- William Brownfield (1974) – U.S. ambassador to Venezuela, 2004–present
- Chan Heng Chee (M.A. 1967 Government) – Singapore's ambassador to the U.S., 1996–present
- Arthur Hobson Dean (B.A. 1921, L.L.B. 1923) – internation law expert, chief U.S. negotiator at Panmunjeom, assisted with negotiations for Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, delegate to the United Nations,
- Alan Keyes (undergrad 1968–69, transferred) – Diplomat, U.S. Presidential candidate, 1996, 2000; U.S. Senate candidate from Maryland (1988, 1992) and Illinois (2004)
- Jerome H. Holland (B.S. 1939, M.S. 1941) – First black member of the New York Stock Exchange; President of Delaware State University (1953–60) and Hampton University (1960–70); U.S. ambassador to Sweden, 1970–73; chairman of the American Red Cross, 1979–85
- Edwin Jackson Kyle (M.S. 1902) – U.S. Ambassador to Guatemala, 1945–48; namesake of Kyle Field
- Sol Linowitz (J.D. 1938, Trustee, 1966–95) – Diplomat, Ambassador, Chairman of Xerox, 1960–66; Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, 1998
- Jacob Gould Schurman, Professor of Philosophy, President (1892–1920). Ambassador to Germany (1925–1929)
- Hu Shih (B.A. 1914) – China's ambassador to the U.S., 1938–42; philosopher; poet
- Sao-Ke Alfred Sze (B.A. 1901) – China's ambassador to the U.S. and later UK, founding member of World Bank; First Chinese student to attend Cornell
- Willard Straight (B.Arch. 1901) – American diplomat, investment banker, publisher, World War I veteran, namesake of Willard Straight Hall
- Andrew Dickson White, co-founder, first President (1866–1885), and Professor of History. Ambassador to Germany (1879–1881, 1897–1902), Ambassador to Russia (1892–1894); namesake of White Hall and the Andrew Dickson White House
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Famous quotes containing the word diplomats:
“People in places many of us never heard of, whose names we cant pronounce or even spell, are speaking up for themselves. They speak in languages we once classified as exotic but whose mastery is now essential for our diplomats and businessmen. But what they say is very much the same the world over. They want a decent standard of living. They want human dignity and a voice in their own futures. They want their children to grow up strong and healthy and free.”
—Hubert H. Humphrey (19111978)
“How is the world ruled and led to war? Diplomats lie to journalists and believe these lies when they see them in print.”
—Karl Kraus (18741936)