Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training
FounderStephen Low, Herbert Hansell, and Richard B. Parker
Coordinates38°52′04″N 77°06′06″W / 38.867647°N 77.101536°W / 38.867647; -77.101536Coordinates: 38°52′04″N 77°06′06″W / 38.867647°N 77.101536°W / 38.867647; -77.101536
ProductsWorld's largest collection of U.S. diplomatic oral history, two book series, and “Moments in U.S. Diplomatic History” short articles series
FieldsInternational Relations (IR), American History, World History, Intelligence Studies, Diplomatic Studies
Susan Rockwell Johnson[1]
Jeremy Beer [1]

The Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training (ADST) is a United States non-profit organization established in 1986 by retired Foreign Service officers. It produces and shares oral histories by American diplomats and facilitates the publication of books about diplomacy by diplomats and others. Its Foreign Affairs Oral History program has recorded over 2,500 oral histories and continues to grow; its book series includes over 100 books. ADST is located on the campus of the Foreign Service Institute in Arlington, Virginia.

Organizational mission

ADST promotes the importance of U.S. diplomacy by capturing, preserving, and sharing the experiences of America’s diplomats and other foreign affairs professionals to enrich diplomatic practitioners’ professional knowledge and strengthen public appreciation of diplomacy’s contribution to the national interest. ADST programs include:

Oral history project

ADST's major initiative is the Foreign Affairs Oral History Project'. ADST interviews American diplomats after departure from government service about their career experiences and professional insights and assessments of leaders, successful and unsuccessful policies, and foreign conflicts.[2] The oral history project was begun in the 1980s by retired U.S. Foreign Service officer Charles “Stu” Kennedy, who, after listening to several eulogies given at an ambassador's funeral, became concerned that the historically valuable personal recollections of U.S. diplomats might be lost forever if not recorded.[3][4] Originally sponsored by Georgetown University's Lauinger Library, ADST subsequently assumed ownership of the project.[5] The oral history collection is regularly referenced by scholars, authors, and media, including The Washington Post', The Atlantic, C-SPAN, RealClearPolitics, and others.[6][7][8]

Since 1986, ADST’s Foreign Affairs Oral History Program has recorded more than 2,500 interviews with former participants in the U.S. foreign affairs process. Collectively, these oral histories span over 80 years and provide first-person accounts of many dramatic incidents in U.S. diplomacy, such as the Iran hostage crisis, the Beirut and Nairobi bombings, accounts from World War II, the Vietnam War, and more recent narratives from 9/11, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Annually about 60 new interviews are added. The collection also contains significant oral histories dealing with U.S. diplomacy provided by universities and presidential libraries.

The oral history collection has become one of the largest in the country on any subject and the most significant archive on foreign affairs. Oral histories have been used as source material for several books, such as John Pomfret’s The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom: America and China, 1776 to the Present, Derek Leebaert's Grand Improvisation: America Confronts the British Superpower, 1945-1957, Timothy Weiner's Legacy of Ashes, and Margaret MacMillan's Nixon and Mao: The Week That Changed the World.

The Oral History Collection is a part of the Library of Congress American Memory collection. It is unclassified, available to the public, and can be found at the Library’s Frontline Diplomacy website. It is also available on ADST’s site under Oral History Interviews.

Other ADST resources include the video seriesTales of American Diplomacy”, podcasts, and articles highlighting “Moments in U.S. Diplomatic History”; several resources have overlapping content in different formats to increase accessibility. ADST’s education landing page features six model high school lesson plans on diplomacy, based on oral history primary source material for educators. Country readers and subject readers comprising excerpts from oral histories compiled by country or topic facilitate research and enhance background knowledge.

In order to honor and highlight the diversity of the Foreign Service, ADST has compiled a legacy collection of the oral histories of African American diplomats and diplomats of Latino descent.


ADST has facilitated the Dept 2018 and beyond/ publication of over 100 books pertaining to diplomacy, international history, and the Foreign Service. Books published in its Diplomats and Diplomacy Series include Nicholas Platt’s China Boys: How U.S. Relations with the PRC Began and Grew, Jane C, Loeffler’s The Architecture of Diplomacy: Building America’s Embassies, Herman J. Cohen’s The Mind of the African Strongman: Conversations with Dictators, Statesmen, and Father Figures, Joyce E. Leader’s From Hope to Horror: Diplomacy and the Making of the Rwanda Genocide, autobiographies of Brandon Grove, Robert H. Miller, and David Newson, and dozens of others.[9] Among the life stories in ADST’s Memoirs and Occasional Papers Series are those of Diego Asencio, John Gunther Dean, Ginny Carson Young, Deane R. Hinton, and Robert E. Gribbin.

ADST is a 501(c)3 organization headquartered at the George P. Shultz National Foreign Affairs Training Center in Arlington, Virginia.[10] Its founders included retired ambassador and Foreign Service Institute director Stephen Low, Richard B. Parker, and Herbert Hansell.

See also


  1. ^ a b "ADST Staff". ADST. Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
  2. ^ "Frontline Diplomacy: The Foreign Affairs Oral History Collection of the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training". Library of Congress. Retrieved February 21, 2017.Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  3. ^ "It happened to me: Diplomats recount stories of crisis and survival". WFED. September 19, 2014. Retrieved February 21, 2017.
  4. ^ Aldrich, Richard (July 1993). "The Foreign Affairs Oral History Program". Diplomacy & Statecraft. 4 (2): 210–216. doi:10.1080/09592299308405882.
  5. ^ "History". Institute for the Study of Diplomacy. Georgetown University. Retrieved February 21, 2017.
  6. ^ Torry, Jack (August 9, 2015). "Don't Blame Nixon for Scuttled Peace Overture". RealClearPolitics. Retrieved February 21, 2017.
  7. ^ Langer, Emily (December 25, 2016). "Christian Chapman, U.S. diplomat who survived assassination attempt, dies at 95". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 21, 2017.
  8. ^ "The Diplomatic Life: It's Not All Striped Trousers and Sips of Tea". The Atlantic. December 18, 2014. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
  9. ^ "Publications". ADST. Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
  10. ^ "SCC efile". ASSOCIATION FOR DIPLOMATIC STUDIES AND TRAINING. Secretary of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Retrieved February 22, 2017.