Grace School chair brings decades of experience to position


Photo courtesy of The Australian National University

Geoffrey Wiseman, a professor, career foreign service officer and expert on diplomatic theory and practice, will join DePaul University’s The Grace School of Applied Diplomacy as its inaugural endowed chair in applied diplomacy.

Geoffery Wiseman is the first endowed chair of the new Grace School of Applied Diplomacy at DePaul. He has had a varied, transprofessional career that embodies the Grace School’s diplomatic approach.

“I myself do not know of any other school of foreign service or school of diplomacy in the U.S. or elsewhere that has this transnational, transprofessional, applied diplomacy approach,” Wiseman said.

The Grace School was established at DePaul in 2019, after an anonymous $20 million gift to the university. 

 Wiseman brings decades of experience in a range of fields to his position at DePaul, from foreign service to international security and academia. 

He started his professional career off with a 12-year stint as a foreign service officer for the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs. During that time, he had three foreign postings (Stockholm, Hanoi and Brussels) before moving back to his home country to serve as an advisor to the Australian foreign minister. 

Then, after earning a doctorate from Oxford University, he went on to work in the international security sector in New York City at the Ford Foundation, which he described as “a fabulous place to work.” 

However, it wasn’t until he moved across the U.S. to teach at the University of Southern California, Wiseman said, that he began to shift his attention back to diplomatic studies, in a return of sorts to his foreign service roots.

“At the time, [diplomacy] didn’t really receive enough attention in the academic world,” Wiseman said. “It was becoming very apparent to me that new non-state actors were becoming more and more prominent … I began to realize that world politics is more than just what the great powers and permanent five members of the United Nations do.”

This realization stuck with him as he went on the work for the U.N. and then back to teaching at the Australian National University. 

At DePaul, he hopes to bring a more balanced study of diplomacy by emphasizing a more varied idea of diplomacy and focusing on NGOs and other non-state actors. 

The Grace School has a varied curriculum and pulls professors from various departments across DePaul, including international studies, geography and political science, and allows students to choose from 10 different concentrations

As a result of this multidisciplinary approach, he hopes to see Grace School graduates moving into different careers, from traditional diplomacy to jobs in the business world and beyond.

“I think that there’s so much more to life than having a single career,” he said. “I want to convey to students that there is great value in having a varied, transprofessional career.”

The value of the Grace School is that applied diplomacy courses help students learn to apply a diplomatic lens to different issues, putting them in a better position to solve many world problems.

Wiseman hopes to make The Grace School a major player “in the study and the practice of diplomacy in the United States and globally,” on par with Georgetown or Tufts’ Fletcher School. 

Far from being limited to government buildings or U.N. conference rooms, Wiseman says diplomacy spans all parts of life.

“You and I have a conversation based on implicit notions of etiquette and protocol,” he said. “That’s diplomacy.”