Back Issues of PDAA Today

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

POSTPONED: 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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First Monday – “Faces of Exchange: 80 Years of the International Visitor Leadership Program”

With more than 225,000 alumni, the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) is celebrating its 80th anniversary in 2020. On Monday, March 2, a panel will examine the impact of this important public diplomacy tool as well as look ahead to the program’s future.

The panelists will include:

His Excellency Pjer Šimunović, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Republic of Croatia, IVLP Alumnus, 1991

Ms. Teta Moehs, Deputy Director, Office of International Visitors, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs

Dr. Sherry Lee Mueller, Distinguished Practitioner in Residence, School of International Service, American University, President, Public Diplomacy Council

Moderator, Mr. Mark Rebstock, Vice President, External Relations, Meridian International Center, Board member, Public Diplomacy Council

The program on March 2 starts at noon. Lunch is included, but we request that you register here.

These programs are presented by the USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership and Policy, the Public Diplomacy Association of America, and the Public Diplomacy Council. They take place at George Washington University’s Elliott School Lindner Family Common, 1957 E Street, NW, 6th floor, starting at 12 noon.

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A Word about the Late William Armbruster

By C. Edward Bernier

William Armbruster

William Armbruster, 1953-2013
Mr. Armbruster was held hostage by Saddam Hussein following Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait

I first met William when he was assigned to Algiers when I was PAO there in the late 80s. He settled in very quickly and within a short time had developed a clear understanding of what lay ahead for him in Algeria, a country that was only recently warming to the U.S. With a keen intellect and wry sense of humor, William adapted to the work environment and our audiences.

William had a natural affinity for things technical and played a major role in establishing our WorldNet capabilities. At his suggestion in another tech area, we chose not to continue with the Wang system, but rather investing in laptops.

What impressed me the most about William was that he, unlike other FS officers I knew, never once complained about having been assigned to the post, nor did he ever have a negative word about any of his American and Algerian workmates.

Moving ahead, he was assigned to Kuwait with his infant daughter accompanying. I had just taken over as NEA Deputy Director. Within a few days of his arrival, Iraq invaded Kuwait, with William having a first-hand view from his hotel room. His telephone reporting provided valuable insight regarding the Iraqi intentions. Most importantly he kept his cool.

He was detained by the Iraqis, along with other Embassy Officers. Throughout this period, he dealt with his dangerous situation calmly and without fear. He was later evacuated by bus to Baghdad where he sat out more months of detainment without a complaint.

Our next encounter was at the Foreign Service Institute Arabic program in Tunis. Once again, William energetically demonstrated his total ability to adjust to his environment and pursued his studies with enthusiasm. He went on to Morocco, while I was assigned to Riyadh. I did not see him after that and was shocked when I learned about his passing after retirement. A positive note, however, is that in retirement he continued his support of U.S. diplomacy by speaking to local community groups in his town of retirement.

From day one I considered William a dear friend, one whose advice I appreciated.

Ed Bernier is a retired Foreign Service Officer. He can be reached at

William Armbruster (USIA entry class summer 1986) died in Aug. 2013 at age 59 from a pulmonary embolism. At the time, his obituary could not be published in State Magazine, due to a technical difficulty with the publication. William grew up in San Diego and got his B.S degree in Russian area studies and biology from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1975, and was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Gao, Mali, teaching physics from 1977 to 1980. With USIA, he served in Algiers, Tunis, London, Casablanca, and Washington, D.C.. He also served briefly in Kuwait, where he and his infant daughter were taken to Baghdad as diplomatic hostages just before the first Gulf War. He retired from State, after the merger, in 2008, and moved to Missouri where he enjoyed five good years of retirement before his untimely death. His wife, Lisa, would like to hear from those who knew William. She can be reached at

See also the Associated Press report of October 22, 1990: Trapped Americans Fight Boredom, Worry; the News-Press story of October 19, 2011: Ex-diplomat has unique view of Middle East; and the Los Angeles Times story of December 12, 1990, S.D. Relatives of Hostages Anticipate Homecomings.  His obituary is available here.

