Inside a U.S. Embassy: Diplomacy at Work, All-New Third Edition of the Essential Guide to the Foreign Service

Inside a U.S. Embassy: Diplomacy at Work, All-New Third Edition of the Essential Guide to the Foreign Service

by Shawn Dorman


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Inside a U.S. Embassy is widely recognized as the essential guide to the Foreign Service. This all-new third edition takes readers to more than fifty U.S. missions around the world, introducing Foreign Service professionals and providing detailed descriptions of their jobs and firsthand accounts of diplomacy in action.

In addition to profiles of diplomats and specialists around the world—from the ambassador to the consular officer, the public diplomacy officer to the security specialist—is a selection from more than twenty countries of day-in-the-life accounts, each describing an actual day on the job. Personal reports from the field give a sense of the extraordinary challenges—the coups, the natural disasters, the civil wars—and rewards of representing America to the world.

Inside a U.S. Embassy includes new chapters on the highly competitive Foreign Service entrance process, Foreign Service life outside the embassy, and briefings on topics such as handling high-level visits and service in war zones.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780964948846
Publisher: American Foreign Service Association
Publication date: 04/30/2011
Edition description: Third
Pages: 280
Sales rank: 203,811
Product dimensions: 5.86(w) x 8.98(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 16 Years

About the Author

Shawn Dorman is the associate editor of the Foreign Service Journal and directs the book program for the American Foreign Service Association. She has written extensively on issues related to the diplomatic career. A former U.S. Foreign Service political officer, Dorman has served in Kyrgyzstan, Indonesia, and Russia and in the State Department Operations Center in Washington, DC. She lives with her family outside Baltimore.

Table of Contents

Introductory Section 1

Why This Book? Shawn Dorman 1

What Is the Foreign Service? John Naland Susan Johnson 2

U.S. Presence in the World in 2011 4

Map: Department of State Locations 6

Flow Chart: Foreign Affairs Agencies Inside U.S. Embassies 8

Part I Profiles: Who Works in an Embassy? 9

Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, Embassy Yerevan, Armenia 10

Deputy Chief of Mission Dan Piccuta, Embassy Beijing, China 12

Consul General Elisabeth Millard, Embassy Casablanca, Morocco 15

USAID Mission Director Hilda Arellano, Embassy Cairo, Egypt 17

Commercial Officer (Foreign Commercial Service) Richard Steffens, Embassy Kyiv, Ukraine 20

Agricultural Officer (Foreign Agricultural Service) Holly Higgins, Embassy New Delhi, India 22

Political Officer Dereck J. Hogan, Embassy Moscow, Russia 24

Economic Officer Susannah Cooper, Embassy Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates 27

Consular Officer Donald Moore, Embassy Port-au-Prince, Haiti 29

Public Affairs Officer Christopher Teal, Consulate General Guadalajara, Mexico 31

Management Officer Rachna Korhonen, Embassy Kuwait City, Kuwait 34

Regional Security Officer Nicholas Collura, Embassy Sana'a, Yemen 36

Provincial Reconstruction Team Director Jim DeHart, PRT Panjshir, Afghanistan 38

USAID Democracy Officer Bruce Abrams, Embassy Lima, Peru 41

Refugee Coordinator Nancy Cohen, Embassy Belgrade, Serbia 43

Regional Environmental Officer Bruce Hudspeth, Embassy Astana, Kazakhstan 45

Entry-Level Officer Carolyn Dubrovsky, Embassy Kathmandu, Nepal 48

Office Management Specialist Elizabeth Babroski, U.S. Mission to the OSCE, Vienna, Austria 50

