loading spinner
18260
Washington D.C.

Inside American Diplomacy With the Foreign Service

Discuss foreign policy with diplomats, attend international briefings and go behind the scenes of “Embassy Row” as you gain special access to the U.S. Foreign Service.
Rating (5)
Program No. 18260RJ
Length
5 days
Starts at
1,449
Special Offer
Click on Dates & Prices below to see special offer details.
Washington D.C.

Inside American Diplomacy With the Foreign Service

Discuss foreign policy with diplomats, attend international briefings and go behind the scenes of “Embassy Row” as you gain special access to the U.S. Foreign Service.
Length
5 days
Starts at
1,449
Special Offer
Click on Dates & Prices below to see special offer details.
Program No. 18260 RJ
Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
climate
Plan ahead.
What kind of weather can you expect? Take a look!
itinerary
Please Note:
The itinerary for this program is different on certain dates.
Select your type of room
Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Sep 12 - Sep 16, 2021
Starting at
1,449
Special Offer

OFFER EXTENDED: Enroll by Dec. 31, 2020 to take $100 off the price shown!

Itinerary Note

Program staying at the Madison Hotel. Study: “The Korean Peninsula, China and other Challenges & Opportunities in Asia.” Program staying at the Darcy Hotel. This departure does not run back-to-back with "Spies, Lies & Intelligence: The World of International Espionage" (#16126).

Mar 27 - Mar 31, 2022
Starting at
1,499
Special Offer

Enroll by Dec. 31, 2020 to take $100 off the price shown!

Apr 24 - Apr 28, 2022
Starting at
1,499
Special Offer

Enroll by Dec. 31, 2020 to take $100 off the price shown!

Sep 11 - Sep 15, 2022
Starting at
1,499
Special Offer

Enroll by Dec. 31, 2020 to take $100 off the price shown!

DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Sep 12 - Sep 16, 2021
Starting at
1,799
Special Offer

OFFER EXTENDED: Enroll by Dec. 31, 2020 to take $100 off the price shown!

Itinerary Note

Program staying at the Madison Hotel. Study: “The Korean Peninsula, China and other Challenges & Opportunities in Asia.” Program staying at the Darcy Hotel. This departure does not run back-to-back with "Spies, Lies & Intelligence: The World of International Espionage" (#16126).

Mar 27 - Mar 31, 2022
Starting at
1,999
Special Offer

Enroll by Dec. 31, 2020 to take $100 off the price shown!

Apr 24 - Apr 28, 2022
Starting at
1,999
Special Offer

Enroll by Dec. 31, 2020 to take $100 off the price shown!

Sep 11 - Sep 15, 2022
Starting at
1,999
Special Offer

Enroll by Dec. 31, 2020 to take $100 off the price shown!

At a Glance

What do U.S. diplomats in the Foreign Service do? Their mission is manifold: to promote peace, support national security goals, advance U.S. business and agricultural interests and protect American citizens. Gain in-depth, behind-the-scenes knowledge of life in the Foreign Service from active and retired officers and ambassadors who share their personal experiences firsthand. Examine pressing U.S. foreign policy issues in action — enhanced by Q&A sessions — to better understand what tomorrow may bring.
Activity Level
Easy Going
Minimal walking and standing; must be able to get on/off bus.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Enjoy frank and forthcoming engagement with experts in the field of foreign policy and diplomacy.
  • Visit a foreign embassy, learn a language like a diplomat and explore diplomatic history.
  • Delve into Washington’s diplomatic community on a narrated fieldtrip to “Embassy Row.”

