PublicDiplomacy.org subscriptions

Back Issues of PDAA Today

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

Three members recall their time in Afghanistan

Three Public Diplomacy practitioners recall their Afghanistan experiences in the latest issues of PDAA Today, the newsletter of the Public Diplomacy Association of America. The full contents of the newsletter are available only to paid members, but we are publishing the three recollections on our website.

Bruce K. Byers: Afghanistan 1978-79: A Fateful Year in Kabul

Adolph “Spike” Dubs

Six weeks before my family and I flew to Kabul, there was a coup d’état that ousted Afghan president Mohammad Daud Khan and saw the rise of the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan under Mohammad Taraki and Hafizullah Amin with Kremlin backing.

In Kabul I dealt with Afghan radio and TV, the Kabul New Times, and vetted American journalists seeking interviews with Afghan foreign ministry and other officials and requests for interviews with Ambassador Adolph “Spike” Dubs, newly assigned to our embassy after serving as Chargé in Moscow. Dubs was a Soviet expert, spoke Russian, and knew Kremlin politics well. His appointment to Kabul in the wake of the ouster and execution of Daud must have given Kremlin leaders pause.

Continue reading here.

 

Donald M. Bishop: Looking Back at the “Year of Decision” in Kabul

PAO Don Bishop in Bamiyan, at the location where the Taliban destroyed the Buddhist statues.

Before I left Washington for Kabul, Richard Holbrooke told me that 2009-10 must be the “year of decision,” so Public Diplomacy would receive $72 million for FY-10 and more than $100 million in FY-11. This money surge was staggering, but a surge of people was promised too. Within a few months, David Ensor arrived as “Uber.” He was an excellent choice.

Very junior PDO’s worked crushing hours to send more and more Afghan Fulbrighters, IVs, and other exchange program participants to the U.S. Two successive English language fellows spun up a huge program. More Lincoln Learning Centers in key cities and universities were established. Cultural heritage programs grew. ECA well supported these traditional PD programs.

Continue reading here.

 

 

Patricia McArdle: Extracting Farhad

With Farhad the day I bought a burkha in Mazar-e-Sharif’s central market.

America’s longest war is now officially over, but efforts to extract Afghans who worked for the U.S. continue. My former interpreter, Farhad, was recruited by the U.S. Army in 2003. He continued working for American and NATO forces until 2009, when he was hired by our Embassy as LLC Mazar director–a position he held until he and his family fled before the Taliban takeover in August 2021.

When the evacuations from Kabul airport began, I sought help from the State Department to get Farhad and his family out of Afghanistan. Although my efforts failed, this story has a happy ending.

Continue reading here.

 


To join the Public Diplomacy Association of America, click here.

 

Please share PublicDiplomacy.org ...

Fulbright At 75 – Future Challenges and Opportunities

The Public Diplomacy Association of America celebrated the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Fulbright Program at a luncheon discussion on September 13, 2021. Five speakers presented their experiences with America’s premier academic exchange program. Video of the program is available here.

