in Sri Lanka, Nepal, Hong Kong, and Nicaragua. Before joining the Foreign Service, Chulick was the spokesperson for the U.S. Border Patrol. She holds an M.A. from Georgetown University.

Godfrey has served in numerous public diplomacy positions, including as PAO in Saudi Arabia 2015-2018. She has worked in Jordan, Turkmenistan, Libya, and Austria. In Washington, she was the acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Media Engagement at the Bureau of Public Affairs. Godfrey graduated from Brandeis University and holds an M.A. from the National War College.

The discussion will take place on Mon., Nov. 18, from 12:00 to 2:00, at DACOR Bacon House, 1801 F St. NW. To register, please complete the form on page 7 of the newsletter or register on-line using the drop-down menu below. Deadline is Nov. 14.¤


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Nov. 4 First Monday Program: Using Cultural Diplomacy to Celebrate the 200th Anniversary of Stamford Raffles’s Arrival in Singapore

Please join us on Mon., Nov. 4, for the First Monday luncheon program focusing on Using Cultural Diplomacy to Celebrate the 200th Anniversary of Stamford Raffles’s Arrival in Singapore featuring Ashok Kumar Mirpuri, Singapore Ambasasador.

First Monday Forums are a joint project of the Public Diplomacy Association of America, the USC Center on Communication Leadership and Policy, and the Pubic Diplomacy Council. The Forums are held at George Washington University’s Elliott School Lindner Family Common, 1957 E Street, NW, 6th floor, starting at 12 noon. Sandwiches and refreshments are served. Attendance is free with an RSVP at firstmondayforum.rsvp@gmail.com​.

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