February 13 PDAA Program Examines Diplomacy in Space Exploration

International Space Station crew members

Crew members from U.S., Russia, and Japan aboard the International Space Station, December 2015. (

(14 January 2017) From John Glenn to Elon Musk, Americans who dare to go to space have inspired Americans from the first days of the space program.   Through State, the U.S. has been a leader at the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) and other international fora on space and earth sciences.

Our program on Monday, February 13 will explore diplomacy’s role in the incredible accomplishments of last 50 years in space exploration and stewardship of our planet through the earth sciences.  We will hear from three top experts in the field of space diplomacy about how space activities have bolstered diplomacy and how diplomacy has bolstered the cooperation.

Kent Bress

Kent Bress (NASA)

The public’s interest in space and space exploration rarely flags, bolstered by the inspiring work of NASA and its formidable public affairs operations.  In cooperation with USAID, NASA’s satellite data has been used to track elephant populations in Botswana and floods in Bangladesh.  Kent Bress is the director of the Aeronautics and Cross Agency Support Division in the Office of International and Interagency Relations (OIIR) at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC.

In his current position he oversees NASA’s collaboration with Europe and Canada, and supervises the negotiation of international agreements in the areas of aeronautics, space technology, education and public outreach.  From 1997 until 1999 he was NASA’s representative in Moscow, Russia.

Ken Hodgkins

Ken Hodgkins (Dept of State)

The Office of Space and Advanced Technology (OES/SAT) ensures that U.S. space policies and multilateral science activities support U.S. foreign policy objectives and enhance space and technological competitiveness.  The United States, its allies and its adversaries around the world have established the goal of peaceful uses of outer space, and cooperate intensively to build and maintain the International Space Station.

The Outer Space Treaty, signed by 105 countries, establishes the mechanics for this cooperation.   Ken Hodgkins is the Director for the Office of Space and Advanced Technology in the Bureau of Oceans, Environment and Science.  Mr. Hodgkins serves as the U.S. representative to COPUOS. He has been the State representative for major Presidential policy reviews on remote sensing, the Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) system, orbital debris, and the use of space nuclear power sources.

Bill Parker

Bill Parker (courtesy, Bill Parker)

Founded in 1983, the Space Foundation is the foremost advocate for all sectors of space, and is a global, nonprofit leader in space awareness activities, educational programs and major industry events, including the annual Space Symposium, in support of its mission “to advance space-related endeavors to inspire, enable and propel humanity.”   As a non-profit foundation, the Foundation amplifies these efforts through research, outreach and support of educational and cultural programs throughout the US.

Bill Parker, a retired FSO after 31 years, with multiple postings for USIA and State, is a Special Advisor for International Affairs to the Space Foundation.  He has trained Foreign Affairs Officers at FSI and the National Security Space Institute at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. Parker tells about his work with the Space Foundation in a recent essay on

The PDAA program takes place Monday, February 13, 2017 at the DACOR-Bacon House, 1801 F St NW, Washington, DC.  The deadline for reservations is Thursday, February 9.  The cost is $35 for PDAA members and the guests, $42.00 for non-members.  You can reserve online by clicking on the Add to Cart button below.

Select appropriate price from the drop-down menu

Would you rather reserve through the mail? Download, complete, and mail this brief form and return it with your check to PDAA’s treasurer. Make checks payable to PDAA.  Treasurer Jim Bullock receives checks at 319 E. Street SE, Washington, DC 20003.

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New Book on Nontraditional PD Launched at January Forum

Book cover art

(Public Diplomacy Council)

(24 December 2016) The next Monday lunch forum program will examine Nontraditional U.S. Public Diplomacy: Past, Present, and Future, a new book published by Public Diplomacy Council. The event takes place on Monday, 9 January 2017 at American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) in Washington, D.C.

According to its publisher, the book showcases key innovations and lessons in U.S. diplomacy since World War I. It delivers to practitioners, analysts, students, and others compelling engagement strategies and primary research for shaping and communicating policy among increasingly diverse, collaborative, and powerful publics. Eleven authors representing a variety of public diplomacy specialties, geographies, and sectors offer timely insights for new and seasoned readers of global relations.

A panel of public diplomacy practitioners and observers will discuss the book’s historical and forward-leaning insights for the new and continuing actors in U.S. diplomacy’s expanding public dimension:

Dr. Rob Albro, Vice President of Public Diplomacy Council, and contributing author to Nontraditional U.S. Public Diplomacy: Past, Present, and Future

Ambassador Cynthia Efird, retired Foreign Service Officer, former Ambassador to the Republic of Angola, and current president of PDAA – an association of public diplomacy professionals

Dr. Debbie Trent, public diplomacy and international development analyst, and editor of Nontraditional U.S. Public Diplomacy: Past, Present, and Future

Dan Whitman, Moderator and assistant professor of foreign policy at the Washington Semester Program, with the School of Professional and Extended Studies at American University

Monday forums are a joint project of the USC Center on Public Diplomacy, USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership and Policy, and Public Diplomacy Council. The event takes place on Monday, 9 January 2017, and begins at 12:00 pm at AFSA headquarters, 2101 E Street NW, Washington DC (Foggy Bottom metro). Sandwiches and refreshments will be served.

