Social Media Objects

Sports Diplomacy
Sports Diplomacy 150 150

What do sports have to do with diplomacy?

People are at the heart of diplomacy. The U.S. Department of State engages youth, students, educators, artists, athletes, and rising leaders around the world and the United States through many types of exchange programs, striving to reflect the diversity of the U.S. and the global society. Sports exchanges have long proven to be a popular venue to bring people of all backgrounds together, oftentimes paving the way for further discussion and collaboration.

Ping pong diplomacy:

Zhuang Zedong, the Chinese ping pong player whose chance interaction with an American player helped lead to the “ping pong diplomacy” of the 1970s, presented this inscribed paddle to former Secretary Kissinger in 2007.

Baseball base:

This base was in play during innings 4 through 6 of the March 22, 2016, exhibition game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban National Team at Estadio Latinoame, Havana, Cuba. U.S. President Barack Obama and his family and Cuban President Raoul Castro attended the game. The game occurred during Obama’s historic visit to Cuba after the two countries re-established official diplomatic relations in 2015.

Gift Exchange
Gift Exchange 150 150

What type of gifts do Secretaries of State receive?

Secretaries of State receive wide variety gifts from many foreign officials and private citizens around the world. Gift giving is an age-old diplomatic tradition and is a common ceremonial aspect of diplomatic visits. Oftentimes, the gift reflects the tastes and personality of the giver. The gift may also reflect the culture and natural resources of the giver’s country of origin. There are laws setting limits on the gifts that government officials are allowed to personally keep. The Diplomacy Center has a selection of gifts to Secretaries of State in its collection. A few examples include:

 

Personalized tea set:

In the late 1990s, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright played a key role in managing the U.S. response, through NATO, to the hostilities that broke out in the Kosovo/Serbia region.  One of the tools she utilized was what she called “conference call diplomacy” where she participated in a daily conference call with her foreign minister counterparts to share information and plan strategy during this war.  The core participants were Foreign Ministers Robin Cook (UK), Hubert Vedrine (France), Joschka Fischer (Germany), and Lamberto Dini (Italy).  Additionally, regular communications included Foreign Ministers Igor Ivanov (Russia) and Lloyd Axworthy (Canada).  Their constant communication not only resulted in a strong NATO response to the tragedy unfolding in the region, but also a strong friendship based on trust and a common understanding of the partnership.

 

These foreign ministers gathered at a dinner in Paris in January 2001 to honor Secretary Albright as she finished her tenure as Secretary of State.  Igor Ivanov presented Secretary Albright with a spectacular blue and white Russian porcelain tea set.  The 7 cups in the set feature the images of the faces of Secretary Albright and these six foreign minister counterparts [Igor Ivanov (Russia), Robin Cook (UK), Hubert Vedrine (France), Joschka Fischer (Germany), Lloyd Axworthy (Canada), and Lamberto Dini (Italy)].  The set’s round tray is inscribed “Madeleine and Her Dream Team” in gold lettering.

 

Vodka bottle:

This bottle of vodka in the shape of an AK-47 assault rifle was a lighthearted gift from Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov to Secretary Colin Powell on the occasion of his 65th birthday in 2002. Also known as a Kalashnikov rifle, it was originally designed in the 1940’s for the Soviet military. Colin Powell has recounted on a few occasions, with some humor, that he was dismayed when Protocol officials deemed this gift to be “over value” and he was not allowed to consume its contents.

 

Qadhafi gifts:

This locket and diamond ring were gifts to Secretary Condoleezza Rice from Muammar Qadhafi in 2008. She was the first U.S. Secretary of State to visit Libya in over 50 years and was the most senior U.S. official to ever meet with Colonel Qadhafi. The locket has Qadhafi’s image engraved on the inside. It was well known that he had a “crush” on Secretary Rice. He lavished her with praise during her visit. About the historic visit, Secretary Rice said: “This demonstrates that the United States does not have permanent enemies. It demonstrates that if countries are prepared to make strategic changes in direction, the United States is prepared to respond.”

