Carnegie Corporation of New York Awards $750,000 in Support of American Diplomacy

Carnegie Corporation of New York announced today a $750,000 grant to support educational exhibits, lectures, and a conference series at the United States Diplomacy Center (USDC) in Washington, D.C. The result of a public-private partnership between the U.S. Department of State and the Diplomacy Center Foundation, the center aims to provide greater historical understanding of diplomacy’s role and accomplishments in U.S. foreign policy. The museum is currently under construction and is expected to open in 2017.

The USDC’s mission is closely aligned with that of Carnegie Corporation’s founder Andrew Carnegie, who was deeply committed to international peace, diplomacy, education, and the sharing of knowledge. The center seeks to inform the general public about the historical accomplishments of diplomacy, as well as its effect on our daily lives through the advancement of peace and security, promotion of trade and economic stability, the management and resolution of conflicts among countries, and the strengthening of international relief efforts. 

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Five former Secretaries of State joined Secretary of State John F. Kerry to break ground on the new U.S. Diplomacy Center Pavilion on September 3, 2014. Courtesy Department of State

“Diplomacy and the work of U.S. diplomats in over 250 embassies, consulates, and other diplomatic missions are vital to America’s power, image, and ability to advance its interests around the globe,” said Carnegie Corporation president Vartan Gregorian. “Despite its inestimable contributions, however, the role of American diplomacy and development assistance is often unknown to the general public. The center will help bring to light diplomacy’s crucial part in shaping our nation.”

Gregorian added that while the center is a tribute to all diplomats, the Corporation’s support particularly recognizes the foundation’s past and present trustees, many of whom have either served as diplomats or have made a meaningful commitment to public service. To this end, the Corporation’s funding will help launch a new conference series hosted by the USDC in honor of former Deputy Secretary of State John C. Whitehead, a Carnegie Corporation trustee from 1979 to 1985 and 1989 to 1993, who passed away in February 2015. The future John C. Whitehead Conference Series will bring together historians, scholars, students, and diplomats to explore U.S. engagement in a wide variety of issues around the world. 

The first conference, Why Diplomacy?, will be held in the fall of 2015 and will include topics such as combatting violent extremism, pursuing talks on nuclear nonproliferation, re-engaging diplomatic relations with Cuba, and promoting citizen exchanges and trade opportunities. College and high school students and their teachers will have an opportunity to engage with diplomats and Department of State staff to learn how they deal with these issues and work with international partners to solve problems of mutual concern. The discussions will be webcast for online distribution to a broader audience.  

Carnegie Corporation is also supporting the design and fabrication of educational exhibits. They will feature hands-on activities and significant artifacts drawn from the Center’s collection of more than 6,000 objects that illustrate America’s diplomatic heritage, art, and culture. For example, a major exhibit, “The Dangerous Work of Diplomacy,” will explain the often perilous work of diplomacy and will honor those who have sacrificed their lives in service to the nation. Visitors will learn firsthand how U.S. embassies and consulates serve and protect U.S. citizens abroad. 

The USDC will be the first center of its type and is expected to cost $60 million. The Corporation and other benefactors are funding the building design and construction; exhibit design, fabrication, and installation; and educational programs including conferences and forums. In addition, the center seeks to raise money for an endowment fund to support ongoing operations.

Starting as early as 1911, Carnegie Corporation trustees who were either diplomats or public servants are listed alphabetically with their past or present roles and include the following:

Kofi Annan Secretary-General, United Nations 
Pedro Aspe Finance Minister, Mexico 
Newton D. Baker U.S. Secretary of War 
Richard I. Beattie Special Advisor, Secretary of State; Deputy Mayor, New York City 
Warren Randolph Burgess Ambassador, NATO 
Richard F. Celeste Governor, Ohio; U.S. Ambassador to India 
Warren Christopher U.S. Secretary of State 
Edward P. Djerejian U.S. Ambassador to Israel 
John W. Gardner U.S. Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare 
David F. Houston U. S. Secretary of the Treasury 
James B. Hunt Governor, North Carolina 
Thomas H. Kean Governor, New Jersey 
Francis Keppel U.S. Commissioner of Education 
Frederick P. Keppel Assistant Secretary of War 
George C. Marshall U.S. Secretary of State 
Malcolm A. MacIntyre Under Secretary of the Air Force 
Newton Minnow Chairman, Federal Communications Commission 
Thomas Pickering Under Secretary of State; Career Ambassador 
Phillip R. Lee Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 
Russel C. Leffingwell U.S. Assistant Secretary of the Treasury 
Sam Nunn U.S. Senator, Georgia 
Admiral William A. Owens Vice Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff 
Olara Otunnu Under-Secretary General, United Nations 
Stephen A. Oxman U.S. Assistant Secretary of State 
Ana Palacio Foreign Minister, Spain 
Condoleeza Rice U.S. Secretary of State 
Richard W. Riley Governor, South Carolina; U.S. Secretary of Education 
Elihu Root U.S. Secretary of State 
Judy P. Rosenstreich Vermont Legislator 
Robert E. Rubin U.S. Secretary of the Treasury 
Jorge Sampaio President, Portugal 
Kurt L. Schmoke Mayor, Baltimore 
Shirin R. Tahir-Kheli Alternate U.S. Representative to the United Nations and Special Assistant to the President, National Security Council 
James D. WatkinsU.S. Secretary of Energy
John C. Whitehead U.S. Deputy Secretary of State 
Sheila Widnall U.S Secretary of the Air Force 
Ann Claire Williams U.S. Court of Appeals Judge 
James David WolfensohnPresident, World Bank Group and Special Envoy for Gaza Disengagement

About Carnegie Corporation of New York

Carnegie Corporation of New York was established in 1911 by Andrew Carnegie to promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding. In keeping with this mandate, the Corporation's work focuses on the issues that Andrew Carnegie considered of paramount importance: international peace, the advancement of education and knowledge, and the strength of our democracy.