  • LAURA HOCHLA – Is director for European Affairs at the NSC and was a Fulbright US Student program participant in Granada Spain. A mid-career Foreign Service Officer, Ms. Hochla was  Deputy Director, Office of Caucasus Affairs and Regional Conflicts (2020-2021) in the EUR Bureau at State, Deputy Economic Counselor, U.S. Embassy Madrid, Spain (2017-2020), Internal Political Chief, U.S. Embassy Tbilisi, Georgia (2014-2017), Economic Officer, Office of Russian Affairs, Washington, DC (2011-2013), Vice Consul, U.S. Embassy Bogota, Colombia, (2009-2011), Assistant Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Embassy Pristina, Kosovo (2006-2008). Laura is a Harvard University Graduate School of Education alum and earned her undergraduate degree from Wellesley College.
  • PHILMON HAILE — Before joining the Foreign Service, Philmon Haile worked in humanitarian assistance, development, and international education. A resettled refugee from Eretria, he grew up in Seattle, WA. Philmon participated in the OWN – One World Now program that led to his studying in China for a year. Philmon and his family’s experience building a new home in the United States instilled in him a deep desire to be of service and a profound reverence for education. He believes international education and people-to-people exchange are powerful tools that allow citizen diplomats to serve as cultural ambassadors, build empathy, and develop competencies critical for a global marketplace. Philmon attended Washington University for his BA degree and completed his MPA at Princeton University and is honored to represent his country as a Public Diplomacy Foreign Service Officer. Philmon was a 2014 Fulbright participant in the  U.S. student program to Jordan, and a Rangel Fellow.
  • KELLY MCCRAY – Is the Southern Caribbean Desk Officer in the WHA Bureau, and was recently a watch officer in the Executive Secretariat. She Was a 2009 English Teaching Assistant in Thailand and was a 2014 Rangel Fellow. Her first overseas posting was as cultural affairs officer in Guangzhou, China. Ms McCray was a public diplomacy student at Syracuse University, earning an MS in public relations from the Newhouse School and an MA in international relations  from the Maxwell School. She is a proud graduate of Howard University.
  • COLLEEN O’CONNOR – Is Manager for Curriculum Development @ 2U, a leading company that works with colleges and universities to bring courses to students through telecoms. Previously she worked in China- related programs with  CET Academic Programs, National Geographic, Wild China, and Radio Free Asia.  Colleen was a graduate researcher under Fulbright auspices in Yunan Province, and is one of a group of Fulbright alumni actively seeking restoration of the program in the PRC. Colleen graduated from the University of Pittsburgh.
  • KELLEY WHITSON – is serving in the AF Bureau Office of Economic Affairs as Gender, Entrepreneurship and Health Officer.  Previously she served in  Copenhagen, Denmark. Her first tour was as a Vice Consul in the U.S. Consulate General in Monterrey, Mexico. She was a 2012 Rangel Fellow. After the Rangel Summer Enrichment Program, she worked for the Department of Transportation and became a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Terengganu, Malaysia. She received her MA in 2012 from American University and a BA from Spelman College in 2009.

Former PDAA President Michael Schneider introduced the subject:

What role should the Fulbright Program play in fostering human rights and social justice?

The internationally esteemed Fulbright Program turns 75 in fraught times; humankind around the world faces a number of critical global challenges.

We’re all aware of these challenges:

  • accelerating climate change,
  • a global pandemic for which most nations were unprepared, revealing terribly inadequate medical and public health facilities
  • Varied internal and international threats to civil society, stability and democratic governance
  • The declining space for democracy and civil society arising from corrupt and authoritarian regimes … and the dangers posed by dis- and misinformation
  • And so many other conflicts and concerns such as human and narcotics trafficking, the rising gap between rich and poor, etc.

Sadly one of the “legacies of the past” even in these “modern” times are ongoing injustices around the world related to race, caste, religion, gender and identity. The world urgently needs to understand that disenfranchised individuals and groups are disproportionally the losers in the ongoing contest for goods and benefits, services and influence.

The absence of fundamental rights and equal opportunities makes less certain changes conducive to enhanced human security within and among nations.

And without vibrant civil society and enhanced human security sustainable progress is impeded in the promotion of sustainable national and international security.

This point of view is not just a set of reformist values; the 1948 UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (https://www.un.org/en/about-us/universal-declaration-of-human-rights) – converted good intentions into international law.

For 75 years, the Fulbright quest for a better world has contributed to mutual understanding so necessary for cooperation.

In an increasingly complex world, how can the Fulbright program contribute to more concerted progress in meeting challenges related to race, religion, gender and identity and the underlying values of social justice and fair play?

How have Fulbrighters been affected by contemporary issues and what steps would they prescribe for future programs? To what extent are there non-traditional options for future programs that merit consideration? Are there opportunities that the U.S. should seek to expand or re-open Fulbright programs? What would Fulbright alumni recommend for the program’s future?

These questions were addressed by the panelists and by the participants in the discussion, held at DACOR/BaconHouse.

Please share PublicDiplomacy.org ...

Fulbright at 75: What role should the Fulbright Program play in fostering human rights and social justice?

As it turns 75, the internationally esteemed Fulbright Program faces a number of critical global challenges including those related to human security. Among the issues are accelerating climate change, unprepared public health systems, threats to civil society and democratic governance by corrupt and authoritarian regimes, communication technologies that mislead as well as clarify.