Global Issues
Global Issues 150 150

What do a fire helmet, a missile launcher, and a Carnival costume have to do with diplomacy?

Each of these items represents a global issue that shapes the practice of diplomacy today. U.S. diplomats serve our nation by securing peace, increasing prosperity, promoting democracy, and sustaining development efforts worldwide, benefiting Americans at home. In practice, their efforts take many forms, involve many people, and can be surprising.

This yellow fire helmet represents an important life-saving partnership between the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Los Angeles County Fire Department (LACoFD). LACoFD’s Urban Search and Rescue Team serves with distinction as one of two departments in the U.S. trained and authorized to deploy with USAID disaster response teams to international crises. Notably, they assist with the search and rescue of survivors after powerful earthquakes, such as in Nepal in 2015 and Mexico in 2017. The team also provides training and equipment for local first responders. By providing emergency life-saving assistance, the United States helps these nations back to a path to recovery and stability.

This inert SA7 model of a Man Portable Air Defense System (MANPADS) is an example of a type of conventional weapon removed under programs funded by the U.S. Department of State. These programs support foreign governments’ efforts to remove, secure, and/or destroy these weapons that threaten the health and security of their citizens. These efforts counter the illicit proliferation and use of MANPADS. In the hands of terrorists, criminals, or other non-state actors, MANPADS pose a serious threat to commercial and military aircraft around the world.

In 2017, U.S. Consulate General Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, invited dancer and Paralympian Amy Purdy to represent the U.S. as a cultural envoy during the annual Carnival celebrations. Amy is a double amputee who danced in the opening of the Paralympics, won a snowboarding bronze in 2014, was a runner up in Dancing with the Stars, and is a well-respected motivational speaker. She participated in the U.S. Consulate General Rio’s partnership with the samba school Unidos da Tijuca. Amy promoted the shared U.S.-Brazilian musical heritage and messages focused on disability rights and women’s empowerment. Amy’s rhinestone studded costume was the first-ever designed for a double-amputee athlete/dancer during Carnival.

The Department of State sends American arts professionals, known as cultural envoys, around the world to U.S. embassies and consulates to perform or run workshops in their areas of expertise — including dance, drama, visual art, poetry, literature, film, and more.

#AskACurator
#AskACurator 150 150

Ever wonder what kind objects we use to tell the story of American diplomacy at the U.S. Diplomacy Center?

Don’t wonder, ask our curator! For the first time in our museum’s history, we’ll be answering your questions about our collection. Between 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM EDT on September 12, 2018, tweet us questions about the only museum collection dedicated to telling the story of American diplomacy. Our Directory Mary Kane, Associate Curator Kathryn Speckart, and Public Historian Dr. Alison Mann will be on hand to answer your questions. Initiated on Twitter in 2010, Ask a Curator Day is a worldwide Q&A that now has over 1,500 participating museums from 58 countries, is taking place. Tweet us at @DiplomacyCenter and use the #AskaCurator to participate! Or dive in right away!

A Passport Without A Photo
A Passport Without A Photo 150 150

Before affixed photographs were required in 1914, applicants swore “solemnly and sincerely” to be U.S. citizens and identified themselves by facial features, hair, eye, and complexion color. This is one of the oldest passports in our collection from 1859-belonging to Samuel Waller (1824-1864). A New York City dry goods importer, Waller traveled frequently to Europe to buy fine clothing for resale. While passports for international travel were not required until 1941, U.S. travelers often did so to prove their American citizenship for protection during foreign wars; in Waller’s case, the Franco-Austrian War. His economic forays served him well, for at the time of his death at the age of 40, his estate was valued at $166,000 (2.5 million today)! Waller identified himself as having a “straight” mouth, “round” chin, and “florid” (ruddy) complexion. But how could anyone tell under that fashionable beard!

