Mission and History
The Academy’s mission is to support and strengthen U.S. diplomacy and enhance public appreciation of its critical role in advancing the national interest.
In pursuit of its goals, the Academy supports programs that help diplomats respond to a world undergoing change, highlights past achievements and future opportunities for U.S. diplomacy, advocates for the resources needed to conduct an effective foreign policy, and fosters constructive debate on the best use of U.S. diplomatic assets.
Academy members are former career and non-career U.S. government officials who have served with distinction in international affairs. They are elected by their peers based on criteria of professionalism and achievement, and reflecting the Academy’s commitment to diversity.
The Academy was founded in 1983 by Ambassadors Ellsworth Bunker and U. Alexis Johnson, who together with John J. McCloy convened a meeting to explore ways in which persons who had served in positions of major responsibility could cooperate to promote the highest standards in American diplomatic practice. They were encouraged in this effort by several of the then-serving members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Today, the Academy continues its mission and is dedicated to strengthening the resources and tools America brings to managing its diplomatic challenges. It accomplishes this through outreach programs, lectures, awards, publications, and writing competitions. Through these activities, the Academy promotes an understanding of the importance of diplomacy to serving our nation and improving the practice of American foreign policy. Since 2008, the Academy has focused particularly on issues of resources, personnel strength, and professional education and training for today’s diplomats. Both the world and the Foreign Service are changing. New problems of inadequate numbers of mid-career officers, security worries, and expansion of the requirements for diplomacy make it imperative that the Foreign Service and its companion services under the authority of the Secretary of State continue to adapt to provide the highest quality of professionalism in service to the nation’s foreign policy goals.