Man behind GU’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy dies at 103
R. Smith Simpson, a lifelong Foreign Service Officer who helped establish Georgetown’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, passed away early last week. Simpson, who also taught night classes at Georgetown, was known as an “absolute pit bull” devoted to diplomacy education.
In a 1962 article for the Foreign Service Journal, Simpson railed against the profound lack of preparation for undergraduate students interested in life in the Foreign Service.
Applicants were plagued by “an abysmal ignorance of so elementary a subject as the geography of the United States, deficient in a knowledge of even contemporary culture” and were “pitifully uninformed” about major issues of the time, he wrote.
After retiring from the Foreign Service nearly a decade later, Simpson found himself working with SFS dean Peter Krogh, who had contributed to his original report. Inspired by Simpson’s ideas, Krogh offered to help him establish the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy. To this day, the Institute aims to explore the challenges of diplomacy in the 21st century.