Back Issues of PDAA Today

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Today’s Washington Post carries the sad news of the passing of one of our country’s foremost cultural diplomats: Yale Richmond.

Yale’s geographic area specialization was Russia and Central Europe. When he began working in the region, Russia was still the Soviet Union and the US referred to anything east of the Soviet Union as Eastern Europe. This deeply offended the Poles, for example, who pointed out that Warsaw was to be found some to 1000 miles west of Moscow,  just about mid-way between Moscow and Paris. The Poles would point out that they were central Europeans whose culture came from the west not from the influences of the barbarism found along their eastern border.

Yale quickly recognized that the Russian people and people of other ethnic origins living in the Soviet Union, and across central Europe, harbored no natural anti-American instincts and that they were highly receptive to opportunities that might allow them to learn English and perhaps even to visit or to study in our country. And Yale saw that the Communist governments of the Soviet Union and of at least some Central European countries (Poland, Romania, and Yugoslavia) were willing, if not anxious, to work on expanding educational and cultural relations with our country.

So both on assignments in the field in Moscow and Warsaw and while serving in Washington supervising educational and cultural operations in this region, he began to gather U.S. Government resources for such efforts.

Yale worked tirelessly to educate younger staff, such as myself, on the diplomacy needed for such activities: language ability and a thorough knowledge of the history of these countries. We were exhausted after his intense visits to us in the field. He was indefatigable.

But perhaps the highest tribute that has been paid to Yale has come about most recently and in an very perverse manner: while Soviet leadership was anxious to support educational and cultural exchanges because it believed that this demonstrated that it considered such activity part of how civilized nations carried on relations with one another, the Putin regime has now shut down all such activities, declaring that young people who participate in such programs are brainwashed while they are in the U.S. and return enemies of Russia. The Soviets had the self-confidence to believe that their system could compete successfully with the outside world. Putin has no such confidence.

Yale was right. He supported language teaching and other efforts to expand academic and cultural contacts because he understood how deeply corrosive they were to totalitarian regimes. And now the Putin regime certainly recognizes this.

Perhaps no other person contributed more over a lifetime to helping Americans to understand the world beyond our borders and those beyond our borders to understand us.

We mourn the passing of our one of our country’s foremost cultural diplomats. But he leaves a superb road map for how we will need to rebuild our international relations in the future.

Ambassador Robert R. Gosende

Writer and Foreign Service Officer Yale Wolf Richmond, 96, a retired Foreign Service Officer who wrote books on intercultural communication, died of natural causes on March 22 in Chevy Chase, Maryland. He lived in the Washington area since 1963.

Mr. Richmond served in Germany, Laos, Poland, Austria, and the Soviet Union. For his service in Laos, he received the U.S. Information Agency’s Meritorious Service Award. At retirement in 1980, he was a Deputy Assistant Director (Europe) of the U.S. Information Agency. After retirement, he was a Staff Consultant to the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe and the U.S. Congress, and a Senior Program Officer at the National Endowment for Democracy.

A specialist in educational and cultural exchanges with the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, he established the Fulbright program in Poland in 1959 and negotiated fourteen intergovernmental agreements with the Soviet Union and the countries of Eastern Europe on exchanges in education, culture, science, and technology. For his work in Poland, he was awarded the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland.

After a 30-year career as a cultural officer helping people of other countries to understand America and its people, Mr. Richmond in his retirement wrote 11 books to help Americans going abroad to work or study to better understand the culture and people of other countries. He was the author of From Nyet to Da: Understanding the New Russia; From Da to Yes: Understanding the East Europeans; U.S.-Soviet Cultural Exchanges: Who Wins?; Cultural Exchange and the Cold War: Raising the Iron Curtain, a study of how exchanges helped to end the Cold War; Practicing Public Diplomacy: A Cold War Odyssey; and with his wife Phyllis Gestrin, Into Africa: A Guide to Sub-Saharan Culture and Diversity. Several of his books have been published in Chinese and Korean language editions, and his Understanding the Russians has been published in four editions and sold more than 35,000 copies.

Born in Boston, he was graduated from Boston College in 1943 at age 19, served in the army 1943-46, and received degrees in electrical engineering from Syracuse University (1947) and in history from Columbia University (1957). He was a member of the American Foreign Service Association, the Public Diplomacy Association of America, and the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies ASEEES His marriage to Pamela Cheatham Richmond ended in divorce. Survivors include his wife, Phyllis Gestrin, of Chevy Chase, MD; one child, Hania, of Naperville, IL, and one grandchild, Pierre David Hanlet. Memorial service will be held at a later date. Memorial service will be held at a later date.

Published in The Washington Post on Mar. 29, 2020


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Statement on response to COVID-19

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Given the need for diligence in the face of the COVID-19 threat, and in consultation with our USC partner, we are postponing our April 6 First Monday Forum. During this time, when it is vital to observe social distancing guidelines, we are exploring the feasibility of online events and will continue to provide you with Weekly Updates and News and Notes. We encourage everyone to engage virtually, to the extent you can, and invite you to spend some time exploring, our joint website.

Sherry Mueller, President, PDC
Joel Fischman, President, PDAA

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April 20 Program to Focus on Covering Foreign Affairs in a Changing World

Well known journalists Paul Richter and Karen Tumulty will speak at the April 20, 2020, PDAA lunch on the topic of Covering Foreign Affairs in a Changing World.

The Ambassadors

Paul Richter is one of two speakers at the April 20 PDAA luncheon.

