The Embassy of the Future

Reforming how U.S embassies perform global outreach

This program is no longer active.

At a time when America needs to be represented ever more creatively and energetically around the world, and when the profession of diplomacy is being transformed before our eyes, there is an urgent need to consider the purposes and structures of America’s representation abroad.  The State Department has taken additional significant steps to protect the safety of US government employees (both American and Foreign Service National) after the murderous bombings of our embassies in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi in 1998. 

There is a legitimate question to be asked about the right balance between active representation and security in a future in which the State Department is committed to do more, not less, to get our diplomats into the field to interact with countries to which they are assigned and at the same time protect our Embassy personnel.

This project will examine how we envision the roles of our diplomats who represent our nation, and the role of our embassies, five-ten years from now.  In this context, it will look at the purposes of our buildings, and how our “bricks and mortar” presence can best serve the roles envisioned.  It will also examine concepts for “virtual” presence of the future, and whether there are better uses of existing technologies—or new technologies—that might allow our diplomats to be even more effective and safer than they are today.

The project will be guided by a high-level Commission comprised of distinguished individuals who have served as career and non-career Ambassadors, as well as those who have served in other senior positions in the government, the private sector and academe.  Former Ambassadors George L. Argyros, Marc Grossman and Felix G. Rohatyn will chair the Commission. The staff director for the project is Anne Witkowsky, CSIS Senior Fellow.