The Influence of International Exchange Programs on Diplomacy

On January 12th, 2021, Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering gave a virtual lecture on the Influence of International Exchange Programs on Diplomacy, introduced by Dr. Richard T. Arndt, retired US diplomat and founding chair of the Lois Roth Foundation. The lecture touched upon Pickering’s own experience studying abroad in Australia, which inspired him to look towards a career in diplomacy. Pickering also spoke regarding the benefits of exchange programs in terms of building international diplomacy, and called on the US to expand its current exchange programs to encourage engagement abroad.

Ambassador Pickering dedicated more than forty years of his career to US foreign diplomacy, including as the US Ambassador to the UN, Jordan, Nigeria, El Salvador, Israel and Russia. He then served as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. Following his retirement, the State Department renamed its  Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship Program in his honor. In 2002, The American Foreign Service Association presented Pickering with its Lifetime Contributions to American Diplomacy Award.

Roth Foundation programs are built around the core belief that international exchanges, such as those enhanced by our Project Support grants, are a type of cultural diplomacy, as they enable and encourage dialogue between people across the world, with different upbringings and experiences. This virtual lecture was organized by Dr. Manfred Phillipp of the DAAD Alumni Association; DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service), which is parallel to the U.S.’s Fulbright program.

Watch a recording of the lecture below:


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