Underlying these challenges and intensified by them are ongoing injustices around the world related to race, caste, religion, gender and identity. Disenfranchised individuals and groups are disproportionally the losers in the contest for goods and benefits, services and influence.  Lasting solutions to major contemporary issues are unlikely in the absence of fundamental rights and equal opportunities.

How can the Fulbright program contribute to greater understanding and more concerted progress in meeting challenges related to race, religion, gender and identity?  How have Fulbrighters been affected by these issues and what steps would they prescribe for future programs? To what extent are there non-traditional options for future programs that merit consideration? Are  there opportunities that the U.S. should seek to expand or re-open Fulbright programs? What other concerns do Fulbright alumni and those of us who have administered Fulbright exchanges have about the program’s future?

At our first post-pandemic in-person event, PDAA will host a panel discussion on the future of Fulbright at 75. Panelists with experience as prior Fulbright grantees will discuss their experience as grantees and share their views on the future of the program.

The discussion will take place on Mon., Sep. 13, from 12:00 to 2:00, at DACOR Bacon House, 1801 F St., NW, with check-in beginning at 11:30. To register, please complete the form on page 7 of the newsletter or register on-line using the drop-down menu below. Deadline is Sep. 3. The cost is $35 for PDAA members and their guests and for PDC members; the cost is $42 for non-members.

The event will also be broadcast live and gratis over Zoom and recorded for later viewing. To register for the Zoom experience, please email here.

Select appropriate price from the drop-down menu



Please share PublicDiplomacy.org ...

Statement on Afghanistan

The Public Diplomacy Council and the Public Diplomacy Association of America are non-partisan, non-profit organizations committed to promoting the professional practice, academic study, and advocacy for public diplomacy in U.S. foreign policy. Many of our members have devoted years to work in and with Afghanistan and are saddened by the chaos that has enveloped that country.

Moving forward, we offer the following recommendations to our leaders and institutions:

Press: We urge that the U.S. and international media and their Afghan staff seeking assistance be included among those protected and evacuated from Afghanistan. For those remaining in Afghanistan, we urge that the State Department provide support for respected international NGOs that advocate for press freedom and journalist protections, such as the Committee to Protect Journalists and the International Federation of Journalists.
Education: We urge that the United States provide protections for the evacuation and support for Afghan scholars and educators seeking refuge through respected independent organizations such as the Institute of International Education’s Scholar Rescue Fund. Higher education institutions operating in Afghanistan, including the American University of Afghanistan, if permitted to continue operation without interference are deserving of
continued support.
Cultural Heritage: We urge the State Department Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs take emergency action to close U.S. borders to illegal imports of Afghan antiquities as authorized by the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act. The Bureau should also engage reputable international partners to assist in the protection of Afghanistan’s threatened cultural heritage from destruction or looting for overseas trafficking.
Diplomacy: The President has underscored the importance of our diplomacy in going forward, both in our relationship with Afghanistan and in our broader counter terrorism efforts. We strongly recommend that when the current emergency mission is substantially complete, the United States return to our Embassy in Kabul as conditions permit. This will require leadership and bipartisan support, but we have confidence in the bravery and abilities of our diplomats. The closing of our Embassy would pose grave challenges for urgently needed U.S. engagement, communication and intelligence operations. Our competitors and adversaries are not leaving the field.
State Department Messaging: Our Department spokespersons and Embassies must emphasize our commitment to supporting the desire for everyone in Afghanistan for safety, for our gratitude and efforts to assist evacuating nationals of our Coalition and NATO partners who have supported the United States the past two decades and the NGOs who have assisted our efforts. We also have a responsibility to assure the safety of our locally
employed staff.
Counter Terrorism Engagement: Public affairs messaging must underscore the President’s repeated desire to work with like-minded nations in continuing counter terrorism efforts. Many of our partners in the Gulf region and beyond are watching our words and deeds with important future stakes at risk. We will need to work beyond governments to vigorously engage public and private partners resisting the empowered advocates of Taliban ideology.

Please share PublicDiplomacy.org ...

