IESC President Delivers 2014 Adair Lecture on Diplomacy and Development

29-Aug-2014 Categories: Press Releases

Tom Miller delivering the 2014 Adair Lecture
Photo Debra Blome/American Foreign Service Association

On August 27, IESC President and CEO Tom Miller, a former ambassador and 30-year veteran of the State Department, delivered the 8th Annual Adair Memorial Lecture on U.S. Diplomacy at American University.  

Miller’s presentation, titled “The Nexus Between Diplomacy and Development: A Practitioner’s Perspective,” explored the relationship between two of the three D’s (the other being “defense). He argued for increased coordination and avoiding the tendency to “stovepipe,” and he criticized the administrations of both parties for their tendency to discard good practices and make changes for the sole purpose of doing something different.

Miller also discussed the growing “counter-bureaucracy” and its preoccupation with oversight and compliance to the detriment of funding the people and programs that actually work to achieve development goals. But during the lively question and answer session that followed, Miller urged the audience to keep the focus on doing good, which is the reason why Miller and many others went into the profession. “We need to work to improve an imperfect but admirable system,” Miller said.

Christian Maisch, an assistant professor in AU’s School of Professional and Extended Studies and one of the event’s organizers, described the presentation as “insightful, frank, and thought-provoking--a real inspiration for all of our students.”

The Adair lecture traditionally kicks off the fall semester at American University’s School of International Service. The lecture series is a partnership between the school and the American Foreign Service Association and is supported through an endowment from the Marshall P. Adair Family in honor of their parents, Caroline and Ambassador Charles Adair.

Read the entire speech here.