The Foreign Service- Congress Communication Project (FSCCP) is a new program designed in partnership with The Una Chapman Cox Foundation to address the many requests both organizations have fielded to facilitate substantive interactions between Congressional Staffers and State Department Staff.
About the Una Chapman Cox Foundation:
The Una Chapman Cox Foundation works with the Department of State and other program partners to support a strong U.S. Foreign Service. The Foundation focuses on recruiting and retaining the best possible cadre of career officers and educating a broad constituency to better understand and appreciate the Foreign Service. Our programs include reports and recommendations on the function of diplomacy, professional development programs and activities, sabbaticals and scholarships, and programs that assist Foreign Service family members. Find out more at https://www.uccoxfoundation.org/
About the FSCCP:
The FSCCP will address partisan and Executive-Legislative divides by fostering social and policy-related connections among select congressional and Department of State staff. This program involves unique and immersive small, in-person gatherings from which we anticipate participants will have lasting impacts. Events that will be off-the-record and primarily conducted after normal working hours.
Misunderstandings and a lack of communication between the U.S. Foreign Service and Congress has diminished the effectiveness of foreign policy for decades. While Foreign Service Officers (FSOs) contribute vitally to U.S. foreign policy, they are at a unique disadvantage in learning about Congress. FSOs spend much of their time understanding their regions and may be discouraged from interacting with Congress. Unfortunately, the bureaucratic systems which limit communication, and the overall lack of Congress-State Department interactions has built a relationship of skepticism and suspicion between the two entities.
Without conducive communication systems and opportunities to interact, FSOs often see congressional actions as impediments to conducting American diplomacy, and Congressman and their staff members do not fully appreciate the unique contributions of, and challenges faced by FSOs. These negative views perpetuate a lack of understanding and communication between Congress and Foreign Service. Further, these views do not help advance the interests of Foreign Service, the State Department, Congress, or U.S. foreign policy.
The highly selective program will run three times a year and provide professional development and networking to Democratic and Republican staff members on Capitol Hill and State Department Staff , advance bipartisanship on national security and foreign policy issues, and address the communication gaps that are inevitable with cross-governmental communication. Through off-the-record events, policy seminars, and skills training, this unique program aims to build relationships between participants and provide thoughtful and engaging programming about the role of Congress in foreign policy, how best to support the State Department, and issues that both sides feel are sources of misunderstanding and miscommunication.
The Program will include:
- Strategic negotiation training led by experts in the field.
- Off the record events on issues facing the Department of State in the modern era, the relationship between the Department and Congress, and other relevant topics.
- Opportunities to stay engaged with participants through events and discussions moderated by policy experts.
- Program participation is limited to active congressional staff and Department of State employees.
If you are a congressional staffer, please submit your application below. The application process for State Department employees will occur through the State Department.