Over the past few days, I’ve been thinking about the remarkable change
in the role of women in the realm of diplomacy and international relations,
since I entered college in 1967, at Georgetown University’s Edmund A.
Walsh School of Foreign Service.
My musing was touched off by Madeleine Albright’s appearance on the
Charlie Rose Show on May 3, 2006 (guest host Andrea Mitchell; $.99
book, The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on America, God and World
Affairs. More musing was sparked yesterday, when I heard that British P.M.
Tony Blair had named Margaret Beckett Britain’s first woman Foreign Secretary
Albright, the first female U.S. Secretary of State, mentioned that gender did not
seem at all relevant when Condoleeza Rice was named as President Bush’s top
security advisor, nor when she was elevated to Secretary of State in 2005. She
then noted that the State Department now had so many women in important staff
and policy positions, who have been educated at Georgetown, that they are called
the “Georgetown Mafia” within the Department. [Albright used the phrase to close
a commencement speech at Georgetown in 1999: "the best of luck and come to
the Foreign Service and join the Georgetown Mafia."]
Read on for the tale of how a Georgetown Mafia came about. Let’s look at
Albright’s path and my own:
In 1963, Madeleine Albright gave birth to twins girls (Anne and Alice) and, in 1967,
her third daughter (Katharine) was born. For the next eight years, she was very
busy working on a doctorate from Columbia University (awarded in 1976), while
raising her children, serving on the board (and then as the first woman Chairman)
of the Beauvior School and working on the Muskie and Mondale presidential cam-
paigns. From 1976 to 1978, she served as Chief Legislative Assistant to Senator
Edmund S. Muskie, and then left to take a staff position at the National Security
In 1982, Albright came to Georgetown to teach. In Madam Secretary : A Memoir
(2003), she explains [at 99 - 100]:
“My charge at Georgetown was threefold: teach, create the Donnerwomen’s program [established "to encourage women to enter interna-tional relations"], and serve as a role model for the young women there.I believed that if women were to compete with men in the internationalarena, they needed to receive an education that prepared them for everychallenge, including those no woman had faced before.”
In contrast, here’s my tale for the same time period:
1963 – 1967 newspaper carrier, high school student1967 to 1971 student at GU School of Foreign Service1973 – 1976 law studentthereafter — practiced law for 20 years, with no internationalrelations subject matter;currently – occasionally offer amateur punditry on internationalaffairs issues; still wish there were more women around
Back to the issue of gender and international affairs: When I headed off to
Washington, D.C., in early September, 1967, I had all the usual hopes and
worries of a college freshman. One thing seemed strange about the SFS:
only 20 of the 220 freshman were female. For a guy who was shy in the
dating depatment that was not a good sign.
Things moved rapidly at that time. With the Vietnam War becoming a very
hotly disputed issue, many classmates found ourselves disillusioned with the
whole notion of — in the words of the SFS catalogue — “promoting and protecting
the nation’s international interests” through foreign service. (see Washington Post,
“GU Foreign Service School Seeks Identity,” March 24, 1970, which noted a 21
percent drop in applications to SFS in the past year, and quoted an idealist 21-year–
old chap named David Giacalone, who decried the School ”making us agents of Amer-
ican foreign and economic policy” and hoped SFS graduates could go out into the
international realm as “world citizens.”)
Several agitators (on a rather conservative and apathetic campus) started to
seek more student input in course requirements and content. My own inter-
est in broadening the notion of “international service” led me to run for the very
first elected student seat on the SFS Executive Committee, which was the School’s
policy-making board. [The first student on the Committee had been appointed the
prior year.] It was 1970. When I won (and I truly can’t remember if any one else
even wanted the position), I found myself in the lofty company of all the department
heads, the Dean, and a few other venerable faculty members. It was a bit stressful,
especially since none of the other Executive Committee members looked like this.
Luckily, my academic reputation was excellent, and my demeanor respectful, and
there were some friendly faces on the Committee, including the Dean.
By that time, I had learned that the paucity of female SFS students was not due
to a lack of applicants, but was caused by a quota — only 10% of the student body
was allowed to be female. (This was before federal laws banned such gender dis-
crimination.) My first proposal to the Executive Committee, therefore, was that
acceptance to the School be gender-neutral. The reaction from the “conservative”
and “traditionalist” members of the Committee (even a woman or two) was strong
“There are no jobs for women in the diplomatic field. (E.g.,Many countries would not accept women in American diplo-matic positions.) Therefore, it would be extremely unfair toyoung women to hold out the false hope of careers in inter-national relations by accepting them in large numbers tothe School of Foreign Service.”
I literally cannot remember how the voting broke down (I never kept a diary and
there were no personal computers, much less weblogs). Nor can I say what argu-
ments saved the day — although I’m betting the sharp dropoff in applications had
swayed a few minds. Nonetheless, my proposal was eventually adopted. The
oldest and largest school of international relations in the nation would henceforth
have a gender-neutral admissions policy.
