The Foreign Service Journal, July-August 2005

F O C U S O N F S I / F S T R A I N I N G A T FSI’ S H ELM : A N I NTERVIEW WITH K ATHY P ETERSON mbassador Katherine H. Peterson became director of the Foreign Service Institute on June 18, 2001, just as the Diplomatic Readiness Initiative sharply increased the demand for FSI’s services. As she winds up four years in the position, it seemed an opportune time to discuss developments during her tenure, so Journal editor Steve Honley inter- viewed her on April 20. Katherine Peterson, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, joined the Department of State in 1976, following nearly three years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo). She began her Foreign Service career in the Bureau of African Affairs as a regional affairs officer, staff assistant to the assistant secretary, desk officer and information/press offi- cer. She has also headed the non-immigrant visa section in Kingston and the American Citizen Services section in Tijuana. InWashington, she has served as deputy coordinator of the Orientation Division that trains new Foreign Service officers at the Foreign Service Institute, as Latin American Division chief in Overseas Citizen Services, as chief of the Junior Officer Division in the Office of Career Development and Assignments, and as managing director of Overseas Citizen Services in the Bureau of Consular Affairs. From August 1993 to August 1996, she served as Deputy Chief of Mission in Windhoek. She was then selected for senior training and attended the National War College at Fort McNair. From August 1998 to June 2001, Ms. Peterson was U.S. ambassador to Lesotho. FSJ: You’ve been the director of the Foreign Service Institute since 2001. What would you cite as the main accomplishments of the past four years? KP: Our main accomplishment of the past four years has been shifting the culture of much of the department from being training-averse to considering it part of basic career development. I think coping with the sheer num- bers of students from the Diplomatic Readiness Initiative and mandatory leadership and management training was our biggest challenge, especially in terms of space alloca- tion, both of designated classrooms and open spaces. When FSI moved into this facility 12 years ago, in some ways it felt like we were rattling around. As you know, that was an era when we were downsizing and not bringing in very many people, so there was even talk of renting some of the space out. That’s definitely not the case any longer! A FSI D IRECTOR K ATHERINE P ETERSON DISCUSSES THE CHALLENGES OF ACCOMMODATING RECORD ENROLLMENT OVER THE PAST FOUR YEARS . B Y S TEVEN A LAN H ONLEY J U LY- A U G U S T 2 0 0 5 / F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L 41