Fulbright at 75: Recollections from our members

Public Diplomacy Officers, previously in the United States Information Agency and since 1999 in the U.S. Department of State, administer America’s premier academic exchange program, the Fulbright Program. Overseas, Public Diplomacy sections and bi-national commissions help recruit and administer the exchanges. We asked some of the members of the Public Diplomacy Association of America to recall their experiences with Fulbright. As you will see, some of them were themselves “Fulbrighters” before joining the Foreign Service. Here are some of their recollections.


Memories of J. William Fulbright

By Dr. Sherry Mueller

Editor’s Note: Dr. Sherry Mueller was recognized as a member of the 1946 Society at the 2019 Fulbright Association Conference held in Crystal City October 24-26. The 1946 Society is named after the year when the scholarship program was established following legislation introduced by Senator J. W. Fulbright. At the ceremony recognizing her, Dr. Mueller recalled her memories of Sen. Fulbright.

It is a privilege to have this opportunity to share my recollections of Senator Fulbright. He and the values he embodied, and so articulately embraced, are certainly the reasons I joined the 1946 Society and support the impressive work of the Fulbright Association.

In the early 1980s, I was working for the Institute of International Education. My staff and I were asked to design and implement the first Fulbright Enrichment Seminar for 180 Fulbright graduate students from around the world. Working closely with USIA, we orchestrated a three-day seminar in Washington, DC. The highlight of the seminar (and others that followed) was the Friday luncheon where Senator Fulbright spoke and interacted with each student. That was the beginning of my friendship with him and his second wife, Harriet, that lasted until he passed away in 1995. However, my admiration for him and his impact on my long career implementing exchanges endures to this day. As I teach Cultural Diplomacy at the AU School of International Service, I try to make sure my students appreciate his profound wisdom and enduring legacy. I just visited with Harriet last Saturday and convey her warm greetings to you all. As you may know, she is moving to Chapel Hill, NC, to be closer to one of her daughters.

Once, I asked Senator Fulbright what he considered his greatest accomplishment in addition to the Fulbright Program. He responded by explaining how he was one of the only American leaders who would hang out with the Soviets when they were in Washington, DC. Once he accompanied Foreign Minister Gromyko to a performance of the Bolshoi Ballet at Constitution Hall. He told me that he was embarrassed that the stage was too small and concluded that the Nation’s Capital needed a proper center for the performing arts. He and others worked to establish one, but it was only after President Kennedy was assassinated that they could muster the necessary support in Congress for the Center for the Performing Arts – by naming it after President Kennedy.

In 2012, the President of Friendship Force International invited me to give the keynote address at their World Conference in Hiroshima. The theme was “Peace Through Friendship” – a challenging topic for an American to tackle in the city that was once decimated by our atomic bomb. As I prepared my speech, I remembered that Senator Fulbright had received the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a foreigner – The Order of the Rising Sun. So after talking about the wonderful long-lasting results of the Japanese gift of 3000 cherry trees to the United States 100 years earlier in 1912, I invoked the Senator by noting that I was fortunate to become friends with him and that he founded America’s flagship scholarship program in 1946 because he believed we must do everything possible to prevent the horrors of World War II from recurring. I reminded the primarily Japanese audience that one of the many honors he received was “The Order of the Rising Sun” and quoted this passage in his book The Price of Empire:

“The only thing that gives me hope is . . . the belief that international relations can be improved, and the danger of war significantly reduced, by producing generations of leaders . . . who through the experience of educational exchange will have acquired some feeling and understanding of other people’s cultures . . . . It is possible that people can find in themselves, through intercultural education, the ways and means of living together in peace.”

That is the reason I joined the 1946 Society. It gives me hope in these turbulent times. My thanks to each of you for your pivotal role in preserving and extending the legacy of Senator Fulbright.¤


Sherry Mueller is President of the Public Diplomacy Council and a member of the Board of Directors of PDAA. The sketch of Sen. Fulbright that accompanies this article was presented to Dr. Mueller by a South African participant in one of the Fulbright Enrichment Seminars she helped organize.



Fulbright in Spain

by Mark L. Asquino

Mark Asquino (1975) while a Fulbrighter and on a hike in the mountains surrounding Oviedo, Spain.