Information Management Officer Mark Butchart, Embassy Pretoria, South Africa 53

Facility Manager Gary Hein, Embassy Cairo, Egypt 55

Medical Officer Mark Cohen, Embassy Nairobi, Kenya 58

Diplomatic Courier Edward Bent, Embassy Bangkok, Thailand 60

Locally Employed Staff Mimy Santika, USAID Mission, Jakarta, Indonesia 62

Locally Employed Staff Edgar Zamudio, Consulate General Tijuana, Mexico 65

Part II Foreign Service Work and Life: Embassy, Employee, Family 69

The Embassy and the Country Team 69

Minds Wide Open: The FSN-FSO Relationship Galina Sabeva 71

The Visit: The Foreign Service on Call Matthew A. Cenzer Scott Kofmehl Tristram Perry Michael Mullins 77

Not Just a Job: The Foreign Service Life 83

Twenty-Eight More Weeks: Life in Language Training Brendan M. Wheeler 85

Outside Opportunities: Sabbaticals, Fellowships, and Details Kelly Steve Adams-Smith 89

What If I Disagree? Dissent in the Foreign Service Ambassador Thomas Boyatt 94

The Foreign Service Family 97

Tai Tai: A Diplomat's Wife in the Middle Kingdom Donna Scaramastra Gorman 99

A (Non-Traditional) Tandem in India Clayton Bond 104

Waking Up in Vietnam Benjamin Winnick 106

A Cross Cultural Friendship Rachel Midura 109

A Spouse at Work in the Mission Aryani Manring 114

Part III A Day in the Life of the Foreign Service: One-Day Journals 119

A Consular Officer in Chennai, India Kris Fresonke 120

A Principal Officer in Recife, Brazil Diana Page 122

An Economic Officer in Dhaka, Bangladesh Carter Wilbur 124

A Consul General in Vladivostok, Russia Tom Armbruster 126

An Economic and Commercial Officer in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso Pamela Hamblett 128

A Cultural Affairs Officer in Dushanbe, Tajikistan Anne Benjaminson 130

An Environment, Science, Technology, and Health Officer in Tegucigalpa, Honduras Jason Mclnemey 132

An Office Management Specialist in Stockholm, Sweden Lynn C. Stapleton 135

A Counselor for Public Affairs in Nouakchott, Mauritania Heather Carlin Fabrikant 137

A Consular Officer in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam James P. Du Vernay 139

A Community Liaison Office Coordinator in Buenos Aires, Argentina Candace Brasseur 141

A Political Officer in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo Tracy Whittington 144

A Political Officer and Arms Control Delegate in Vienna, Austria Hugh Neighbour 146

A Foreign Service Spouse in San Jose, Costa Rica Kelly Schierma 148

A Political/Economic Section Chief in Conakry, Guinea Shannon Nagy Cazeau 150

A Political Officer/Stabilization Coordinator in Port-au-Prince, Haiti David Becker 152

