What do West Africa, Central Asia, and South Asia have in common? If you’re a US diplomat heading to any of those regions, you may be training with Simon Everett before you leave town. We were recently awarded a five-year prime contract with the Department of State to design and deliver area studies courses that collectively cover 26 countries in these intriguing and complex parts of the world. This represents a significant expansion of our support to the Foreign Service Institute (FSI), for which we coordinated the India course last year.
FSI prepares diplomats and other foreign affairs practitioners to advance American interests throughout the world. More than 100,000 students representing the State Department and nearly 50 other government agencies enroll in FSI’s classes every year. While many come to learn a foreign language or a specific professional skill, students enrolled in area studies courses explore the historical and contemporary issues shaping American foreign policy in a particular region.
We have enlisted an accomplished team of leading regional specialists to teach these courses. The West Africa courses will be chaired by two expert Africa watchers, Kamissa Camara and Dr. Alex Thurston. Noted Eurasianists Dr. Jeffrey Mankoff and Claire Kaiser will teach courses on the five Central Asian countries. And last but certainly not least, the esteemed Ambassador E. Ashley Wills – who spent more than a decade as a senior American diplomat in South Asia – will lead the breakout session on Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Bhutan. Each of our instructors will invite prominent guest speakers to participate, exposing students to diverse perspectives on the political, economic, and social dynamics shaping their respective regions of focus.
This program is impactful and intellectually rewarding for all involved - we're delighted to be part of it.