Membership Criteria


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.


New Member Lunch 2014
Amb. Neumann addresses the newly elected members of the Academy for 2014 at our New Member Luncheon.

Criteria for the Selection of New Members


  1. In considering candidates for membership, factors such as the following should be taken into account:
    *   Demonstrated distinguished accomplishments
    *   Sustained performance, preferably including more than one significant foreign affairs or diplomatic assignment
    *   Demonstrated continuing interest in foreign affairs
    *   Balance between geographic and functional expertise
    *   Diversity of professional backgrounds, race and gender, career and non-career experience.
  2. All former secretaries of state as honorary members.
  3. All former deputy secretaries, under secretaries, heads of USAID, assistant secretaries, Directors of policy planning staffs, Directors general of the Foreign Service, counselors of the Department, and NSC senior directors, who preferably have held a chief of mission post as well.
  4. Former chiefs of mission who preferably have held at least two chiefs of mission posts, one of which is deemed to be of major diplomatic importance.
  5. Former ambassadors who have held positions of national distinction (g. Members of Congress, governors, university Presidents, Presidents of major national institutions.)
  6. All former representatives to the United Nations in New York.
  7. Secretaries of Cabinet Departments and their deputies, Directors and deputy directors of National Intelligence and the CIA, and NSC advisers to the President.
  8. Former Combatant Commanders (CINC’s), Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
  9. Former chairpersons and ranking minority members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, or other committees of the Congress.
  10. Other exceptionally qualified persons who as a result of their contributions in the field of foreign affairs merit admission.
  11. No one serving in the US Government is deemed eligible for active membership.