The change was not quick enough to help my social life. A decade later,
when Madeleine Albright came to the School of Foreign Service, and created
the Donner Foundation to encourage women to enter the field, there was a
student body at the SFS that had a significant female presence, and a sizeable
cadre of well-educated women were ready to enter into the foreign service, and to
take public, private, and nonprofit positions in the field of international relations.
Yes, the change in admissions policy and in gender equality at the State Depart-
were certainly inevitable. Nonetheless, I’m proud to have played a part in helping
to lay the foundation for the Georgetown Mafia.
If you educate them [and they take advantage of opportunities, work extremely hard, and
have mentors] they will thrive. An important notion for many aspects of
our often unjust and unfair world.
afterthought (10 AM): You’ll have to decide for yourselves whether the following
excerpts from Albright’s Madam Secretary : A Memoir [at 100 - 101] are — or should
be — analogously applicable to the legal profession in the 21st Century:
“I taught classes on international affairs to women and men, drawingon what I had learned in the Carter White House. . . . I had femalestudents play roles they wouldn’t have had at that time in governmentand had male students report to them. I invited women professionals todiscuss their varied and jagged career patterns to illustrate that the shor-test distance between two points might not be a straight line.” . . .“I discussed the difficult choices women face and implored my studentsnot to let others see the chips that might have settled on their shoulders —especially during job interviews. I spoke with passion about how womenmust make sure not to push the ladder of success away from the buildingafter they have climbed to the top but must help each other succeed.”[Ed. Note: Is Albright being too hard on herself when she adds:]“I was confident about the logic of all this, but my shift in marital status[with her divorce finalized] had in my own mind made me lose credibility.When my students asked how I had managed to be married and havechildren and work at the same time, I felt like a phony because I hadn’tsucceeded.”
p.s. If anyone reading this post has further details (or any corrections) on the topic
of SFS’s admission quotas or goals concerning women, please let me know.
fund drivethe ivy covered buildinghas a new namenew deanall blackboardsturn whitewindowless classroomthe blank looksame as last termaround and aroundlearning the namesof one way streetswinfow box —between flowering pansiesmy daughter’s face
May 6, 2006
Maybe I’ve had a little too much menudo e-soup today (tripe, hominy
and chili might tend to keep one up), or maybe I’m finding far too many
interesting things that I want to write about. Whatever the cause, here’s
one more helping of weblog “small change” for the f/k/a faithful, as Cinco
de Mayo 2006 fades into history:
30L Epiphany: An encounter today with the famous 3L web-
logger Ian Best of 3L Epiphany reminded me both that (a) thirty years ago
this week, I was ”studying” for my 3L law exams and (b) it was a lot
harder back then for congenital procrastinators to practice their art. You
see, this morning, I finally got around to asking Ian to add f/k/a to his
list of legal ethics weblogs. [Yes, I, too, was shocked by its omission.]
About two seconds after I posted my Comment with the request, I got
an email from Ian saying “Thanks David!! I’ll add it as soon as I’m done
That got me thinking that Ian was obviously paying more attention to
his weblog than to his studying — looking for a reason to take a quick
study break. Then, it hit me:
30 years ago, you really had to work hard to find things to
occupy your time, other than actually studying for finals.
No one — and especially no humble law student — had a
worldwide audience hanging on our next post, or Commenting
on our last one. We didn’t have an entire internet of distractions
that could be found without even getting up from our desk or study
The Lesson: Dear Younguns, back then ,successful procrastinators were made
of a much heartier stock. And don’t you forget it (even as we start to get a wee
Really need exam help? see our
see orig. at This Modern World
chosen words aimed at the GOP last week at the This Modern World weblog,
in his posting “If you can’t earn a vote, buy it” (April 27, 2006) Noting that
Sen./Dr. Frist had floated the notion that most American taxpayers would
get $100 rebate checks to offset the pain of higher pump prices for gasoline,
“Didn’t he learn anything from dating? Desperation isn’t attractive.
For a less colorful, but more thorough, analysis see: NYT, “$100 Rebate: the rise
and fall of a GOP idea” (May 5, 2006)
debate that I had missed this week: “Sex in Public. Need I Say More?”
(May 5, 2006). Bob asks:
Riddle: What is almost as interesting but not quite as titillating as
sex in public?
Answer: Watching libertarian legal bloggers debate sex in public.
When you think about it, this is an intriguing and very complicated issue.
Check out Bob’s summary and one compiled at prettier than napolean.
good morning kiss
of the hummingbird
When Prof. Bainbridge is right, he’s right. And, his is the only
reasonable response to the news: “Blazing Saddles Banned” (May 5, 2006)
A high school teacher had to apologize for showing the classic comedy/satire
to twelfth graders, after one parent complained about “racist language. Steve
“What really got me about the story, however, was the reporter’s
description of Blazing Saddles as a “racist film.” Nonsense. While
Blazing Saddles pervasively uses ethnic slurs and stereotypes, it
does so to lampoon racism. The worst thing you can do to bigots
is to laugh at them, which is precisely what Mel Brooks does in this
Tagline: Never give a saga an even break!