A Public Affairs Officer in Baghdad, Iraq Michael McClellan 155

A Commercial Counselor in Mexico City, Mexico Michael Lally 158

A Regional Medical Officer in Moscow, Russia Larry Padget 160

A Public Affairs Officer in Guangzhou, China Ed Dunn 162

A Consular Officer in Guangzhou, China Esther Pan Sloane 164

A Political Officer in Dhi Qar, Iraq Jon Donchner 165

A Consular Officer in Shanghai, China Jaimee Macanas Neel 168

An Ambassador in Harare, Zimbabwe Charles Ray 170

Part IV The Foreign Service in Action: Tales from the Field 173

Democracy Under Construction: Maldives, 2006 Anamika Chakravorty 174

After the Asian Tsunami: Thailand, 2004 Mike Chadwick 176

Ten for a Dollar: Liberia, 1996 Michael Bricker 178

Madonna in Kunduz: Afghanistan, 2008 Matthew Asada 179

Surviving a Terrorist Attack: Yemen, 2008 David Turnbull 182

One Riot, One Ambassador: Macedonia, 1999 Charles A. Stoneripher 184

Anatomy of an Evacuation: Guinea, 2007 Rosemary Motisi 186

Cyclone Sidr Relief: Bangladesh, 2007 Heather Variava 189

A Hot August in Kirkuk: Iraq, 2008 Jeffrey Ashley 190

In the Wake of Terrorist Attacks: Egypt, 2005 Jacqueline Deley 192

Disarming Iran's Nuclear Campaign: Austria, 2005 Matthew Boland 194

A New Country is Born: Kosovo, 2008 Christopher Midura 196

Watching Your Embassy Burn: Serbia, 2008 Rian Harker Harris 198

U.S. Security for the Beijing Olympics: China, 2008 Sean O'Brien 201

Al-Qaida Attack on the Consulate: Saudi Arabia, 2004 Heather E. Kalmbach 202

A Prayer for Democracy: Burma, 1998 Andrew R. Young 204

Part V So You Want to Join the Foreign Service? 207

A Guide to State Department Generalist (FSO) Hiring 207

Disabled and in the Foreign Service Avraham Rabby 209

Which Career Track Is Right for Me? Kelly Adams-Smith 215

Acronyms and Terms for the Assessment Process 223

Weeding Out the Dummies Anonymous 224

The Thirteen Dimensions of Foreign Service Work 229

Preparing for a Career in the Foreign Service: What to Read, Study, and Do Mark Palermo 234