In September 1975, I travelled to Spain on a Fulbright fellowship to teach American literature and history at the University of Oviedo in the northwest region of Asturias. At the time, I was close to finishing a Ph.D. in American Studies at Brown. Little did I know that the Fulbright fellowship would lead directly to my entering the Foreign Service.

These were the fraught, final months of the Franco regime, and when I arrived in Oviedo, the city still had battle scars from the 1936-38 Spanish Civil War. As the Fulbright lecturer, I taught two American literature courses and one on American history. It struck me that whether I was explaining the democratic values that sparked the American Revolution or discussing American Transcendentalism, much of what I had to say was at odds with the Fascist orthodoxy of Franco’s Spain. This was very gratifying for me.

During my fellowship year, I came to know several USIS officers at our embassy in Madrid. They asked if I would help them set up programs for American speakers at the university, and I told them I’d be more than happy to do so.

1976 graduating class from the University of Oviedo. Mark Asquino is pictured in the top row, second from the left..

Most of the speakers who came to Oviedo were U.S. professors, and I enjoyed arranging schedules for them. The USIS officers told me that I had the sort of outgoing personality and strong administrative skills needed for a career with USIA.  They encouraged me to take the Foreign Service entry exam, and in 1976-77, I passed both portions of it. With no teaching job prospects on the horizon, I was delighted to enter the October 1978 class of the new USICA.

My overseas postings were in Latin America, Europe, Central Asia and Africa. In 2015, I retired following a tour as the U.S. ambassador to Equatorial Guinea, Spain’s only former colony in sub-Saharan Africa. Starting in Spain, I had come full circle, ending my career on what had once been Spanish soil.

And it had all begun decades earlier with the Fulbright program, to which I’ll always be grateful.


Mark Asquino is a retired Foreign Service Officer and member of PDAA.



Dick Arndt – Fulbrighter to FSO

By Skyler Arndt-Briggs, Ph.D.

Charcoal portrait of Dick Arndt drawn on the ship to France in 1949.

As one of the first cohort of US Fulbrighters to go to France, Richard T. Arndt arrived in October 1949, two days before his twenty-first birthday. Despite growing up poor, he had benefited from two lucky breaks. He won a scholarship for promising New Jersey kids to attend Princeton University; and, just as he was graduating, IIE’s Larry Duggan succeeded in getting the Fulbright program to France up and running.

In Dick’s own words, his year in Dijon “was a complete change of life—with regard to food, dress, behavior, manners, history, customs, anti-Americanism, foreign ‘ignorance,’ languages, everything.” After his return, he taught and completed a PhD in French literature at Columbia. In 1961, he answered J.F. Kennedy’s call to “ask what you can do for your country” and joined USIA.

In Beirut (1961-63), Sri Lanka (1963-66), and Teheran (1966-71), Dick focused on cultural affairs—programming artists and scholars, running libraries, ESL and cultural centers, and supporting universities—and was able to make important contributions that crossed political lines without, for the most part, getting mired in controversial issues. His approach even worked in Rome (1974-78)—where he was posted together with his new spouse, USIA officer Lois Roth—but not in Paris (1978-80). Dick and Lois spent the next few years in Washington, DC, until Dick’s retirement in 1985 and Lois’s untimely death in 1986.

Amb. Armin H. Meyer, Dick Arndt, Lois Roth at award ceremony for FSN Kazem Passima. Teheran c. 1970

In retirement, Dick continued writing about US cultural diplomacy, returning to the lessons he’d learned as a Fulbrighter and expanded upon in successive posts. A personal friend of Senator J. William Fulbright, Dick co-founded the Fulbright Association (of US alumni), wrote an article on “Questioning the Fulbright Experience,” and co-edited The Fulbright Difference,1948-92. Teaching classes at the University of Virginia and George Washington University, he researched and wrote his history of US cultural diplomacy, The First Resort of Kings. In recent years, he has been working on a history of US contributions to education in Iran and an argument for the rehabilitation of Larry Duggan—whose reputation was torpedoed by mythmaking surrounding the Red Scare and the Cold War.

The foundation Dick created in memory of his deceased wife, Lois Roth, works with the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to honor the achievements of those working in cultural affairs for the U.S. Foreign Service.¤


Skyler Arndt-Briggs chairs the Lois Roth Endowment.



