On Thursday, June 8, 2017, Susan Johnson, President of the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training (ADST), invited members and friends to an annual ADST business meeting to report on ADST’s goals, objectives and new initiatives and welcome members’ comments, questions or general feedback. The presentations included FSI’s Acting Director, Dr. Marc Ostfield, as FSI marks its 70th anniversary, and ADST celebrates the long-standing partnerships with the Cox and Delavan Foundations and with DACOR, as well as it enjoys the support from SDFCU and Clements. Other presentations included accounts by ADST Board Chairman Ambassador Hughes, ADST President Susan Johnson, Martin Bentley, and the 2017-2019 ADST Strategic Plan presented by Dr. Jerry Leah.
This ADST annual meeting was an opportunity to connect in person with friends and colleagues who have been the core supporters of ADST’s three decade long commitment to capturing, preserving and sharing the experiences of America’s diplomats — in their own voices. In fact, this meeting led to an ADST Information Session held at FSI on Tuesday, June 20, 2017 to introduce the ADST Pilot Oral Historian Certification Program. With this program, ADST aims to enrich the professional knowledge of practitioners and strengthen public appreciation of diplomacy’s contributions to America’s national interests. Indeed, this was the aim of AAFSW member Jewell Fenzi and 2017 AAFSW Tragen Award Nominee when she founded the Foreign Service Spouse Oral History Project in 1986 by conducting interviews with over 150 diplomatic spouses.
After the welcoming remarks from ADST President Susan Johnson on Tuesday, June 20, 2017, the role of oral historians in ADST’s new strategic plan was explained. Stuart Kennedy talked about the current interview goals, David Reuther emphasized the importance of research beforehand, Mark Tauber advised on the selection of interviewees in order to promote ADST’s interest in diversity of voices, and Marilyn Bentley concluded by analyzing how an interview becomes a final transcript.
All AAFSW members who are interested in the ADST Oral Historian Certification Program can visit www.adst.org for further details.
Joanna Athanasopoulos Owen, PhD