The establishment of the Foreign Service Institute, owes its accreditation to the farsightedness of President William V. S. Tubman, Liberia's 18th President, who saw the need to Liberianize the diplomacy of the country. Following the independence of Liberia in 1847, her diplomacy was largely entrusted to other Foreign Nationals. With this concept of Liberianization, President Tubman negotiated with the Government of the United States of America to train Liberians in International Relations. This was successful when a total of eleven brilliant Liberians were trained by the American Government in Washington D. C. in the 1940s. These achievements of the Tubman`s Administration were made possible through the instrumentality of the then Secretary of State, Honorable Gabriel L. Dennis.
In 1946, a legislation creating the Liberian Foreign Service Institute, was enacted by the Liberian Government.
In 1950, the Foreign Service Institute became acknowledged as a training institution when its first group of thirty students were sent to the State Department in Washington D. C. to be trained as foreign service personnel.
Following the creation of the Foreign Service Institute, the Liberian Government appointed Mr. George A. Padmore who once served as Liberian Ambassador to head the Institute as its first Director. Since then, the Institute has measured up to Government's standard. These training programs have not only benefited Liberians but Foreign Nationals as well.
During the period 1989- May 2002, the Institute remained closed due to the National civil crisis, which started in December 1989 and lasted for seven years. By June 2002, the Institute was reactivated through the continued task of Minister Monie R. Captan of rebuilding the Foreign Ministry to enhance greater efficiency and effectiveness and also assist in developing the capacity of our Foreign Service Officers and other Liberians who may be interested in representing their government abroad. In fostering this objective, Professor Captan appointed Honorable G. Varney Freeman, a career Foreign Service Officer and internal Civil Servant to administer the affairs of the Institute as Acting Director General succeeding Ambassador Solomon A. M. Sawyer.
As a hallmark of paying a tribute to the great dynamic and progenitor of the Foreign Service Institute, the Foreign Minister Prof. Monie R. Captan with consent of the Liberian Government Authorities and based on his own conviction having analytically assessed the important role played by His Excellency, Liberian 23rd Secretary of State, Gabriel L. Dennis in the formation and establishment of what was later known as the Liberia Foreign Service Institute, declared it as the Gabriel L. Dennis Foreign Service Institute, immediately following its reactivation in May 2002.
This nomenclature has been welcomed by several personalities including intellectuals, prominent citizens and the world-at-large, who hailed the brained thought of the Political Science Professor, patriot indeed, and a diplomat, Professor Monie R. Captan, for reflecting on the good deeds of the former Secretary of State in denoting to his memory and honor such an esteemed value.
Aims of the School
The following constitute the aims of the school:
- Serve as an official Government Training Institution for Liberian Foreign Service Officers
- Contribute in furthering the Foreign Policy objectives of the country through cooperation with other training institutions around the world.
- Carry out interaction with other diplomatic training institutions and research academic institutions in the world to enhance research methodology as it relates to the program.
Basically, the philosophical concept of the Foreign Service Institute is to educate and equip diplomats with comprehensive expertise in inter-national affairs; and inculcate in them a modern and satisfactory standard on the challenges reality of the present International Diplomacy, International Economic, Finance and Commerce, the issue of humanity/refugee crisis, immigration, security, the concept of international law and the culture of language among others.
A participatory approach is applied in the system of Training and Instructions. The Institute lays emphasis on seminars, panel discussions, workshops, and special lecture series to enhance skills comprehensive for the successful conduct of the diplomatic career.
The following stated below constitute the objectives of the Foreign Service Institute:
- To develop and strengthen the Institute to train Liberian Citizens in the Professional Skills needed for the INTERDISCIPLINARY ANALYSIS OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS and Global Development Policies, and for the evaluation and change of Foreign Policies and Development diplomacy;
- To train and develop a new cadre of qualified Liberian diplomats and Officials of other government ministries and agencies involved in international affairs to serve in our diplomatic and consular missions and representation abroad;
- To offer courses, host workshops, seminars, and symposia consistent with the relevant policies of Government;
- To establish and develop an effective language study program such as e. g. Chinese, French, Spanish, Russian and Arabic;
- To strengthen the Institute to become a future Think -Tank or reservoir of knowledge and initiator of new concepts on International Relations and Cooperation between the Government of Liberia and other governments, particularly those on the African Continent, to establish and develop an organizational structure as well as the Management Functions of the Institution;
- To acquaint the students with the core skills of the diplomatic profession including effective, oral, and written communications, lucid reporting negotiating skills, management and supervision;
- To inculcate the habits of pleasant and logical thinking, satisfactory judgment, and analytical ability;
- To create the sense of awareness in developing understanding of other culture, and the application to promote personal and interpersonal human association and contacts, while remaining truly committed to their own social conscience and cultural linkages;
- To enhance acceptable societal values, morals, patriotism and esprit-de-corps;
- To build the qualities of imaginable creativity, trust-worthiness, and Professional commitment.