Public Diplomacy & Cultural Festivals in Syria

By Evelyn A. Early, Ph.D.

The trust and friendships cultivated during my 1982 Fulbright in Syria continued through my return in 1996 as a diplomat at the U.S. Embassy in Damascus.

Young woman singing at the 1982 Deir az-Zor Cultural Festival

In 1982, when I was one of only a few American researchers in Syria, I focused on Syrian popular culture.

At the Baathist Vanguard Youth Party Cultural Festival I attended in Deir az-Zor in 1982, the students presented dances and plays highlighting pan-Arabism. The Vanguard Cultural Director Dr. Abdullah, who had earned his doctorate in Moscow, spoke in a formal style of Arabic to demonstrate the cultural and political unity among the Arab states. While the children’s festival pieces presented serious themes like feudalism and nationalism using a similar Arabic, the skits were set in a child’s everyday play world peopled with colorful folk heroes.

When I returned to Syria in 1996 as PAO, my friends introduced me to producers of the popular historical television dramas which all debut during the month of Ramadan. Such series have presented Arab audiences with critiques on important issues such as terrorism much more effectively than any soft power initiative by western powers. I recommended that Washington fund local teledrama efforts, which it did.

Vanguard youth dancing at the 1982 Festival. Red slogan reads: “We want our children to live a happy childhood.”

Some of our best dialogues with Syrian officials took place over such dinners as our American Jazz Tour celebration. Ambassador Crocker knew the value of attending openings where similar opportunities for informal talks with Syrian officials were interspersed with such programs as Vanguard folkloric dances similar to those in Deir az-Zor in 1982.

A few years later when I was PAO Rabat, Jamal Suleiman—a heartthrob of these Syrian television dramas whom I’d come to know in Damascus—was in Morocco for a film festival. I invited top Moroccan actors/actresses to lunch to meet him. My staff told me Jamal would never come, given current Middle East politics. They were wrong. After a lunchtime discussion of pan-Arab cultural issues, Jamal announced that, given events in Lebanon, he was on his way to resign as UN Goodwill Ambassador, but that he had not wanted to miss the chance to discuss culture with a friend like Dr. Early.¤


Evelyn Early is a retired senior Foreign Service Officer.



Chairing a Trinational Fulbright Commission

By Judith R. Baroody

Trinational Fulbright Board and staff, 1997. Note Lellos Demetriades, second from right in dark suit. Photo by Athos Sophocleous, in public domain.

Soon after I arrived in Cyprus in 1996 to take up the job as PAO, I received an official letter from Ambassador Richard Boucher appointing me as Chairperson of the Fulbright Commission. This presented a special challenge in a country described as “paradise with a problem.”

The island is divided across the middle, east-to-west, into Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities. UN troops guard the neutral zone, and citizens were not allowed to cross from one side to the other.

When I took on the chairmanship, Cyprus had the largest per capita budget of any Fulbright Commission in the world. We had an annual budget of over six million dollars in a country of about a million people, thanks to Senator Paul Sarbanes (D-Md.). He managed to add a line item of 15 million dollars in the federal budget every year for the island.

Five million went to Fulbright, which also received money from investments and the Government of Cyprus. Ten million went to a special fund administered by the Embassy for bicommunal reconciliation. With that kind of money, we were able to dream up and carry out a range of ambitious projects with the approval of the board.

The Fulbright Board was considered trinational. Members included Americans, Greek Cypriots, and Turkish Cypriots, who regarded themselves as citizens of a separate republic. The meetings could get lively.

PAO Judith Baroody with Special Envoy to Cyprus Richard Holbrooke.

Among those representing the Greek Cypriots was Lellos Demetriades, mayor of Nicosia and a tough-talking lawyer. Lellos would take a maximalist approach to negotiations, demanding the impossible and settling for the plausible. He was also warm and funny. He once told me, “We realized that Cyprus would never be a major power, so we decided to be a major nuisance instead.”

Despite the sometimes heated rhetoric, it was actually a congenial group. We all wanted the same thing, which was to find an equitable peace settlement and provide academic opportunities for the young people of Cyprus, whatever their ethnicity.