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Richard Lundberg, An Appreciation

By Mark L. Asquino

My good friend, Junior Officer Trainee (JOT) classmate, and former colleague, Richard Lundberg, sadly passed away on January 9. I was able to see him at the hospital to say a last goodbye on the evening before his passing.

I first met Richard in late October 1978 when we both started our Foreign Service orientation and training classes at 1425 K Street. The Carter Administration had recently renamed USIA the “U.S. International Communication Agency” (ICA). In our entry class of fifteen new officers, ably overseen by JOT coordinator Bev Hendricks, Richard stood out from the start. He was a quick learner who deftly grasped whatever we were taught. This ranged from how to operate already obsolete Victor 16 mm film projectors to the nuances of bone-dry, “international communications” theory. The latter had become a staple of the short-lived ICA. In 1983, one of President Ronald Reagan’s first acts, for which I will always be grateful, was to change the name of the agency back to USIA.

Richard was not only keenly intelligent, but also had a delightful sense of humor and a quick wit. For example, our State Department A-100 classmates often poked fun at the new agency’s name, noting the similarity between “CIA” and “ICA.” In response, Richard came up with the slogan: “ICA: Lies not spies! We’re the other guys,” which another classmate promptly put on tee-shirts for all of us.

Richard and his charming wife Ann were a key part of my small, JOT circle that included Mary Jo Furgal, her husband Joe, and David Cohen. More than 40 years later, we are all still close friends.

Richard was one of the most gifted language learners in our JOT class. Starting with Polish, he went on to master Finnish, Icelandic, and Estonian. His “easy” language was Romanian, which we both studied in 1990-91 as we prepared for tours together in Bucharest. I was the CAO and Richard was the IO, and we worked together exceptionally well as a collegial team. This was a difficult time in Romania following the recent fall of the brutal Ceausescu regime. I was a single officer back then, and Richard and Ann frequently invited me to their home for delicious meals. Their friendship meant a great deal to me in what was an often-challenging post.

Richard had a distinguished, overseas public diplomacy career that later included serving as PAO in Iceland and Estonia. In Washington, he spent a year working on Capitol Hill in the prestigious Pearson Fellowship Program. And his final assignment was as a career development officer in HR, helping guide and advise first and second tour officers.

In later years when his health declined, Richard was always quick with a joke and hearty laugh whenever we saw each other or spoke on the phone. It is hard for me to think that he is gone. But along with so many others he knew, Richard touched my life and made a difference wherever he went. I consider myself so lucky to have met him on that cold October day so long ago.

Ambassador (Ret.) Mark Asquino is a retired Foreign Service Officer. He can be reached at

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Richard Chris Lundberg

Richard Lundberg

Richard Chris Lundberg
October 12, 1945 – January 9, 2020

by Ann A. Lundberg

Richard Chris Lundberg passed away on January 9, 2020, at the age of 74 in Arlington, VA. This single sentence does not begin to convey by any means the impact that this fact has had on those who love and miss him.

Richard was raised in a complex and loving household – no traditional father figure but a Swedish family consisting of a single mom, a grandmother and Italian grandfather, an adult cousin and an aunt, most of them under one roof. This atmosphere of loving warmth and kindness helped to shape his understanding of the world and his place in it.

He went to college and graduated with honors and began a career as a school teacher. Not satisfied with his daily contributions to teach children in a school setting, he joined a volunteer tutoring project, where he was involved in tutoring small children in a church basement in Corona, Queens, NY, on weekends.

I got to see firsthand his expertise as a teacher and his gentle way with the kids who thrived under his tutorage. When the project ended, Richard moved on to the next chapter in his life. After nine years of teaching, his interest and passionate following of world politics and desire to make a difference, plus his fascination with different cultures, triggered his next move. His talent for and interest in languages, combined with his love of travel, drove him to change careers and join the Foreign Service and become a diplomat with the United States Information Agency and the U.S. Department of State in 1978.

