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Dr. Khaled al-Asaad, a Syrian archaeologist and the head of antiquities for the ancient city of Palmyra was publicly beheaded by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in 2015.  This 2002 picture shows al-Asaad in front of a first century sarcophagus from Palmyra.   Photograph: Marc Deville/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images.

ISIS destruction and looting shocked the international community. A May 2015 raid against ISIS commander Abu Sayyaf in Syria uncovered evidence that ISIS was selling artifacts to buyers who would put them up for sale in international markets – essentially a fundraising device for their so-called “caliphate”.

Moved by the international outcry over ISIS destruction in Iraq and Syria, and with the Syrian state in disarray, the Congress in 2016 enacted emergency legislation to block the importation of illegally acquired Syrian antiquities to the United States.  The State Department also began to take a serious interest in the relationship between terrorism and the destruction and trafficking of antiquities.

Commentary & Analysis

U.S. Diplomatic Engagement and Cultural Heritage Protection by Larry Schwartz

Relearning the Art of Nation State Diplomacy by Mike Anderson

U.S. Embassy Tokyo Role in the Establishment of U.S.-Mongolia Relations by Alicia Campi

Global Migrant Remittances – A New Development Finance Paradigm? by Eric V. Guichard

A Media Journey: from Edward R. Murrow to Fake News by Dick Virden

How Summer Adventures Become Diplomacy by Michael McCarry

Post-War Burma, a First-Hand Account from John Cady

Eyewitness: Foreign Service

USIA Films That Failed in Africa by Bob Baker

Abraham Lincoln, Hillary Clinton, and Liu Xiaobo by Bea Camp

From the National Archives
Why Did You Wake Us Up in the Middle of the Night?: Use of NIACT, 1963

Why Did You Wake Us Up in the Middle of the Night?: Use of NIACT, 1978

Foreign Service Accounts from the Oral History Archives (ADST.ORG)

As we watch Brexit developments, ADST’s “Evolution of the European Union: Early Seeds of Dissolution?  [link:] presents a picture of the EU’s troubled beginnings.

Arthur Hartman, Deputy Chief of Mission to the European Economic Community in the 1960s, discussed the resistance many in the UK felt to joining and noted that many British politicians opposed integration on nationalist grounds and did not like the centralized government in Brussels which even then ruled by edict.

Susan Klingaman, who covered the EEC from the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) from 1970-72, predicted that the EC could mean real problems domestically in the individual countries, particularly if they headed toward monetary union:  “The big issue at that time was the application of the British to join the EC [European Community] and much of my work focused on that, on whether or not the British would join. And if they did, what would be the implications for Britain and the United States?”


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