Sessions on Diplomacy Set for November

The American Academy of Diplomacy (AAD), in cooperation with the World Affairs Councils of America, will provide a distinguished visiting speaker program in November featuring Ambassador George Staples.  The program set for November 9-10 will highlight the AAD’s study on strengthening U.S. diplomacy.  Among the events planned for Ambassador Staples visit is a student convocation at Belmont University and an evening presentation for the general public.  Ambassador Staples, whose service included posting as the Director General of the Foreign Service, will also meet with area students to talk about careers in America’s diplomatic corps.

The AAD report addresses the current state and future condition of the U.S. diplomatic corps and the budget of the diplomatic corps:

The United States is engaged in a long-term struggle with Islamic fundamentalism, while simultaneously coping with the impact of globalization, failed and failing states, and a plethora of issues that demand U.S. involvement and presence around the world. If ever there was a time that US diplomacy needed sufficient people and resources to meet pressing foreign policy challenges, it is now.

Although America faces many complex foreign policy challenges, several recent studies have found that the U.S. State Department, USAID, and the Foreign Service do not have the human and financial resources to appropriately respond to them. The US State Department has seen its human and financial resources reduced 30-50 percent since the end of the Cold War. To address this, the American Academy of Diplomacy undertook a major study that builds upon the findings of previous reports to detail exactly what budget is needed to enable the State Department and the Foreign Service to accomplish their missions in classic diplomacy, public diplomacy, development diplomacy, and reconstruction and stabilization.

Drawing from research and analysis done by the Henry L. Stimson Center, the Academy publically launched this report on October 16, 2008 at the Stimson Center. Ambassador Thomas Pickering, Ambassador Thomas Boyatt, Richard Nygard, Gordon Adams, AFSA President John Naland and Stan Silverman presented the report’s main findings. They said the President needs 50% more diplomats to implement a successful foreign policy, and that public diplomacy activities such as educational and cultural exchanges should be greatly expanded to promote a more positive image of the U.S. abroad. The report also recommends that authority for certain Security Assistance programs should be shifted from the Department of Defense to the Department of State.

Ambassador Staples’ CV:

Ambassador George M. Staples was a career member of the Foreign Service for 25 years and was Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of the Bureau of Human Resources at the US Dpeartment of State. He was also the Political Advisor to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) at NATO in Belgium.  From 1998-2001 he served as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Rwanda, followed by his service from 2001-2004 as U.S. Ambassador to Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea.  Ambassador Staples has also served as Deputy Chief of Mission in Bahrain and Zimbabwe, Senior Watch Officer in the State Department’s Operation Center, and as Senior Turkey Desk Officer in the Bureau of European Affairs during the first Gulf War.  His other assignments include:  The Bahamas, Uruguay, and El Salvador.  He also served as a National Security Fellow at the Hoover Institution.  Prior to joining the State Department, Ambassador Staples served as a military officer in the U.S. Air Force, and as a manager in private industry.  Ambassador Staples speaks French, Spanish and Turkish.

Ambassador Staples, who holds the rank of Career Minister, was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1947.  He received his B.A. in Political Science from the University of Southern California and an M.A. in Business from Central Michigan University.  He and his wife, Jo Ann Fuson Staples, have one daughter, Catherine.  They have a permanent home in Pineville, Kentucky.

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