Friday, September 14, 2012

in service

This week has been a strange one. With the killing of the U.S. Ambassador and 3 other U.S. Officers in Libya and the many ongoing uprisings in the Middle East, there has been a lot of media attention focused on this career that is still oh so new to me. Most people know that we have a Secretary of State and some number of Embassies overseas. But when asked about the Foreign Service or diplomacy, I'm sure that the average American pictures old white men in suits sitting around smoking cigars, drinking wine, or something along those lines. Fortunately, times have changed and so has the nature of this profession.

We are younger, more diverse, and way more female than just a few decades ago (though we still have some work to do). And while we still entertain and build connections at receptions over wine, we are just as likely to ride hours along a dusty road to go meet leaders in a small village way off the beaten path. Like any government agency, I don't think the State Department is above criticism, and it is always productive to examine our institutions critically, but the last week has been a little crazy. Rather than try to expand my own thoughts, it's probably safer to turn to a few of the many news pieces that

Our Diplomats Deserve Better - New York Times Op-Ed by Ambassador Prudence Bushnell
I had the great pleasure and honor of attending a small leadership seminar where Ambassador Bushnell came and spoke. Her experience during the Kenya Embassy bombing and work at the Department during the Rwandan genocide is heartbreaking. But, even after all of that she believed in the mission and work, and her words were what inspired me to pursue the Foreign Service.

A couple other good reads:

The Thankless Task of the U.S. Diplomat - Foreign Policy by Colum Lynch

America's Other Army - Foreign Policy by Nicholas Kralev

Foreign Service Families Know the Risk but Believe in the Work - Washington Post by Janice D'Arcy

1 comment:

  1. S,
    thanks for posting these articles. I am looking forward to reading them in the next few weeks. -N