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Wilson Dizard, Jr. Papers

Identifier: GTM-030101

Collection Level Scope and Contents note

The bulk of this collection deals with the U.S. Information Agency (USIA) and communications.


  • 1949 - 2003

Biographical note

Wilson Dizard, Jr. (1922-2009) was a Foreign Service officer and author.

Dizard was born in New York on March 6, 1922, served in the Army Signal Corps during WWII, and graduated from Fordham University in 1947. During graduate school at Columbia University he worked at Time Inc.

In his State Department career from 1951 to 1980, Dizard spent much of his time assigned to the U.S. Information Agency. Based partly on his travels to South America, Africa and Asia, he wrote one of his first books, "Television: A World View" (1966), a study of how communications affect global societies. He argued that as television became commonplace in even the world's remotest villages, it was imperative for American broadcasters to create more than "cowboy serials, detective films, pratfall comedies and an occasional news documentary." "An overseas viewer," he wrote, "would be hard put to believe, from what he sees on his screen, that contemporary America is a leader in the lovely arts such as drama, architecture, painting and sculpture; or to understand our current struggle to build a truly democratic multiracial society."

Dizard's assignments took him to Istanbul, Greece, Warsaw and Saigon, where he was assistant director of the U.S. Embassy's public affairs office from 1970 to 1971. He spent the remainder of his career focused on international telecommunications, including service as a delegate to negotiations that created the Intelsat global communications satellite system.

After his State Department retirement, he was a consultant on communications and information policy and a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a public policy research organization. From 1975 to 1995, he was an adjunct professor of international affairs at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. Dizard, a longtime Washington resident, was a member of the Cosmos Club and the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs. His books included "The Coming Information Age: An Overview of Technology, Economics, and Politics" (1982); "Old Media/New Media: Mass Communications in the Information Age" (1994); and "Digital Diplomacy: U.S. Foreign Policy in the Information Age" (2001). He also wrote a history of the U.S. Information Agency, "Inventing Public Diplomacy" (2004).

Wilson Dizard, Jr. died on August 31, 2009.



13.5 Linear Feet (9 boxes)

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Wilson Dizard, Jr. Papers
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Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

Lauinger Library, 5th Floor
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington DC 20057