ISD Practitioners Offer Unique Perspective
The Institute for the Study of Diplomacy (ISD) at SFS was founded in 1978 to give scholars and students insight into the world of the foreign affairs practitioner. Each year, U.S. and foreign diplomats as well as military and CIA officers are detailed to ISD to help build scholar-practitioner collaboration. SFS students reap the benefits.
An example of SFS's unique ability to bring the practitioner's perspectives to its students
In a course entitled, “Addressing State Failure: U.S. Policy and Experience,” Colonel William Mooney, an active-duty Army Foreign Area Officer, and Kathleen McGowan, a U.S. Foreign Service Officer, teach juniors and seniors from SFS the principles and practices behind nation-building. Mooney and McGowan designed the class specifically around their respective experiences in Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Iraq and attempt over the course of the semester to balance the emerging theories of nation-building with the challenges of practical implementation.
Students learn the theories behind nation-building before going off-campus to interview both civilian and military professionals engaged in stabilization and reconstruction efforts overseas. These discussions reveal the complexities of building government institutions in poor countries facing turmoil, inter-communal violence, and/or external meddling. “The course is an example of SFS’s unique ability to bring the practitioner’s perspectives to its students,” said McGowan.
According to ISD director Casimir Yost, courses such as this are only possible because of SFS’s Washington, DC location. “If you come to SFS you not only get to work with, but also take classes from active duty Foreign Service officers and military officers,” said Yost.