Richard’s first posting was to Warsaw, Poland, as a JOT and then on to Poznan as the Branch Public Affairs Officer during the years 1979-1982. This memorable time encompassed traditional Communist rule, the rise of Solidarity, and the threat of Soviet invasion and the imposition of martial law.

His next assignment was to Helsinki, Finland, as Assistant Cultural Affairs Officer from 1983 to 1987. He focused on American Studies, running the International Visitor Program, and working with the Fulbright Program. The years 1987 to 1991 were spent in Washington as an Academic Relations Specialist and then a Program Development Officer.

Richard’s next posting was on to Bucharest, Romania, from 1991 to 1993 as the Information Officer. He helped develop successful programs to transform the Romanian media into an independent, responsible, and credible media. From 1994 to 1997, he was assigned to Reykjavik, Iceland, as the Public Affairs Officer. Ricard strengthened support for NATO, NATO enlargement, and the Keflavik NATO base by organizing visits of skeptical Icelandic journalists and politicians to NATO headquarters in Brussels and military commands in the U.S. He traveled to Helsinki in 1997 to serve as the principal officer in charge of the White House press corps during the Clinton-Yeltsin Summit.

Richard served again as a Public Affairs Officer in Tallinn, Estonia, from 1998 to 2001. The highlights included but are not limited to the fact that he coordinated, during the consolidation of the USIA into the State Department, a seamless transformation of the Embassy’s USIS office, retaining jobs for all staff members, and integrating budgetary and personnel operations with State’s. Richard also strengthened the growth of an independent and responsible post-Communist-era Estonian media by recruiting a Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. editor to train 20 editors and journalists in the how’s and why’s of investigative journalism.

Richard’s last posting in Washington before retiring in 2005 included the following: Program Officer for the U.S. Speakers Program in Eastern Europe and Office Director of the U.S. Society and Values Office, Bureau of International Information Programs (about 3 weeks after 9/11). It was followed by a Congressional (Pearson) Fellowship with the Bureau of Human Resources and later as a Career Development Officer.

His talent for languages enabled him to be able to excel at each post and communicate easily in Polish, Finnish, Romanian, Icelandic, and Estonian with his contacts and staff. He was a gourmet cook and loved to create and experiment with unique spices and foods. His love of music covered jazz, pop, classical, contemporary, and country. This was exhibited by his huge collection of LP’s, tapes, and CD’s. His concern and love for animals led him to support charities benefiting them and to adopt and rescue two adult cats that were going to be sent to a kill shelter by the owner. His overseas postings to all those exotic locations enabled him to indulge in and enjoy one of his favorite hobbies — photography. He was a kind, generous, loving individual with a high level of integrity and honesty. His love of travel did not diminish with retirement and only slowed with the onset of health problems. He is survived by his wife Ann of almost 50 years. Yes, there were glitches, mistakes, and stumbles, but the account you have read is true.

That is why the universe is a sadder place today because he is not in it.

Ann Lundberg is Richard Lundberg’s widow. She accompanied him on his assignments overseas.

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In Memoriam: Lois Herrmann

by Greta Morris

My friendship with Lois Herrmann is closely linked to both PDAA (the Public Diplomacy Association of America) and PDC (the Public Diplomacy Council). I first got to know Lois at the former USIA in the 1980s-90s, when she was working in the Public Affairs Office and I was in the Africa and East Asia Pacific area offices. We had friends in common and attended the same women’s group.

After I retired from the Foreign Service, Lois invited me to serve on the board of PDAA. And after Lois retired from the Civil Service a few years later, she asked me about joining PDC. We decided to have lunch together so that I could tell her more about PDC. It was during that lunch that we discovered how much we had in common: we had both majored in English and loved books. We liked the same kinds of plays, films, and music. We shared a similar world view. We even discovered that during the 1990’s, we were both members of the same church, but did not know it as it was a very large church and we were involved in different activities. We both greatly admired the senior pastor at the time, Dr. Craig Barnes.