The first year I was there, we gave out 65 scholarships and 65 training opportunities, sending mid-level professionals to the U.S. to learn about their fields and meet American counterparts. We also hosted a variety of workshops and cultural exhibits on the island to encourage Greek and Turkish Cypriots to get to know each other.

Bringing the two sides together was, in reality, our only job—bicommunal reconciliation and, ultimately, peace.¤


Judith Baroody is a retired Foreign Service Officer and a member of the PDAA Board of Directors.



That Time the Senator Undermined U.S. Foreign Policy

By John Quintus

I was retired Senator J. William Fulbright’s Control Officer when he visited Germany in 1985 at the invitation of the German-American Fulbright Commission. It was the eve of the 40th Anniversary of the program that still bears Fulbright’s name, and the Commission, one of the world’s largest, wanted to be among the first to enjoy the Senator’s presence.

John Quintus and Senator Fulbright

Fulbright spoke to a large gathering at the University of Bonn with Ambassador Arthur Burns in attendance. When Bill told the German audience that they should resist the stationing of Pershing medium-range rockets on their soil, the Ambassador covered his face with his right hand. He was not amused, since the Embassy was doing its utmost to justify the installation of the Pershing system to counter the Soviets’ SS-20 missiles.

Then Bill, who had always preferred diplomacy to military action, said something I’ve never forgotten: “Before I left on this trip I asked the folks at the U.S. Information Agency to determine how much money had been spent on the Fulbright Program since its inception nearly 40 years ago. Well, let me tell you here today that all that money wouldn’t buy the tail end of a Trident submarine!”

It was typical Fulbright, and a pointed reminder that investing in peace and mutual understanding was and is far less costly than preparing for war.

USIA actively supported the celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the Fulbright Program. It was good that the Agency did so, since—alas—the Senator did not live to witness the 50th Anniversary. Fortunately, Fulbright’s legacy endures; it is a legacy we all hope will rebound with the end of the current pandemic and with increasing funding from the Biden Administration.¤


John Quintus is a retired Foreign Service Officer and member of PDAA. He served as Assistant CAO in Bonn.



Fulbrighters in Poland

by Peter Becskehazy

Front row, Fulbright professor Jim Hutcheson and spouse Joanne Hutcheson
Back row (l to r), Cathleen Becskehazy and Fulbright Professor Joe Mullen, and steering the raft, one of the residents of a regional ethnic group known locally as Górale, Highlanders of the Polish Tatra Mountains.

My wife Cathleen and I and consular officer David Summer, from the US Consulate in Krakow, Poland arranged for a cultural experience for two of our Fulbright professors on a raft trip on the Dunajec River in southern Poland, separating Poland and Slovakia. The Fulbrighters played an important role in transmitting American culture to faculty and students of universities in Poland at a time when Poland was a communist country and part of the Warsaw Pact. Our guides and raft captains were local highlanders who carried on the Górale regional traditions of spoken language, song and dance. Our guide sang some Górale folk songs and taught us their dialect.


Peter Becskehazy is a retired Foreign Service Officer and a member of PDAA. He was Principal Officer and PAO of the American consulate in Krakow.


 

Please share PublicDiplomacy.org ...

A Tribute to Michael Anderson

by Charles Silver

Michael H. Anderson
Photo courtesy of Alan Kotok

I first met Mike Anderson on an airplane flying from Los Angeles to Hilo, Hawaii, to begin my training as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Malaysia. It was a large group of over 150 recruits and I was sharing a seat with a really interesting guy from Minnesota who unlike most of us, who were right out of college, had actually held a real job on a newspaper. When we arrived in Hilo, we were met by the PC staff who quickly separated us by future assignments and sent us off to several different training locations on the island.  My seatmate went to a different center and that was that. A photo of Mike in 1968 from the Peace Corps bio book is attached.

Several decades later, I was seated at a table with a number of other Foreign Service Officers attending a conference in Bangkok. As is typical at these meetings, one chats with colleagues about where they have served. “Oh, you were in the Peace Corps…Where?…Malaysia…When?…Really, so was I….What Group…Hey, that’s my group…”  It turns out that I had met my long-lost seatmate who, like me, joined the United States Information Agency, and was, again like me, currently serving with a US Embassy in Southeast Asia.  Truly, it is a small world.