General Notes

Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Inside a U.S. Embassy
by Shawn Dorman
Who works in an embassy? What do diplomats actually do? Inside a U.S. Embassy offers an up-close and personal look into the lives of the diplomats and specialists who make up the U.S. Foreign Service, taking readers inside embassies and consulates in more than fifty countries, providing detailed descriptions of Foreign Service jobs and first-hand accounts of diplomacy in action. Gain a sense of the key role played by each member of an embassy team from Paris to Kabul, from Bogota to Beijing, and places in between. Travel into the rainforests of Thailand with an environmental affairs officer, face rampaging militias with a political officer in East Timor, and join an ambassador on a midnight trip into a Macedonian refugee camp to quell a riot. The book includes profiles of diplomats and specialists around the world serving in Foreign Service positions -- from the ambassador to the security officer, the consular officer to the IT specialist. Also included is a selection of day-in-the-life accounts from seventeen different countries, each describing an actual day on the job. The story section includes twenty-six tales from the field that give a sense of the extraordinary: the coups, the evacuations, the civil wars, the hardships and rewards of representing America to the world.Inside a U.S. Embassy was published by the American Foreign Service Association in 2003, and updated and revised in 2005. Over 70,000 copies have sold.
Behind Embassy Walls: The Life and Times of an American Diplomat
by Brandon Grove
Behind Embassy Walls is the extraordinary autobiography of a career American diplomat and an account of his role in key events of the Cold War era. The son of an international oilman and a Polish émigré, Brandon Grove spent his childhood before World War II largely in Europe, in Nazi Germany, Holland, and Spain. He recounts his acquaintance with William Faulkner while at Bard College, his service in the navy in the Korean War, and his thirty-five-year career in the U.S. Foreign Service, focusing on diplomacy as practiced behind the scenes. In this candid personal account, Grove voices criticism of the Foreign Service and the State Department, while at the same time revealing the human face of diplomacy. He offers discerning assessments of such notable personalities as Chester Bowles; Robert Kennedy; George Kennan; Omar Torrijos; John Sherman Cooper and his wife, Lorraine; Philip Habib; Willy Brandt; Mobutu; Vernon Walters; Jimmy Carter; and Ronald Reagan, among others. He also describes the requisites for effective American diplomats today. Fascinating and informative, Behind Embassy Walls will be an indispensable look at the diplomacy of the past century.
Career Diplomacy: Life and Work in the U.S. Foreign Service
by Harry Kopp and Charles Gillespie
Career Diplomacy—now in its second edition—is an insider's guide that examines the foreign service as an institution, a profession, and a career. Harry W. Kopp and Charles A. Gillespie, both of whom had long and distinguished careers in the foreign service, provide a full and well-rounded picture of the organization, its place in history, its strengths and weaknesses, and its role in American foreign affairs. Based on their own experiences and through interviews with over 100 current and former foreign service officers and specialists, the authors lay out what to expect in a foreign service career, from the entrance exam through midcareer and into the senior service—how the service works on paper, and in practice. The second edition addresses major changes that have occurred since 2007: the controversial effort to build an expeditionary foreign service to lead the work of stabilization and reconstruction in fragile states; deepening cooperation with the U.S. military and the changing role of the service in Iraq and Afghanistan; the ongoing surge in foreign service recruitment and hiring at the Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development; and the growing integration of USAID’s budget and mission with those of the Department of State.
Diplomacy
by Henry Kissinger
A brilliant, sweeping history of diplomacy that includes personal stories from the noted former Secretary of State, including his stunning reopening of relations with China. The seminal work on foreign policy and the art of diplomacy. Moving from a sweeping overview of history to blow-by-blow accounts of his negotiations with world leaders, Henry Kissinger describes how the art of diplomacy has created the world in which we live, and how America's approach to foreign affairs has always differed vastly from that of other nations. Brilliant, controversial, and profoundly incisive, Diplomacy stands as the culmination of a lifetime of diplomatic service and scholarship. It is vital reading for anyone concerned with the forces that have shaped our world today and will impact upon it tomorrow.
Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty
by Daron Acemoglu, James Robinson
Brilliant and engagingly written, Why Nations Fail answers the question that has stumped the experts for centuries: Why are some nations rich and others poor, divided by wealth and poverty, health and sickness, food and famine? Is it culture, the weather, geography? Perhaps ignorance of what the right policies are? Simply, no. None of these factors is either definitive or destiny. Otherwise, how to explain why Botswana has become one of the fastest growing countries in the world, while other African nations, such as Zimbabwe, the Congo, and Sierra Leone, are mired in poverty and violence? Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson conclusively show that it is man-made political and economic institutions that underlie economic success (or lack of it). Based on fifteen years of original research Acemoglu and Robinson marshall extraordinary historical evidence from the Roman Empire, the Mayan city-states, medieval Venice, the Soviet Union, Latin America, England, Europe, the United States, and Africa to build a new theory of political economy with great relevance for the big questions of today, including: - China has built an authoritarian growth machine. Will it continue to grow at such high speed and overwhelm the West? - Are America’s best days behind it? Are we moving from a virtuous circle in which efforts by elites to aggrandize power are resisted to a vicious one that enriches and empowers a small minority? - What is the most effective way to help move billions of people from the rut of poverty to prosperity? More philanthropy from the wealthy nations of the West? Or learning the hard-won lessons of Acemoglu and Robinson’s breakthrough ideas on the interplay between inclusive political and economic institutions? Why Nations Fail will change the way you look at—and understand—the world.
