Georgetown’s Master of Science in Foreign Service Program (MSFS) capped off its centennial year in December 2022 with a weekend of events bringing alumni, students, faculty and special guests together to celebrate the program’s unique role in educating global leaders dedicated to foreign service. The celebration included a gala dinner at the United States Institute of Peace with a keynote address by MSFS alumnus King Felipe VI of Spain (MSFS ’95).
The weekend kicked off on Friday, December 2, with a day of events on the Hilltop open to all MSFS alumni and students. The morning began with a panel discussion on how sustainability and prosperity can coexist, hosted by the Global Leadership Assembly Foundation—a nonprofit founded by several MSFS alumni—in conjunction with SFS. The discussion was moderated by Tanja Kleinsorge (MSFS ‘93) and Lisa Kuhn (MSFS ‘00).
Next, George Tenet (SFS ’76), former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, sat down for a discussion on a wide-range of contemporary issues in international politics with SFS Dean Joel Hellman. Tenet engaged with the attentive audience, which included notable alumni, students, and faculty, with a touch of humor.
Centennial Gala Dinner
Friday evening, MSFS celebrated with a gala dinner at the United States Institute of Peace featuring a keynote address by His Majesty King Felipe VI of Spain (MSFS ’95), and the presentation of the MSFS Centennial Awards to notable alumni.
MSFS Director George Shambaugh and MSFS Deputy Director Ashley Lenihan (SFS ‘00, PhD ‘09) welcomed attendees, and recognized the generous sponsors whose contributions made the evening possible. In all, the gala raised nearly $320,000 for MSFS scholarships and programs, including $211,000 for the MSFS Futures Scholarship.
The MSFS Centennial Awards honored six distinguished alumni whose life and work embody the MSFS program’s core values. Nominated by their peers, and selected by a committee of MSFS alumni, the awards highlighted the extraordinary extent to which graduates have gone on to have careers that advance the program’s values.
Amb. Donald McHenry (PHD ’64) presented the awards to Ragnheiður Elín Árnadóttir (MSFS ’94), Amb. Marcia Bernicat (MSFS ’80), Nicole Bibbins Sedaca (MSFS ’97), Raja Karthikeya Gundu (MSFS ’09), and Michael Samway (MSFS ’91) in absentia. The late Paula Gene Loyd (MSFS ’04) was also a recipient. Loyd’s classmate, Corey Golden (MSFS ’04), accepted the award on her behalf.
His Majesty King Felipe VI of Spain (MSFS ’95), offered thoughts on his time in the MSFS program and its lasting impact on his life. His Majesty urged the audience to reflect deeply on what the future is going to demand of them — and in rising to the occasion, to draw from Georgetown’s interdisciplinary spirit and come to the table with empathy.
Sylvia Yacoub (MSFS ’23) closed out the night with a stunning rendition of Andra Day’s “Rise Up.” Following her performance, everyone took to the dance floor for a night of celebration.
The weekend closed with a brunch hosted by Dean Hellman and the MSFS leadership for the awardees and current MSFS students.