The event is free, but advance registrations by e-mail are required:

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ADST Seeking to Hire a Writer/Researcher for Special Project


(17 December 2016) The Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training is seeking to hire a writer to create an e-book in commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of the founding of the Foreign Service Institute.  The project would begin upon hiring and must be completed and approved by March 3, 2017.

FSI will be commemorating the 70th anniversary of its founding throughout 2017. While almost everyone at the State Department has had some experience with FSI, many do not know the rich history that lies behind Arlington Hall (currently the National Foreign Affairs Training Center) or the many bureaucratic and political struggles its supporters overcame to create it.

To help address this, ADST wants to hire a writer to research its extensive oral history collection to find excerpts from past FSI directors and FSOs who have been students there to get their impressions of the events that helped shape FSI over the decades. Possible subjects could include FSI during the McCarthy era, the modernization of the language program and the creation of the Arlington campus, as well as anecdotes, both insightful and amusing, about studying at FSI.

The writer would work closely with the Stephen Low Library to research the history of Arlington Hall and its role in World War II, the Korean War, and its transfer to the Department in the 1980s. All of this information would be put in an e-book, to cover both the history of Arlington Hall and of FSI, which would be made available free of charge to all State Department and FSI employees.

The writer would receive a small stipend, to be paid upon the successful completion of the project.

If you would like to apply for this position, please contact Judith Baroody at, providing a cover letter, C.V., and writing sample. Deadline for applying is December 31, 2016.

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DACOR-Bacon House Ramp Campaign

DACOR-Bacon House

(DACOR-Bacon House)

(17 December 2016)

Dear Fellow Members of PDAA:

All the greetings of this season! I hope that you are your families are celebrating fully its joys and hope for the future.

I hope you will consider one additional task at this busy time.  Those of you who attended the great luncheon program on November 14th — more on that subject in the next newsletter — will remember that I announced that DACOR has decided to embark on a necessary project that will benefit members of PDAA and other foreign affairs organizations that meet in the historic DACOR-Bacon House.

They have committed to construct a wheelchair ramp along F Street that will ensure that our colleagues with permanent or temporary disabilities can enjoy and take advantage of the facilities as much as the rest of our members. This ramp will be both ADA-compliant and in keeping with the historic nature of the House, approved by the various DC boards in charge of historic preservation and fine arts. DACOR has requested sister organizations to contribute to the cost of this project which, because of the historic and ADA considerations, is estimated at $130,000.

The PDAA Board has decided to encourage individual members to contribute to this worthy project. I hope that you will consider doing so in order that PDAA’s name can be listed on the plaque that will mounted next to the ramp. You can donate online at If you write a check, please make it out to the “DACOR Bacon House Foundation,”  at 1801 F St., NW, Washington, DC 20006, so that you get tax credit for this contribution to a 501 (c) 3 organization. On the memo line of your check, please write: “Ramp: PDAA,” so that PDAA gets credit as well. We are grateful for the comfortable venue for our luncheon meetings.  Making the facility accessible will certainly facilitate our programs.

Cynthia Efird
President PDAA

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PDAA Members to Tour, Discuss Afghan Art Exhibit

Afghan artisan

(Arthur M. Sackler Gallery)

(Updated 17 January 2017) The program is now completed.

PDAA is taking reservations for a program at the Turquoise Mountain: Artists Transforming Afghanistan exhibit at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington, D.C. on January 17 at 2:15 pm. The exhibit, which closes January 29, 2017 features Afghan woodworking, carpets, jewelry, and calligraphy, complemented by videos and photographs.  Exhibition director Thomas Wide has agreed to discuss with PDAA members how this project transformed a district of old Kabul from a ruined section of the city into a bustling and vibrant cultural and economic center, a model of cultural heritage preservation.

Following the Turquoise Mountain program, FSO David Mees has agreed to lead a talk about the relationship between the Smithsonian and State Department and his role as the current State Department officer on detail at the Smithsonian.  David, a public diplomacy officer with previous assignments in India, Italy, Jordan, Iceland, Pakistan, Tanzania, and the former Yugoslavia, has served as Senior International Advisor since 2015.  This session will take place in room 3035 in the Ripley Center, on the same level as the Turquoise Mountain exhibit, starting about 3:15 pm.

The Turquoise Mountain tour is limited to 40 participants; if you want to attend, please provide your name and email address to  You may also sign up one guest; please provide the name and email address for the guest as well.  We will take RSVPs in the order in which they arrive.

The follow-on program with David Mees is in an auditorium that seats 50; no reservation is necessary but indications of interest are welcome. The following video tells more about the exhibit.

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Where America’s International Students Come From

(28 November 2016) The number of international students attending American universities has been rising steadily. Just under 975,000 international students were enrolled in U.S. universities last year and that number has now increased to 1,043,839. That upward trend is important as foreign students contribute billions to the U.S. economy. China supplies the most international students to U.S. universities (328,547), followed by India (165,918), and Saudi Arabia (61,287).

The following chart shows the number of foreign students at U.S. colleges by nationality in 2015-2016.

Infographic: Where America's International Students Come From | Statista
You will find more statistics at Statista

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