ISD Hosts High-Level Diplomats For 2017-2018 School Year

Healy Hall

Through the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, Georgetown students have the opportunity to engage with diplomatic practitioners with distinguished careers in foreign service.


October 16, 2017 by by Alfredo Carrillo and Matt Raab

The School of Foreign Service welcomes four State Department senior diplomats as Georgetown Institute for the Study of Diplomacy (ISD) 2017 – 2018 Fellows. Ambassadors Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Stephen D. Mull (SFS ’82), and John A. Heffern will teach at the undergraduate and graduate levels, lead mentorship programs, and conduct research for ISD. They are joined by former Acting U.S. Special Envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Arsalan Suleman (SFS ’03), who will be guest lecturing and doing research on U.S. foreign policy.

Established in 1978, ISD serves as a bridge between senior diplomatic practitioners and Georgetown. Through its Fellows program, ISD seeks to give students opportunities to engage with these experts and understand the conduct of diplomacy and the complexities of the diplomatic process, according to ISD Director Barbara Bodine.

“The goal was to bring together the real-world experience and perspective of the practitioner with the exceptional scholarship of this University to enhance and expand a broader understanding and appreciation of diplomacy as the core tool of national foreign policy,” Bodine says.

The members of this year’s class of ISD Fellows arrive with years of experience in foreign service, which they will share with students and the rest of the Georgetown community.

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield

Former Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield joined ISD last spring as Senior State Department Fellow. Newly retired from the Foreign Service, she will become ISD’s inaugural Distinguished Fellow on African Affairs on November 1, thanks to a generous grant from a member of the ISD Board of Advisers.

With a 34-year career in the Foreign Service that has taken her to Liberia, Nigeria, The Gambia, Pakistan, and Geneva, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield received the 2017 Hubert H. Humphrey Public Leadership Award from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs in recognition of her work promoting the values of humanitarianism and responsible global engagement. She looks forward to the chance to offer students insights on development and humanitarian assistance, and encourage the next generation of foreign affairs professionals.

“This is a major milestone for ISD and there is no one more qualified than Linda, former Ambassador to Liberia and former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs. We are honored to host Linda for the year and know she will be an invaluable asset to the students and the School,” Bodine says.

Ambassador Stephen Mull

Ambassador Stephen D. Mull (SFS ’82)

Ambassador Mull served as Lead Coordinator for Iran Nuclear Implementation between August 2015 and August 2017, where he led the U.S. government interagency efforts and diplomacy to implement the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to constrain Iran’s nuclear program.

This fall, he is co-teaching a master’s seminar on “Diplomatic and Military Statecraft” as well as an undergraduate seminar on the JCPOA, more commonly known as the Iran nuclear agreement.

“I really look forward to connecting with students and serving as a resource for anyone interested in the practitioner’s perspective on foreign policy making and implementation,” Mull says.

Mull plans to take full advantage of the opportunity to examine U.S. foreign policy from an analytical perspective, and make the most of his return to his alma mater.

When I left here, I couldn’t escape the feeling that I hadn’t fully benefitted from all that Georgetown has to offer, given the demands of having to work to put myself through school and a heavy load of extracurricular activities. Coming back is my shot at redemption!

Ambassador John Heffern

Ambassador John A. Heffern

Ambassador Heffern, former Acting Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, is also co-teaching the graduate seminar and has been pleased with the academic level of students at Georgetown.

“I have never taught before and am enjoying it very much. I’m very impressed with our students and look forward to more,” he says. “In the spring, I’ll be teaching a class on NATO-Russia relations.”

Heffern, whose previous posts also include Deputy Chief of Mission for NATO and in Jakarta, expressed his gratitude to Georgetown, adding that he will enjoy mentoring students just starting out on their career paths, particularly those considering a career in public service.

My goal here is to promote public service, specifically the Foreign Service, with talented Georgetown students. The students ISD engages with graduate with many options. They seem very appreciative of the opportunity to talk with diplomacy practitioners, and learn more about the many rewards of public service.

Former Acting U.S. Special Envoy Arsalan Suleman

Former Acting U.S. Special Envoy Arsalan Suleman (SFS ’03)

Suleman, former Acting U.S. Special Envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, views his return to Georgetown as a “homecoming.”

“I will be guest lecturing in a few classes and am working on some writing projects, including case studies for ISD,” Suleman says. “I am also participating in the GU Politics Mentorship Program and look forward to engaging with other interested Georgetown students.”

Suleman has worked with European, Middle Eastern, African, and Asian leaders in his career, and he hopes to use that experience to contribute to the debate about the future of U.S. foreign policy, while also learning from the discussions taking place on campus.

“I look forward to learning from and contributing to a much-needed public dialogue about the critical role for diplomacy and engagement in American foreign policy,” Suleman says.

For more information about ISD’s programs and Fellows, see