Having reconnected, our paths frequently crossed. In 2006, Mike replaced me as Public Affairs Officer in the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, moving into my old apartment and even hiring our cook.  In retirement, we frequently met at lectures at think-tanks, shared membership in professional organizations, and got together for lunch.

Mike Anderson Peace Corps Photo (courtesy of Charles Silver)

Mike played a key role in keeping me tied in to the foreign affairs community.  He was an active member of more associations and groups than one can imagine.  He encouraged me to join several organizations and we served together on the boards of two of them. He was active in the Friends of Malaysia (a returned PCV organization) and was instrumental in raising money for small grants to organizations in that county. He regularly attended lectures and made his former colleagues aware of upcoming events.

In the days when information was not as widely available as it is in the internet age, USIA issued a daily Wireless File that we used to keep local contacts informed of reliable world news and feature articles not available in the local media. Overseas audiences valued it.  In his retirement, Mike issued his own updated email version of this service.  Several times a month and sometimes a couple of times a week, I would receive an article of interest from Mike, or an advisory that Professor X would be talking at the Z Foundation.  There alerts often elicited on-going discussion and exchange among the recipients, which was what the original wireless file was supposed to do with foreign audiences.  Mike was an outstanding FSO during his long career and in retirement he kept doing what he had done for three decades – engaging his friends and colleagues in discussion of events and ideas.

I was honored to have known him and will miss him.


Charles Silver is a retired Foreign Service Officer and a member of the Public Diplomacy Association of America.


Michael Hugh Anderson (1945-2021)

Michael Hugh Anderson, age 75, passed away after suffering a heart attack on June 20, 2021.

Michael, of Arlington Virginia, formerly of International Falls, Minnesota was born on October 28, 1945, to Paul Albert Anderson and Helen Ansley Anderson (Tibbetts). He received a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Hawaii / East-West Center, Honolulu, and an MA and a BA in Journalism/Mass Communication from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

As a Peace Corps volunteer, he was an English teacher and a journalism lecturer/trainer in Malaysia. At the University of Minnesota, he was an instructor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and Information Services Coordinator for the College of Education.

His media experience included reporting stints on daily newspapers in both Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota and serving as editor-in-chief of The Minnesota Daily when it was the world’s largest college newspaper. He began working for the US Information Agency in 1981 and served in many South and Southeast Asian countries (Papua New Guinea, India, Pakistan, Singapore, Philippines, and Indonesia), often serving as the Counselor for Public Affairs, managing the Embassy’s press, cultural, and educational affairs.

He was a remarkable Foreign Service professional and received many awards including the Exceptional Service in the Public Interest Certificate, and the Distinguished Alumni Award from the East-West Center. He retired from the State Department in 2011 and was continually active in volunteer and philanthropic activities in the Washington, DC, area; among his favorite organizations were Friends of Malaysia, the Public Diplomacy Association of America, and the Public Diplomacy Council.

Mike shared his engaging personality and love of journalism and public affairs with his friends and family, often with his memorable Christmas letters and special “clipping service.” He loved to travel world-wide and was beginning his first post-COVID trip when he passed. He especially enjoyed spending time with family and friends at the family cabin on Rainy Lake in the Ontario / Minnesota Borderland, where he will be particularly missed.

He is survived by his brother Paul (Bonnie), his nephew Jesse (Julie), and his niece Lindsey (Pete) Fabian, four grandnieces (Annika, Leah, Claire, and Emma), and many beloved cousins and friends in the United States, Canada, and around the world.

In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made in Mike’s honor to the University of the Minnesota’s Hubbard School of Journalism Scholarship Fund, the Peace Corps, or Friends of Malaysia. A memorial service is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. (visitation l0:00 a.m.) September 16 at Atonement Lutheran Church in New Brighton, Minnesota. A celebration of Michael’s life will occur on July 31 from 2:00-4:00 p.m. in the Astoria Condominiums library (2100 Lee Highway) in Arlington, VA and another celebration will occur at the family cabin on Rainy Lake in Ontario on August 29.

Please share PublicDiplomacy.org ...