Embassies as Safe Houses
Embassies as Safe Houses 150 150

Cardinal Jozsef Mindszenty was the highest Catholic official in Hungary in the mid-20th century, and a vociferous opponent of communism.  After WWII, as the Soviet Union’s political influence extended through Eastern Europe, Mindszenty was tried, convicted of treason in 1949, and sentenced to life in prison.  He was released in 1956 during a political reform movement, which the Soviet army quickly suppressed.  Realizing his life was in danger, Mindszenty sought and received asylum as a political dissident at U.S. Embassy Budapest on November 4, 1956—the same day of the Soviet invasion.  The Cardinal remained at the embassy for 15 years, leaving in 1971 to seek medical treatment in Vienna, where he died in 1975.  Before leaving the embassy, he gave his missal to an American Foreign Service Officer in gratitude to the United States.  Now in our collection, the missal is a liturgical book containing instructions, prayers, and texts necessary for the celebration of Catholic Mass throughout the year.

Camp David Peace Accords
Camp David Peace Accords 150 150

On September 17, 1978, the Camp David Peace Accords were signed by Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. President Jimmy Carter facilitated the long negotiations at the presidential retreat in Maryland in 1978. The talks represented the importance of diplomacy and paved the way for the March 26, 1979 signing of a formal peace treaty, notably ending the state of war, the Israeli military withdrawal from the Sinai, Egypt’s formal recognition of the state of Israel, and granting Israeli ships use of the Suez Canal.

Dayton Peace Accords
Dayton Peace Accords 150 150

December 14 marks the 22nd anniversary of the signing of the Dayton Peace Accords in Paris, France. For 21 days in November, Secretary of State Warren Christopher and Assistant Secretary of State for Canadian and European Affairs Richard Holbrooke led negotiations with the Presidents from Serbia, Croatia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina at Wright-Patterson Airforce Base in Dayton, Ohio to end the three-year war in Bosnia. Intense fighting had broken out in the Balkans, after the 1992 collapse of Yugoslavia. Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Macedonia, and Montenegro all claimed independent sovereign constituent states, but ethnic tensions and contested borders erupted into full-scale war shortly thereafter. The brunt of the fighting centered around Sarajevo, at the border of Serbia and Bosnia. Throughout 1994 and 1995, UN Peacekeeping troops had failed to end the war, and the Clinton administration called for a “new era in Balkan diplomacy.”
A seasoned diplomat with 30 years of experience, Richard Holbrooke designed a negotiation strategy to attain agreement on three points: ending the bloodshed in Bosnia, the safe withdrawal of UN Peacekeeping troops, and defining the borders of Bosnian territory. To achieve these goals, Holbrooke utilized a dual method of what he defined as “lock-up” and “step-by-step” diplomacy. The presidents of the three combatant countries were housed close to one another in a compound—facilitating ease of access in informal discussions. They also had no contact with the press, ensuring that external media speculation would not hinder the negotiation process. Holbrooke built coalitions within the parties and had them agree to small concessions before moving forward to another issue, providing a stepping stone of agreement for each point of contention. The final framework was achieved 20 minutes before the talks were scheduled to end, resulting in bringing lasting peace to the region: a unifying governing structure for Bosnia-Herzegovina, a commitment to free democratic elections with international supervision, and a pledge to allow the international community to monitor compliance, and a commitment to “respect human rights and the rights of refugees and displaced persons.”

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Passports for Protection
Passports for Protection 150 150

American passport = protection. This 1798 passport is the oldest in our collection.  It was issued to wealthy Bostonian David Hinckley. The story behind this early passport is quite interesting. Americans did not need a passport to travel abroad, yet many nations required proof of U.S. citizenship to exit their country. Many Americans “passed” through a “port” like David Hinckley did as part of a merchants’ group traveling from Dover to London on business. American Minister to Great Britain, Rufus King, as an agent of the government of the United States, used the first person “I” to ensure Hinckley would be permitted to “pass without giving or suffering any molestation or hindrance.” Note the use of our current cursive “f” instead of our current “s” in the spelling!