Newspapers
by Various
We do not require any reading prior to the program. We do recommend staying current on the news, as our topics will be current. Following is a list of recommended readings to follow up on the course content.
Outpost: Life on the Frontlines of American Diplomacy
by Christopher R. Hill
A “candid, behind-the-scenes” (The Dallas Morning News) memoir from one of our most distinguished ambassadors who—in his career of service to the country—was sent to some of the most dangerous outposts of American diplomacy. hristopher Hill was on the front lines in the Balkans at the breakup of Yugoslavia. He participated in one-on-one meetings with the dictator Milosevic and traveled to Bosnia and Kosovo, and to the Dayton conference, where a truce was arrived at. He was the first American Ambassador to Macedonia; Ambassador to Poland, in the cold war; chief disarmament negotiator in North Korea; and Hillary Clinton’s hand-picked Ambassador to Iraq. Outpost is Hill’s “lively, entertaining…introduction to the difficult game of diplomacy” (The Washington Post)—an adventure story of danger, loss of comrades, high stakes negotiations, and imperfect options. There are fascinating portraits of war criminals (Mladic, Karadzic), of presidents (Bush, Clinton, and Obama), of vice presidents including Dick Cheney, of Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and of Ambassadors Richard Holbrooke and Lawrence Eagleburger, among others. Hill writes bluntly about the bureaucratic warfare in DC and expresses strong criticism of America’s aggressive interventions and wars of choice.
The Diplomat and his Daughter
by Daniel Pearson Ernst JD
The combined diaries of Alfred Pearson, U.S. minister to Poland and Finland, and his daughter Thea Elaine, who served as her father's diplomatic hostess abroad, put a personal spin on the relationship between Poland, Finland and the U.S. in the exciting years between the two world wars.
American Ambassadors: The Past, Present, and Future of America's Diplomats
by Denis Jett
There are two ways to become an ambassador: a lifetime of dedicated civil service in remote, often life-imperiling locales, or to be a wealthy political benefactor. One route provides grueling work that may never result in this heralded position in the American political landscape, serving some of the world's most challenged nations as they undergo radical change. The other route is considered a gift for financial aid after a successful election campaign. The way in which people become ambassadors of the United States is the result of time-honored traditions and, in some cases, the most thinly veiled form of corruption in American government. American Ambassadors explains where ambassadors come from, what they do, where they go and why they still matter. Former ambassador Dennis Jett offers an insider's look at the complex bureaucratic process that determines who becomes an ambassador and the different paths to the title that are taken by career diplomats and political appointees. Jett describes how an ambassador's effectiveness is measured and why at least four ambassadors in recent years have resigned because of poor performance. It demonstrates how the embassy to which as ambassador is sent can depend on a person's race, gender, religion, sexual orientation and the size of their campaign contributions. And it makes the case for why, in today's ever more globalized world, their work is more important than ever.
America's Other Army: The U.S. Foriegn Service and 21st Century Diplomacy
by Nicholas Kralev
"America's Other Army" brings the high-flying world of international diplomacy down to earth and puts a human face on a mysterious profession that has undergone a dramatic transformation since September 11, 2001. Through the stories of American diplomats, the book explains how their work affects millions of people in the United States and around the world every day, and how it contributes directly to U.S. security and prosperity. It shows a more inclusive American diplomacy that has moved beyond interacting with governments and has engaged with the private sector, civil society and individual citizens. Having visited 77 embassies and consulates, and interviewed more than 600 American diplomats, the author reveals a Foreign Service whose diversity and professional versatility have shattered old perceptions and redefined modern diplomacy. But he also depicts a service not fully equipped to address the complex challenges of the 21st century.
American Diplomats: The Foreign Service at Work
by Stuart Kennedy and William Morgan
What do the men and women of America's diplomatic corps do? William D. Morgan and Charles Stuart Kennedy, themselves career diplomats, culled over 1400 oral interviews with their Foreign Service peers to present forty excerpts covering events from the 1920s to the 1990s. Insiders recount what happens when a consul spies on Nazi Germany, Mao Tse-Tung drops by for a chat, the Cold War begins with the Berlin blockade, the Marshall Plan rescues Europe, Sukarno moves Indonesia into the communist camp, Khrushchev calls President Kennedy an SOB, and our ambassador is murdered in Kabul."You are there" accounts deepen readers' understanding, as diplomatic and consular officers talk about the beginnings of Kremlinology, predicting a coup in Ecuador, Hemingway and the embassy in Havana, the secret formulation of the NATO treaty, Jerusalem after the British and the US recognition of Israel, fighting in the Congo over Katangan secession, dealing with an alcoholic foreign president, human rights work in Paraguay, the U.S. Embassy takeover in Tehran, the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, helping families of the Pan Am 103 victims, Greece and Turkey at odds over a tiny island, embassy roles in Riyadh and Tel Aviv during Desert Storm, and many more.
Print All
Map details are not available for this location.
View Map
Expand All
5 days
4 nights
10 meals
4 B 3 L 3 D
DAY
1
Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation, Intro. to AFSA
Washington, DC
D
The Madison Hotel

