SPA 362 – Leadership Development Lab II – Spring 2020

Take me back to the Schedule of Assignments page

Week 3 – Government I: Diplomacy 

Admin:  We only meet one time per week.  About half of you are registered for only one credit, and the social action leadership project itself should be a considerable effort.  We’ll all read the same material, so that we can have productive discussions in class.  All of you will have some written or other assignments due each week.  Those of you registered for two or three credits will have additional written or other assignments.

Readings for Week 3 – January 29

Remember: in our readings each week, please try to bring with you the ideas you developed last fall in SPA-362 part I.

We begin this week with a short introduction to Frances Perkins, perhaps the most important woman in U.S. government in the 20th century – and yet virtually unknown today.  We move from the 1930s and 1940s to the 1990s and 2000s with Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice.  Albright was born in Prague; her family became war refugees in England, returned to diplomats in Belgrade, and immigrated to the U.S., all before she was 10 years old.  Rice was born and raised in segregated Alabama, the child of schoolteachers.

A couple of the videos are marked optional; otherwise be sure to complete the rest.

Frances Perkins

Intro to the voice of Frances Perkins on the lack of consumption, 1934 (1 min)

Frances Perkins was FDR’s Secretary of Labor for 12 years, and a key architect of the New Deal.  Yet almost no one knows of her today

Madeleine Albright

Madeleine Albright at UCLA, on the traits of good leaders, (3 min)

Madeleine Albright, Mt Holyoke College commencement (text), 1997

Madeleine Albright, and women and leadership, 4min

Madeleine Albright, on true leadership (text), in Intrator and Scribner, Leading from Within (2007)

Condoleezza Rice

Condoleezza Rice says leaders need to do these three things (2 min), opens new window)

Rice at the 2012 Republican National Convention (text or video, 18 min)

Rice on George H.W. Bush and leadership, video, 7 min

Rice: in Politico, on bipartisan immigration reform

Rice speech emphasizes mentoring (summary text; optional video, 52 min)

Your classmates offer the following links, discussion questions, and prompts:

US Foreign Relations 1900-2001    –

Week 3 Group asks you to look at the Suez Crisis, pp 26-32.  Additionally, you might see the intro from Sec Rice and her two big ideas: (1) the mission of statecraft is to transform our institutions and partnerships to realize new purposes on the basis of enduring principle – can we substitute “leadership” for “statecraft”? and (2) short-run actions for long-run goals

Richard Holbrooke was a jerk – and a talented diplomat–and-a-talented-diplomat-which-matters-more/2019/05/03/a862e4b4-6c18-11e9-a66d-a82d3f3d96d5_story.html – Holbrooke was a jerk and a talented diplomat – which matters more?

You’ve known leaders – coaches or teachers or parents or bosses whose methods are not warm and cuddly but that get good results – what are the right questions about leadership to ask here?

When Scientists Do What Diplomats Can’t

The science diplomacy described in the article is related to the concept of track-two diplomacy – when people not in the government’s direct employ (not govt personnel and not on an official govt mission) meet and discuss things with another state’s govt or non-govt personnel.  What kinds of “unofficial” activities have you seen play an important role in leadership, decision making, etc.?

Week 3 Group offers these questions for your consideration:

Article Discussion Questions

  1. What leadership style to you attribute most closely with President Eisenhower? Are there aspects of his role in the Suez Crisis that emphasize this?
  2. The article on the Suez Crisis mentions how Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and later a presidential envoy to work directly with other countries to implement President Eisenhower’s ideas. In this situation and in other leadership roles, is delegation a good choice? How might it help or hinder the effectiveness of an individual especially in this diplomatic setting?
  3. From The Washington Post article, George Packer (author of a biography of Richard Holbrooke) believes “one needn’t be good to do good things.” Assess this statement, do you think you need to “be good to do good things,” and does this conversation matter?
  4. Diplomacy requires balancing competing interests. In recent years, science diplomacy has seen favorable reviews and results, largely due to the fact that science establishes a common ground of facts amidst differing opinions. Are there other fields that can bridge diplomatic divides? How can leaders leverage commonalities and agreement in diplomatic negotiations?


