St. Petersburg likely isn't the first place kids think of when they want to train for a diplomatic post, but Carl Kuttler wants to change that.
Kuttler, the president of St. Petersburg College, has brokered a partnership with the Consular Corps College that he hopes will be the seed that will eventually blossom into the country's pre-eminent program for degrees in public policy.
"We believe this will grow into that," Kuttler said of the new partnership. "What you are seeing is the mustard seeds that will grow. … This, five years from now, will be a gold mine of opportunity.
"This has so many opportunities for SPC, our students and these diplomatic representatives,'' he said. "We hope this effort leads to a bachelor's degree at SPC in public policy or a related field and to the ability of SPC's University Partnership Center to offer graduate degrees in diplomacy or public policy."
The Consular Corps College is a nonprofit, nonpolitical professional society that, among other things, increases communication and fellowship among foreign consular officers serving in the United States and circulates the latest information on consular practice and law among consuls and their governments. The ultimate goal is to increase the effectiveness of the nearly 4,500 consuls in the United States.
The boards of both organizations have to ratify the agreement, which would be a first for the consular college. The consular college would have its administrative home at SPC, likely at the Seminole campus. SPC would assist in Web development and the newsletter and provide student interns.
But the real work would be developing an educational program, both on-site and online, for current and former consular officers and for students who want a career in public policy development and diplomacy.
Kuttler said he hopes to have retired diplomats as visiting professors and is talking with the University of South Florida about providing master's and doctoral degrees in public policy and diplomacy.
Anne Lindberg can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8450.