Executive Council on Diplomacy

History

Executive Council on Diplomacy History

The Executive Council on Diplomacy celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2012.  The Council traces its origins to the period following the Second World War and the Korean Conflict when the role of the United States in world affairs had changed significantly.  The reality of the post-war period found new nations and new political and economic developments on every continent. Diplomats representing the newly restructured world arrived at embassies in Washington and at the United Nations in New York with important issues to address and a genuine interest in learning about the United States government and American society.

Initially known as the Travel Program for Foreign Diplomats, the organization was founded in New York in 1962 and eventually became known as the Executive Council on Foreign Diplomacy. Its broad mission was to advance the understanding that foreign diplomats had about the people, economy and political system of the United States. The organization would sponsor trips throughout the country, introducing foreign diplomats to American leaders in business, government, and academia. The goal was to acquaint the Washington community of foreign diplomats with all aspects of American economic and political life. At the request of the Secretary of State, the Council later expanded its role to include education and training for U.S. diplomats.  The foreign service training program continues today as the Lawrence S. Eagleburger Fellowship Program.

In 1994 the Executive Council on Foreign Diplomacy affiliated with International Business-Government Counsellors, Inc., in Washington, D.C. The Board of Directors subsequently changed the organization’s name to the Executive Council on Diplomacy (ECD). From its inception, Council programs have been funded by contributions from the private sector.

Throughout 50 years of program activity, the Council has maintained its educational mission, while the world itself has undergone substantial shifts in power and realignments in international relations. The durability and effectiveness of the Council’s activities derive from two factors: its consistent and important mission and a unique program format which values diverse viewpoints and informality, while at the same time calling on experts in various fields to present facts and opinions. Today’s participants in ECD programs—foreign diplomats in Washington, representatives of American business, government and non-governmental institutions—find the Council’s work to be as relevant and vital to their mutual understanding as did their predecessors.

 

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