Activity note: Hotel check in is available from 4:00 p.m

Afternoon: Program Registration: 3:00 p.m. After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar table in the lobby to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, and other important information. If your arrival is delayed, please ask for your packet when you check in.

Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.

Evening: Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone with a warm welcome and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures including contact numbers for key staff, and answer any questions you may have. Guest speakers for Road Scholar AFSA (American Foreign Service Association) programs are active or retired diplomats who are experts in their fields. To ensure that the subjects and areas being discussed will be as current and relevant as possible, speakers are not finalized until a few weeks before the start of the program. Scheduled free time is reserved for your personal independent exploration. Please be aware that program activities, schedules, and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. We’ll begin our Road Scholar educational program with an introductory film on the American Foreign Service. From the U.S. Department of State website: “As the lead U.S. foreign affairs agency, the U.S. Department of State represents the United States at more than 270 diplomatic locations around the world, including embassies, consulates, and missions to international organizations.” AFSA began working with Road Scholar in 1996 (when the organization was known as Elderhostel). The goal was and is to educate participants about the work of the U.S. Foreign Service. AFSA programs for Road Scholar have reached some 10,000 participants in Washington DC and elsewhere around the country. These educational programs feature retired and active diplomats and focus on particular themes of current interest as well as more general presentations of U.S. diplomacy

DAY
2
AFSA Lectures
Washington, DC
B,L,D
The Madison Hotel

Breakfast: At the hotel

Morning: We will have two lectures this morning with a short break in between. This week's topic will be “The Korean Peninsula, China and other Challenges & Opportunities in Asia.” Speakers will be finalized a few weeks before the start of the program. The mission of U.S. diplomats in the Foreign Service is manifold: to promote peace, support national security goals, advance U.S. business and agricultural interests, and protect American citizens. As we examine U.S. foreign policy issues in action, gain in-depth, behind-the-scenes knowledge of life in the Foreign Service from active and retired officers and ambassadors who will share their personal experiences firsthand. Lectures are enhanced by Q&A sessions.

Lunch: In the hotel.

Afternoon: Enjoy two more stimulating presentation on topics relevant to the program theme.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: AFSA’s programs for Road Scholar provide unparalleled opportunities to learn directly from American foreign service professionals who were “there” in person. Tonight we will view a film from the AFSA archives "America's Diplomats."

DAY
3
Embassies, DACOR Bacon House, Afternoon Lectures
Washington, DC
B,L
The Madison Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off the motorcoach. Standing for up to 1 hour at a time.

Breakfast: At the hotel

Morning: Our first field trip this morning takes us on a privileged visit to a foreign embassy. We will meet with their diplomats to gain a deeper understanding of how an embassy functions. Due to variable schedules, the particular embassy will be finalized shortly before the program. Next, we will go for a motorcoach exploration through our nation’s capital with expert commentary on-board as we drive through and learn about the history of “Embassy Row”— in and around a stretch of Massachusetts Avenue — and more. There are more than 170 foreign embassies in Washington. We’ll then transfer to the historic DACOR Bacon House in downtown Washington for lunch.

Lunch: At DACOR Bacon House. This unique private organization for foreign affairs professionals fosters professional and social networking and provides opportunities for candid dialogue in the trusted environment of a stunning historic mansion (1825) just two blocks from the White House.

Afternoon: The rest of the afternoon is at leisure. Feel free to depart on your own to explore from the DACOR House, or take the coach back to the hotel.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure. You might like to go out and see more of the city on your own, spend time with new Road Scholar friends, or simply relax.

DAY
4
AFSA Lectures, Foreign Service Institute
Washington, DC
B,L,D
The Madison Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off the motorcoach. Standing for up to 1 hour at a time.

Breakfast: At the hotel

Morning: In two expert-led presentations this morning gain more in-depth information about the program theme and hear from diplomatic staff about their personal experiences.

Lunch: At the hotel

Afternoon: We will depart the hotel via motorcoach for a field trip to the Foreign Service Institute (FSI), the Federal government's primary training institution for officers and support personnel of the U.S. foreign affairs community. The FSI is part of the State Department’s campus known as the George P. Shultz National Foreign Affairs Training Center. Led by an expert, we will learn more about the FSI and its work preparing American diplomats and other professionals to advance U.S. foreign affairs interests. The FSI provides more than 600 courses, including 70 foreign languages, to more than 100,000 enrollees a year. Next, we stop back into the hotel for another briefing from a member of the foreign service.

Dinner: We will gather for our last dinner together as a group at a local restaurant. Share your favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends.

Evening: We will round out the day with one more presentation on program related themes.

DAY
5
Final Lectures & Wrap-Up, Program Concludes
Washington, DC
B

Activity note: Hotel check out is by 12:00 Noon. Bags may be left at the front desk until departure.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll have two closing lectures and a brief “wrap up” to review program highlights and address any lingering questions.This concludes our program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!






Your Well-Being is Our #1 Priority

We’re committed to making your experience as safe and enjoyable as possible.

See Our Safety Roadmap
Click here to provide website feedback
Website Feedback