A Guide to State Department Specialist (FSS) Hiring 236

Joining the U.S. Agency for International Development 241

Joining the Foreign Agricultural Service 247

Joining the Foreign Commercial Service 249

Joining the International Broadcasting Bureau 250

Internships and Fellowships Scott Kofmehl Danielle Derbes 251

Appendix 257

Acronyms and Abbreviations 257

Agencies and Organizations 257

Embassy Offices, Positions, and Related Terms 259

Foreign Affairs Online Resources 262

Selected Readings 263

Study Resources for the Foreign Service Officer Test 264

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Inside A U.S. Embassy 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Finally, a book that explains what diplomats really do! This is a really good read, and a welcome departure from the usual staid, academic studies of the Foreign Service. Using first-hand accounts from diplomats and other embassy staff, this book sheds some light on a livelihood that's utterly foreign to most of us, and usually misunderstood. It should be read not only by those considering taking the very difficult foreign service exam, but by every taxpayer interested in what our government is doing to protect us in these dangerous times. The book has its share of heroes -- from the guy who bucks the system to expose a brutal Latin American junta to the Ambassador who puts his body between an angry mob and some terrified gypsies. But to its credit, it also deals with the mundane -- giving voice to those who make the appointments, procure the pencils, and ensure the embassy cars run on time. Tight editing weaves these disparate accounts into a whole that's compelling. One gets the sense that these are folks who signed onto public service because they want to do more with their lives than chase a buck. There's plenty of adventure in their lives, but not always glamor. One small quibble -- the portrait of a junior officer serving as the deputy spokesperson of a major embassy struck me as not very representative of the experience of most junior officers, who are more often assigned to visa work for their first couple of jobs. That said, I still found her story interesting. On balance, I found this to be a very educational and entertaining book that deserves to be widely read.
OccassionalRead on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Peace Corps publishes stories written by volunteers of country of service life. Usually the stories are well written and informative but the books are produced inexpensively, softbound with grainy black and white photos, and they're typically handed out free of charge at recruiting events to applicants. This book is very much the same thing but for the Foreign Service rather than the Peace Corps. In fact, about 5 years ago I believe this book was a freebie. No longer. Even so, I would still recommend this book if only to those who are applying for the Foreign Service or considering it as a career. It is a good companion piece to the more academic Career Diplomacy. Read this book for real life stories about a day in the life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
“Foreign Service diplomats and specialists are truly the unsung heroes of American foreign policy.” This statement embodies the all-new third edition of Inside a U.S. Embassy: DIPLOMACY AT WORK. The editor, Shawn Dorman, is a former diplomat and clearly no stranger to the inner workings of the Foreign Service. This book is indeed an essential guide to all things diplomatic as she elaborates upon the broad spectrum of positions, personalities and experience that work abroad in a U.S. Embassy entails. The five sections carefully dissect and outline the roles of each essential officer, the lives that they lead abroad, journal entries detailing personal experience, the embassy machine in action, closing with tips and advice for prospective entry level officers. Not only does Dorman relay these details through matter-of-fact descriptions, engaging diagrams, lists, maps and photos from around the world, she also incorporates an empathetic aspect through inclusion of the emotions that accompany international friendships, constant uprooting of families, the trials of culture barriers, and many other obstacles that our nation’s Foreign Service Officers face every day – in service of us. We are finally able to get an inside view into the lives of everyone – spouses, entry level officers, ambassadors, security officers and the like – who plays an essential role in America’s foreign diplomacy in places far and wide - from a Tandem in India to a mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to everywhere in between. This is truly a guide into the inner workings of the machine that is a U.S. Embassy and Dorman paints a thorough, realistic, and all-encompassing picture of every working screw. This book would be useful for anyone thinking about a diplomatic career or anyone curious about what our diplomats do inside those embassy gates.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What I like most about this book is that it goes well beyond the traditional image of a U.S. diplomat abroad, providing perspectives from people in several different embassy positions. Part I profiles members of the Foreign Service in the different generalist career tracks or "cones" (economic, political, consular, public diplomacy, and management) and specialist career tracks (medical doctors, office management specialists, etc). The second part explains how all the different positions examined in the book work together under the ambassador. Part III is a series of day-in-the-life journals. As someone who is considering the career, I found it helpful that this includes some people who are newer to the career, as well as the high-level people. Part IV is a series of very different 1-3 page stories (called tales from the field). Where Part III focuses more on everyday work and life, the stories in Part IV are focused on more extraordinary circumstances. A couple of these center around dangerous situations like being in an embassy as it is attacked - or coordinating the evacuation of US citizens from a foreign country during a time of upheaval, or calming a mob intent on violence. This is the most exciting part of the book, so it was my favorite to read. The guide to the hiring process in Part V is helpful in that it focuses on the entire application process. It's not really a prep book for the written exam, more of a guide to the process. Most prep books that I have used to study only cover the written exam (the first of many hurdles in the process) and had one page on the entire rest of the process, so this section of the book was useful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you are looking for the real story about being a State Department employee, this is not it. It is not that the stories are incorrect, but that they are just 1/2 of the story. You are not told that one third of U.S. Ambassadors are able to buy their positions. They are large campaign contributors to the President. You are not told that the State Department is currently Secretary-concentric, which means that the senior bureaucracy is resistent to any creative suggestions from below. Everything must originate from the Fifth Floor (Office of the Secretary of State). The State Department's dissent channel and its various sounding boards are all for show. Diplomats progress by keeping their mouths shut, by praising the Secretary and most of all by doing nothing that might upstage the Secretary. This book never discusses the conflict between diplomats and the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, which has been on a power grab since 2001. It has more and more authority over Embassy operations and personnel because there is a paranoia about al-Qaeda. Embassy personnel increasing live in fortified housing under the control of Bureau agents. There is less and less contact with ordinary people in the host country. The Bureau can have anyone sent home and does not have to have a reason. There are endless stories of security abuses. The book does not discuss the shabby housing that some diplomats have to endure, while the Secretary is spending $1 billion to build a glittering new embassy in London. The binge drinking is not discussed nor is there any mention that USAID funnels must of its contracts to politically connected Beltway Bandits, which is why most development aid projects fail. The constant changes in posts means that few diplomats are expert in the country they are in and almost all lack the crucial language skills and dialect skills for the host country, especially the minority languages. Diplomats usually have to work through interpreters, which is an absolutely terrible and unprofessional practice. The list of problems and deficiencies in the State Department is virtually endless. The real stories are not in this book. Matthew J. Nasuti Former USAF Captain Reporter - The Kabul Press