Our Alumni Share Their Experiences

WIDA has more than 250 alumni across the United States and in over 40 other countries on five continents. They include students, recent graduates, mid-career professionals and senior executives. Some of them work or pursue careers in diplomacy, while others apply the diplomacy skills they learn to their work in other fields.

Nick Faust

“I’ve learned so much. Sitting down with the ambassadors was tremendous, because you get a window into the depth and breadth of their careers. The time spent here builds practice. You can look online or read a book, but to actually do it and be critiqued by people who had that experience is invaluable. You’ll get that nowhere else in the world.”

Pamela Jahier


“I applied to WIDA after doing extensive research and quickly determined that it was everything I was looking for. It offered the program that was going to give me the best insight into a career in diplomacy. And it topped all my expectations. I really felt immersed in everything foreign affairs. It changed my perception of things.”

Inga Chandilya


“It’s been an amazing experience. It’s a very international group of people. The huge benefit from this course is that you are really learning from experts — very experienced ex-ambassadors. It’s very practical. Almost every session you’ll have a practical case study and exercise. That’s what’s different from some of the European schools.”

Elizabeth Mellor

“This was one of the best summer experiences I’ve ever had. We were able to hear from current and former ambassadors. Their talks and testimony were so engaging and enlightening about diplomacy, which is a field not necessarily easy to learn about. There isn’t an ambassador down the street you can go talk to.”

Lite Seruvakula


“After thorough research, I found the summer course for international diplomacy with WIDA. The facilitators were very engaging and helped me to understand what I was looking for. In health diplomacy, for instance, the ambassador shared his experience of how he got resources from the U.S. to Africa, and what you have to think about in this kind of negotiations.”

Ikenna Ezealah

“I feel better equipped as I proceed along my career path. In the process of trying to resolve the issue at hand, based on the topic, and applying those fundamentals of diplomatic practice, you experience the different challenges a diplomat would run into. WIDA is an experiential immersion. It will give you tools and skills that you wouldn’t get anywhere else.”

Charlie Keohan


“As someone interested in a career in diplomacy, this program was a great experience for me. I was able to learn about practical elements of diplomatic work, including cross-cultural communication and diplomatic writing, as well as the inner workings of embassies around the world through real-life exercises.”

Rachel Boveja


“As a mid-career professional, this academy gave me the opportunity of a discourse with others from a variety of backgrounds and ages who were also interested in diplomacy. I benefited from instruction in diplomatic communication, public speaking and diplomatic negotiation. I look forward to using these skills throughout my career.”

Consuela Lahoury


“This was the best decision I made in 2019. I didn’t know it was that intensive, and I’d get such comprehensive knowledge of all the subjects I was interested in. It went beyond my expectations. The instructors were extremely knowledgeable, at a very high level.”

Tanner Dixon


“I highly recommend WIDA to anyone interested in the Foreign Service, politics or the private sector. Even though my experience was remote due to Covid-19, the real-life applications of the material we learned helped me to obtain an internship.

Walter Sterling


“I took the 2020 summer program, completely online, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in diplomacy. There was a huge diversity of instructors, and everyone who spoke had direct Foreign Service experience.”

Krystal Correal-Tippie


“If you are interested in a WIDA course, then take it and let nothing stop you. You will be pushed outside your comfort zone. You will meet unforgettable classmates and officials from around the world, and your perspectives will grow.”

Sara Andresen


“I wanted to explore more deeply the diplomacy venue of international relations. In some ways, it was what I expected, but I got a much clearer and deeper view of that. In other ways, it has given me insights into aspects of diplomacy that I wouldn’t necessarily have expected.”

Tony Baker


“You’d be hard-pressed, even in a town like Washington, D.C., to have had so much interaction with the level of diplomats we got to meet in this program: Bill Burns, Thomas Pickering, several ambassadors in very important posts throughout the world.”

Fabian Ruiz


“I think this is a very high-quality program. The fact that we were taught by ambassadors, people who have practiced in this field, was very encouraging. No matter what career path you take, diplomacy is a skill you will need.”

Keisha Gilkes


“It’s an amazing program for people starting out in the Foreign Service. But I also think it can be a refresher for people who have been in diplomacy for a long time, who now may need to learn new methods of communication and thinking.”

Selam Petersson


“Going behind the scenes of what it means to be a diplomat and learning from such experienced diplomats was invaluable. You won’t get that until after 20 or 30 years of actually being a diplomat. This training will give you such details, which I don’t think you can gain anywhere else.”

Myriam Puryicky


“I’m very glad that I’ve taken and benefited a lot from this program. If you really want to pursue diplomacy, this is a very good place to start. The program exceeded my expectations, and I definitely can say in a very confident manner that I’ve learned a lot here.”

Maksim Greinoman


“I wanted to learn something that’s not in the books, and for that you need experienced diplomats. The American approach is more down-to-earth than the European approach. It was interesting to see how they influence people in difficult circumstances.”

Latifa AlDarmaki


“I feel like I have more understanding not only about diplomacy, but also about different opportunities and fields, be it political, economic or public diplomacy. At this Academy, not only do you learn, but you also experience. I’m truly grateful.”

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