The Foreign Service Journal - January/February 2014 - page 8

appy New Year! And a happy 90th birthday to AFSA,
The Foreign Service Journal
and the Foreign Service
itself, as all three institutions reach that milestone in
Reflecting on that auspicious confluence of anniversaries,
I’ve come to the conclusion that the Roman god Janus would
have made a fine patron for our celebration. Here’s why.
First and foremost, Janus presided over the beginning and
ending of conflict—and hence war and peace. The doors of his
temple were open in times of war, and closed to mark the end of
Second, as a god of transitions, Janus was in charge of all
functions related to births, journeys and exchanges. (Perhaps he
issued the original Consular Report of Births Abroad?) And in his
association with Portunus, a less powerful harbor and gateway
deity, he was also concerned with travel, trading and shipping.
(Felicitations, ye muse of the Foreign Commercial Service and
General Services Officers everywhere!)
In the spirit of full disclosure, I should acknowledge that
Janus is traditionally depicted as having two faces, since he looks
simultaneously to the future and to the past. (Insert your own
joke here.) But notwithstanding that tendency to be duplicitous,
indecisive or both, it’s still fitting that the Romans named the
month of January after him.
Time for a Change
Even in the unlikely event that I’ve won anyone over to my
quixotic campaign to adopt Janus as a Foreign Service mascot, I
suspect many of you are wondering why I’ve begun this column
with an arcane exploration of ancient mythology.
On the most basic level, it’s a natural outgrowth of my long-
standing practice of using this space each January to unveil our
new Editorial Calendar, and spark your interest in the many
opportunities to contribute to
The Foreign Service Journal
. I’ll do
that in a moment. But first, I’d like to claim personal privilege to
make an announcement. To wit:
I have relished the opportunity this job has afforded me to
promote discussion and debate of issues related to foreign affairs
and the Foreign Service, an institution I’ve been privileged to be
associated with in various capacities for nearly 30 years. Nev-
ertheless, after a great deal of soul-searching, I have decided to
step down frommy position, effective Jan. 31.
Coincidentally or not, my 12½ years in the editor’s chair is
almost the same length as my Foreign Service career—which
perhaps signifies that instead of a seven-year itch, I get a hanker-
ing to move on professionally every eighth of a century or so!
To say this was not an easy decision would be a massive
understatement, but I truly believe it is the right one—and not
just for me, but for the magazine and AFSA. Whether at work
or pursuing an avocation, I’ve never been very good at pacing
myself, and I can tell that it is taking more and more energy these
days to do this job right.
In fact, there is no way I could have managed this long
without the support and friendship of my amazing
leagues: Senior Editor Susan Maitra, Associate Editor Shawn
Dorman, and Advertising & Circulation Manager Ed Milten-
berger. They are truly a dream team, and I will miss them per-
sonally and professionally. But the knowledge that I am leaving
the magazine in their capable, experienced hands also eases my
mind about the impending transition. (Unfortunately for them,
it also illustrates the truth of one of my favorite quotes: No good
deed goes unpunished!)
The Show Goes On
Speaking of change, many of you have undoubtedly already
noticed that this issue says J
Though we have
All Hail Mighty Janus!
1,2,3,4,5,6,7 9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,...100
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