Written Assignments for Week 3: 

Before we get started, a couple of thoughts.

Everyone:  This isn’t a timed, in-class writing assignment; this is on your own, at your own pace, with at least a couple days to do it.  This means you do not want to submit something that has typos, grammatical errors, or other sloppiness.  It also means you don’t want to look at it for the first time, type fast, and call it done.  Your work in this class, other classes, and life, will almost always be better if you see the assignment and then have some time to think about it before you begin; and if you come back later to review and revise it (in this class, at work, etc., you rarely want to submit a first draft of anything).

Everyone:  Relatedly, unless otherwise specified, our assignments are individual work.  You can talk to classmates, friends, colleagues, your older sister, etc., about anything you want.  But anything that is not originally your idea or work gets full attribution.  Separately, you can and should have someone else proofread your work, even quickly – this does not need attribution (but does deserve a big thanks, and maybe an occasional Frappuccino, etc.).

Everyone:  Our Prompts will typically require that you do the readings first.  And even if they don’t you should do the readings first.  When a Prompt includes “and perhaps from your own experience,” this can mean a few things.  It can mean your own personal experience as a leader (at work, in a student org, etc.) or in a situation with another leader – a teacher, a boss, an athletic coach, etc.  It might also mean something you have read or seen outside of class – President Obama or Sheryl Sandberg or Lech Walesa or Miriam Makeba or Simon Bolivar or someone local to you, etc. Unless otherwise specified, the Prompts do not ask you to do outside readings – but you are smart and experienced and well-read, and you might have things from outside the course that are useful to bring in – that’s what the “perhaps from your own experience” invites.

Ok, let’s have fun

If you are a one-credit student, discuss one or two of these prompts for a total of about 400 words.  If you are a two- or three-credit student, discuss two or three of these prompts for a total of about 600 to 800 words.  Bring your reflections to class on Wednesday. [I might update this to “or post on Bb”]  Your essays must include thoughtful reflection on one or more of the week’s readings – probably several – specify when you are referring to them.

Prompt 1.  Albright and Rice offer a range of “advice” or “insights” on leadership.  What are the key messages about leadership from Albright and Rice?  What advice or insights do they have in common?  Why might they have these insights in common?  In what ways are their insights or advice different from each other?  What might explain these differences?

Prompt 2.  Albright and Rice have fame and a secured place in history.  Perkins has become relatively unknown, although arguably her work is even more important than that of Albright or Rice.  When you are a leader, to what extent is acknowledgement of your role important, and to what extent is it truly about the work and the effects that work has on others?  Maybe you’ve been unacknowledged for important contributions, or maybe someone else has taken credit for outcomes that came from your leadership – or if not you, you’ve seen this elsewhere.  What does this have to say about leadership?

Prompt 3.  Albright and Rice are obvious partisans – they have logical, coherent, well-considered ideologies and political beliefs that shape their policy positions. And yet they both have a long record of doing the important work of advocacy, argument, discussion, compromise, and achievement far beyond mere polemics or theater.   If we can’t just smear the people who disagree with us as evil, where’s the “leadership” in that?

Prompt 4.  Did you change your mind on anything you know about Albright or Rice?  What? Why? What does that say about you or Albright or Rice?

Prompt 5. From Week 3 student group:  The readings mentioned some of the things that good leaders do, are there specific characteristics/traits that make strong leaders in diplomacy or is it situational? What attributes might be unique to diplomacy from other sectors (the arts, business, education)?

Prompt 6. From Week 3 student group:  Condoleezza Rice and Madeleine Albright describe some of the traits of individuals that hinder effective leadership in diplomacy, what are some other factors and challenges (other traits, situational, etc)?

Your reflections on these prompts go in the Bb > Deliverables assignment for this week.