Following that lunch, our friendship grew. We attended some wonderful plays at the Shakespeare Theater, programs at DACOR, films, and concerts together. We got together for lunch or dinner when we could. I felt that I could talk with Lois about anything and everything; she was an attentive and sympathetic listener. She had an infectious love of life and of her friends. She was committed to the things she cared about deeply. She worked tirelessly to help an immigrant family from the Middle East that her church had sponsored to come to the United States. She supported the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins University (which had treated her mother); she supported the Shakespeare Theater.

After Lois became ill and was diagnosed with cancer, I was fortunate to be able to visit her several times and talk with her on the phone. I grew to admire her even more, as I saw her courage in the face of pain and increasingly dire prognoses. She was always gracious, considerate of her friends, and determined to overcome her illness. She never lost her radiant smile. When it became increasingly apparent that recovery would not be possible, she accepted that news with grace, faith, and dignity.

Mary Oliver poemLois loved poetry and wrote haiku. One of her favorite poets was Mary Oliver, who wrote in her poem The Summer Day: “Tell me what it is you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”* Lois knew what she wanted to do: she lived her life with joy, love, faith, intention, and commitment to the things she cared about deeply. I will miss her greatly, but she will always be an example to me of how to live.

Ambassador Greta N. Morris is former President of the Public Diplomacy Association of America.


Lois Marie Herrmann (1945 – 2020)

Lois Marie Herrmann, beloved daughter of Helen and Gustav Herrmann of Long Island, New York, died on January 14, 2020, at Georgetown University Hospital, with loving friends at her bedside. A long-time resident of Washington, DC, Lois was 74 years old when overtaken by cancer after a battle in which she radiated grace and courage throughout. Her sudden passing has struck the hearts of her large family of devoted friends-here in Washington, across the United States, and overseas-with profound grief.

Lois was born in New York City on January 26, 1945, and grew up near the water on the North Shore of Long Island where she developed her life-long love of swimming. Her happiest memories were of summer swims in the ocean, swimming holes, and pools. Lois went on to earn her Bachelor’s degree at Cornell University and her Master’s at Stanford University.

Lois began her career at the Foreign Student Service Council in Washington, DC, and went on to become a highly accomplished member of the US Department of State, serving first in the Foreign Service and later in the Civil Service. She began her government career in the United States Information Agency (1976-1999) and concluded her fulltime State Department service in the Bureau of Public Affairs (1999-2014). She loved her overseas postings in Venezuela, Serbia, Bosnia, and Croatia. Writing and editing were key skills Lois put to great effect, drafting speeches, public testimony, and op-ed articles for senior State Department officials. She also played a leading role in press operations for several Presidential summits and major international conferences, including the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh (2009), the President’s Nuclear Security Summit in Washington (2010), and the G8 Summit in Camp David (2012). She was proud to have served on State Department-wide Task Forces on world political and humanitarian crises including South Sudan, Ukraine and the response to the Asian tsunami (2004). She also published travel articles in the Christian Science Monitor and The Washington Star.

Lois served as a member of the boards of the Public Diplomacy Association of America (PDAA); the Stanford University Alumni Association; and the Theodore H. Barth Foundation, Inc., a philanthropic foundation supporting community health and welfare and the arts.

After her retirement, she volunteered at the Smithsonian with the Steinway Diary Project before returning to work part-time at the State Department, and she enjoyed personal travel through much of the world.

Lois considered her life’s most important endeavor to have looked after her mother during her mother’s last 12 years. The devotion she gave to her mother was easily recognizable in the love she showed her friends, her close bonds with animals of every species-but especially cats-and the kindness, wisdom, and loyalty she gave to all. Her spirit had a beauty and tenderness that will forever touch the hearts of all those who will miss her so greatly.

A memorial service will be held at St. Columba’s Episcopal Church, 4201 Albemarle St. NW, Washington, DC, 20016, at 11 AM on Saturday, March 14, 2020. Reception to follow.

Donations in Lois’s memory may be made to St. Columba’s Episcopal Church.

Published online on January 21, 2020 courtesy of RAPP Funeral and Cremation Services .

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