Richter, who is also the author of a new book, The Ambassadors: America’s Diplomats on the Front Lines, most recently covered the State Department and foreign policy for the Los Angeles Times. He previously covered the Pentagon, the White House, and the New York financial institutions. A native of Minneapolis, he graduated from Clark University.

Photo of Karen Tumulty

Washington Post political columnist Karen Tumulty

Tumulty is a political columnist for The Washington Post. She previously worked for the Los Angeles Times and Time Magazine. She has received numerous awards for her Congressional and diplomatic coverage and is a frequent guest on national television. She is a native Texan who graduated from the University of Texas and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Richter and Tumulty are married.

The discussion will take place on Mon., Apr. 20, 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 Apr. 16



Select appropriate price from the drop-down menu

Optional: The PDAA Awards Program is one of our most important activities. To make a voluntary contribution:

Contribution amount

2020 Dues are now payable. Click here to pay online or to download the mail-in form.


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POSTPONED: Public Diplomacy & COVID-19 Focus of April “First Monday”

This program has been postponed.

With concerns about the spread of COVID-19 rising rapidly, we have changed the order of First Monday programs. The April 6 First Monday will feature a panel on Public Diplomacy and COVID-19.
Speakers at the panel will include Kia Henry and Mike Zeltakalns; PDAA Vice President Joan Mower will moderate.

Henry is the OES PD officer for Covid-19 and other health issues. Zeltakalns is director of Crisis Response at the State Department.

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First Monday Program to Focus on Presenting Public Diplomacy at the National Museum of American Diplomacy

May’s First Monday program on May 4 will feature a panel discussion on the projected presentation of public diplomacy at the National Museum of American Diplomacy (NMAD). The program will take place at the museum, 330 21st Street NW, Washington, DC 20006, beginning at noon.

A panel discussion will feature Deputy Director of Museum Content Jane Carpenter-Rock–a Public Diplomacy Officer–and the Museum content team.

Jane Carpenter-Rock, Ph.D.

Jane Carpenter-Rock, Ph.D.
Deputy Director, NMAD

Jane Carpenter-Rock joined the NMAD as Deputy Director for Museum Content in July 2018. She has served as a Foreign Service Officer at the U.S. Department of State for over eighteen years. Prior to joining NMAD, she was Deputy Director in the Office of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs in the Bureau of African Affairs. From 2013 to 2016, she was the Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Cape Town. Other tours have included Deputy Director in the Office of Public Diplomacy for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs; Senior Australia Desk Officer; Information Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Bogotá; Watch Officer in the State Department’s Operations Center; and Consular Officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Johannesburg. Before joining the State Department, Jane held several pre-doctoral fellowships in Art History, including the Sara Roby Fellowship in 20th-Century American Realism at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. She is the author of the book Betye Saar in the David C. Driskell Series of African American Art (Pomegranate, 2003). Jane has a B.A. from the College of William and Mary (1992), an M.A. from Howard University (1995), and a Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Michigan (2002).

Participants are urged to arrive early in order to go through security and to pick up a sandwich. Although participation is free, registration is requested.

First Monday programs are presented by the USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership and Policy, the Public Diplomacy Association of America, and the Public Diplomacy Council.

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Annual Awards Brunch Set for May 3: Leadership and Results This Year’s Focus

PDAA’s annual awards brunch, an occasion to celebrate excellence and innovation in public diplomacy while enjoying fine cuisine and the company of friends, is scheduled for Sun., May 3, at Washington’s Army and Navy Club at noon.

Natella Svistunova, Public Affairs Officer, Embassy Belmopan, accompanied by Jon Piechowski, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, receives award at 2019 awards brunch from PDAA President Cynthia Efird for combating gender-based violence in Belize.

The brunch, a PDAA tradition since 1993, is a chance to recognize and reward inspired projects with measurable results carried out to advance the goals of building understanding of our nation’s policies, society, and values. For nearly three decades, PDAA has sought nominations of professionals working for the USG and non-governmental organizations, of Foreign and Civil Service officers, Locally Employed staffers, and those working for American Spaces, Fulbright programs, and EducationUSA who have made notable strides in public diplomacy.
The 23rd annual PDAA Awards for Achievement in Public Diplomacy will honor those who demonstrated leadership and evidence of effectiveness in creative use of exchange programs as well as traditional, social, and digital media, particularly in challenging environments. For a list of previous winners, please see
The menu includes:
- Seasonal Fresh Fruit & Berries
- Assorted Breakfast Breads, Muffins, and Croissants
- Whipped Honey Butter, Fruit Preserves
- House-Cured Smoked Salmon
- Assorted Bagels, Herbed Cream Cheese
- Bacon and Sausage links
- Breakfast Potatoes
- Seasonal Vegetables
- Eggs Benedict
- Pecan Crusted Trout with Butternut
- Squash Risotto & Maple Butter
Assorted Juice Carafes
Regular and Decaf Coffee, Fine Teas, Standard accompaniments
Mimosa Pitcher

Tickets for the brunch remain at $45 per person. The Army and Navy Club is located at 901 17th St. NW. Street parking is available and should not be a challenge on a Sunday, and the Club is a block away from the Farragut North and Farragut West Metro stations.

To register, please complete the form on page 7 of the March newsletter or register on-line using the button below. The deadline for purchasing tickets is Fri., April 24. Early reservations are advised in order to ensure seats.

PDAA relies on contributions from its budget and donations from PDAA members to fund this prestigious award. If you wish to contribute to the award fund, please complete the form on page seven of the March PDAA News or contribute online here.


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