May 20, 2018



Former career diplomats Thomas Pickering, William Burns, Tom Countryman and Janice Jacobs join the faculty of WIDA’s Summer Diplomatic Academy.


Ambassadors Thomas Pickering and William Burns Join Faculty of 2018 Summer Diplomatic Academy


WASHINGTON, May 20, 2018 — The Washington International Diplomatic Academy (WIDA) announced today the faculty of the Summer Diplomatic Academy, WIDA’s practical training program for students and young professionals pursuing careers in diplomacy, which will take place July 16-27, 2018.

Participants in the program from the United States, Europe, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East will learn from leading career diplomats, such as William J. Burns, former deputy secretary of state, and Thomas R. Pickering, former undersecretary of state for political affairs and seven-time ambassador.

“We are immensely honored and genuinely thrilled that our faculty includes some of the preeminent American diplomats of the last several decades,” said WIDA’s Executive Director Nicholas Kralev. “The very enthusiastic and committed participants we have selected from several countries will learn insights and skills from superb practitioners at a time when effective diplomacy is more needed than ever.”

Below is the full faculty list in alphabetical order.

Ambassador Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley
Abercrombie-Winstanley is a former U.S. ambassador to Malta, consul-general in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and deputy coordinator for counterterrorism at the State Department. During more than three decades as a career diplomat, she also served in Iraq, Egypt, Israel and Indonesia, as well as at the White House and the Foreign Service Institute.

Ambassador Tom Armbruster
Armbruster is a former U.S. ambassador to the Marshall Islands. He also served as consul-general at American consulates in Russia and Mexico, as well as deputy chief of mission in Tajikistan. At the beginning of his 30-year Foreign Service career, he was posted to Finland and Cuba.

Ambassador William J. Burns
Burns is the president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a former deputy secretary of state. A retired career ambassador in the U.S. Foreign Service, he also served as undersecretary for political affairs, assistant secretary for Near Eastern affairs, and ambassador to Russia and Jordan.

Tom Countryman
Countryman is a former assistant secretary of state for international security and nonproliferation. During his 34-year Foreign Service career, he served in Serbia, Egypt, Greece, Italy and at the United Nations, among many assignments. He is chairman of the board of the Arms Control Association.

Robert Dry
Dry is a retired Foreign Service officer, who currently teaches at New York University. He was deputy chief of mission and chargé d’affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Oman, as well as economic counselor in Vietnam. He also served in Iraq, China, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and France.

Ambassador Charles Ford
Ford is a retired career minister in the U.S. Foreign Commercial Service, where he held the position of director-general. A former ambassador to Honduras, he also served in Britain, Spain, Venezuela, Guatemala and Argentina. He is the treasurer of the American Foreign Service Association.

Ambassador Janice Jacobs
Jacobs is a former assistant secretary of state for consular affairs. She was also ambassador to Senegal and Guinea-Bissau, and deputy chief of mission in the Dominican Republic. In addition, she served in Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Mexico, Nigeria and Thailand.

Nicholas Kralev
Kralev is WIDA’s executive director. A former Financial Times and Washington Times correspondent, he witnessed firsthand the conduct of American diplomacy while accompanying four U.S. secretaries of state on their travels around the world — Hillary Clinton, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell and Madeleine Albright. He is the author of America’s Other Army and Diplomats in the Trenches.

Ambassador Thomas Pickering
Pickering is a former undersecretary of state for political affairs and a seven-time U.S. ambassador: to Russia, India, Israel, Jordan, Nigeria, El Salvador and the United Nations. He is currently chairman of the boards of the American Academy of Diplomacy and the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University.

Ambassador Marc Wall
Wall is a former ambassador to Chad and minister-counselor for economic and science affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. He has also served in China, Taiwan, Iraq, Zimbabwe and Côte d’Ivoire, as well as at the United States Pacific Command in Honolulu and on the State Department’s policy-planning staff in Washington.

Lynne Weil
Weil is a senior communications professional with experience on Capitol Hill, at the State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Broadcasting Board of Governors. She is currently communications director and senior policy adviser to Congresswoman Diana DeGette, a Colorado Democrat.

Jack Zetkulic
A 26-year veteran of the U.S. Foreign Service, Zetkulic has conducted and overseen training for both American and foreign diplomats. He has held more than a dozen diplomatic and other national security positions in Washington and overseas. He has a high level of expertise in both the practice and management of diplomacy, having led embassies as a chargé d’affaires. He is a board member of the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training.