Plot Outline To ruin a western town, a corrupt political boss
appoints a black sheriff, who promptly becomes his most formidable
Plot Synopsis: The Ultimate Western Spoof. A town where everyone seems
to be named Johnson is in the way of the railroad. In order to grab their land,
Hedley Lemar, a politically connected nasty person, sends in his henchmen to
make the town unlivable. After the sheriff is killed, the town demands a new
sheriff from the Governor. Hedley convinces him to send the town the first Black
sheriff in the west. Bart is a sophisticated urbanite who will have some difficulty
winning over the townspeople.
If there’s anything worse than kneejerk political correctness, it’s kneejerk policial cor-
rectness from people with no sense of humor (or is that redundant?). What a stupid
lesson to teach your children: some words are always inappropriate, regardless of
context or intent. Sure wouldn’t want to learn how to make discerning choices and
judgments. Makes a guy want to turn in his Liberal Card.
Maybe Evan Schaeffer could start a class action suit for me against
Office Max. For quite a few years now, my brother and sister-in-law have put
James, and given them as Christmas gifts to lucky family members.
The calendar is then hung in a place of honor in my kitchen as used as my primary
date-keeping wall calendar. So, I rely on the dates that are designated as holidays
or special events on my CopyMax calendar. Well, for the past couple of months,
I’ve been under the misperception that Mother’s Day is May 7th this year — because
said calendar says so. It was only this week, when I was turning down an invitation
to a belated Cinco de Mayo dinner Sunday night, due to its “conflict” with Mother’s
Day, that I learned of my misplaced trust in CopyMax. This has caused lots of
mental anguish in my household, and I’m not the only Giacalone male who made
this mistake. Indeed, I rushed out last week to purchase a Mother’s Day Card
to give Mama G, and was just about to mail it prematurely.
“tinyredcheck” So, in case you have a CopyMax Calendar for 2006, please let me
remind you that Mother’s Day 2006 falls on May 14th, not May 7th,
this year. Of course, early is better than late, but there’s got to be
a lawsuit in here somewhere. Right, Walter?
One good thing about this situation: I learned from online
research that U.K. has its own Mothering Day, which fell on March
26th this year. It’s a good thing Mama G. lives in the USA.
The Schenectady Daily Gazette published an interesting article in a “special”
Spring Home section, on Friday (May 5, 2006; available by $ub.) Luckily, I found
it on line to share with you: “Humble and Prolific Rambler is Becoming Retro Chic,”
(13WHAM.com, Feb. 15, 2006) The “rambler” style home is also called “ranch”
in some parts of the country. I have just two quick points: (a) from an energy-
conservation perspective [see our prior post], it is great that these modest houses
(usually about 1000 sq. ft.) are making a comeback; one reason is their lower price
tags, and another is the fact that baby-boomers and their parents, as their knees
start to give out want homes that are all on one floor.
lifting the hammer
the old carpenter’s hand
A New Resonance 2 ; Mayfly No. 30
her eyes narrow,
seeing for the first time
my little house
(b) from a Euphemism Police perspective, I am issuing a warrant for the Star Tribune
reporter, Darlene Prois, who described one couple who just bought a rambler as:
“Betty and Mike Lovejoy, empty-nesters in their early 70s.”
Sorry, Darlene, but an empty-nester is someone whose children have moved out
and have their own places — not someone whose grandchildren just left for college
or bought ramblers of their own as starter houses.
The news from Sudan and Darfur is cautiously optimistic tonight.The Guardian,
“Government, Main Rebels Sign Peace Accord” (May 5, 2006) We all need
to press our Government to re-triple its efforts to convince the two smaller rebel
groups to make a truce. If you pray, some prayers for those who still suffer from
hunger, injury and fear in Darfur — and for those who will help bring and keep a
peace — are surely needed.
never stop crying
it is! it isn’t!
genocide – -
just stop it
afterthought (noon, May 6): The morning news reminded me that
Sigmund Freud was born 150 years ago today. (“150 years of Freud,”
CNN.com, May 5, 2006) I’ll let others tell of his contribution to modern
medicine and culture, as the Father of Talk Therapy (we’re more into
“blawk” therapy around here). My contribution to the Freud anniversary
is to quote a few lyrics from a song I was listening to a couple days ago,
by Warren Zevon, from the title cut of his greatest hits album Genius:
sigmund freud, 1938
excerpt from “Genius“
(Warren Zevon and Larry Klein)
. . .
Albert Einstein was a ladies’ man
While he was working on his universal plan
He was making out like Charlie Sheen
He was a genius
. . .
Everybody needs a place to stand
And a method for their schemes and scams
If I could only get my record clean
I’d be a genius
What’s the connection with Freud? If you have to ask, you can’t
afford the therapy.