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October 12, 2021

Paul Simon Institute to host longtime diplomat, foreign policy expert

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. – A foreign policy expert who wrote a viral 2017 U.S. State Department resignation letter is the next guest in the virtual event series hosted by Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Paul Simon Public Policy Institute.

Elizabeth Shackelford, an author, former diplomat, and senior fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, will speak with institute director John Shaw in a virtual conversation at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 19.

Shackelford and Shaw will discuss Shackelford’s career as a diplomat, which ended in 2017 when she resigned from the state department in protest of then-President Donald Trump’s policies. Her resignation letter to then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson gained nationwide attention for its pointed criticisms of the Trump administration’s approach to diplomacy.

Shaw and Shackelford also will talk about Shackelford’s book, “The Dissent Channel: American Diplomacy in a Dishonest Age,” and her work as a foreign policy analyst.

Shackelford was a decorated career diplomat with the state department, having worked in Poland, Kenya, South Sudan, Somalia, and Washington, D.C. She received the prestigious Barbara Watson Award for Consular Excellence for her work in South Sudan.

She later joined the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft as a nonresident fellow, conducting research on the costs of militarization of U.S. foreign policy. She earlier this year joined the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, where she works to build awareness of the “restraint” approach to foreign policy, according to the organization.

“We are very eager to discuss Elizabeth Shackelford’s riveting memoir and her incisive essays about America’s many foreign policy challenges,” Shaw said.

The event will be held live over Zoom. It is free and open to the public; registration is required to receive the Zoom link. Attendees are encouraged to submit questions for Shackelford on their registration form or send questions to For more information and registration, visit

The event is part of the institute’s Understanding Our New World virtual conversation series with government and private sector leaders, policy experts, political analysts, authors, and journalists.