The Foreign Service Journal - January/February 2017
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We Are Stronger for Our Diversity

The Foreign Service is stronger for our diversity. The State Depart-

ment has worked hard to reduce barriers to LGBT diplomats

and their families serving overseas. And in countries where the

government won’t accredit the families of LGBT diplomats, many

still choose to serve, willingly facing the risk to work where being

gay is criminalized, street harassment is prevalent and LGBT activ-

ists are regularly jailed. It is in these places that the governments

and society most need to see our faces, to work alongside us in the

missions and to sit across the table from us in bilateral meetings.

This is how we make change, one diplomat at a time.

GLIFAA President FSO Kerri Hannan and

The GLIFAA Board

Washington, D.C.

Diverse Foreign Service Talent

Is Essential

The recruitment, promotion and retention of diverse Foreign

Service talent is essential to advancing our national security and


The Foreign Service benefits from advanced capabilities in

interagency, intercultural and intergenerational planning and

decision-making, allowing it to be a leader in tackling the most

pressing global issues, even in the most complex environments.

Morgan McClain-McKinney


Washington, D.C.

We Are Your Foreign Policy

Marketing Team

Your foreign policy team will have a marketing department of

3,125 people based in Washington, D.C., with branches in 188

other locations in the United States and abroad. Their job is to

get out information and to leverage personal relationships in

other countries that number in the millions.

This marketing arm is called public diplomacy, which is a

function of the Department of State. Use it right and it will serve

you well.

• It is illegal for these folks to target Americans in the United

States. They focus on foreign audiences.

• A lot of them are very talented, and to advocate our interests

they use every means of communication from Twitter to tours of

the U.S.A.

• Promoting study in the United States is a big priority for

them, because foreign students brought about $30 billion into

the U.S. economy in 2016.

• They do a lot of listening, and not just through polls. Some

of the local employees are connected to very prominent people

in their countries.

• At present, public diplomacy is focused on President Barack

Obama’s foreign policy and on the issues of importance to his

administration, as it should be. After Jan. 20, it will need to pivot


Foreign leaders depend on public support, just as you do. The

earlier your appointees focus on public diplomacy, the more

success and influence you will gain with foreign leaders.

Joe B. Johnson

FSO, retired

Public Diplomacy Instructor,

Foreign Service Institute

Arlington, Virginia

Reassure the World

of America’s Role

As diplomats, we have been asked innumerable times over the

past year to explain the rhetoric emanating from this presidential

campaign. It has not been easy reassuring people that the United

States is the same country it has always been—welcoming of

immigrants, a safe harbor for the poor and oppressed looking

to build a better life, a nation holding as a core value that its

strength is found in diversity.

As official representatives of the United States, we believe

this. Our interlocutors believe that we believe this. But the deep

uneasiness I see in their eyes reveals skepticism that the new

presidential administration believes this.

The degree to which we, as the Foreign Service, can help

you advance U.S. interests abroad correlates directly to your

administration’s ability to develop and effectively communicate

a vision of America’s role in the world that does not feed into a

narrative of xenophobia, unilateralism and intolerance.

As the inauguration approaches, we—and the world—look

forward to hearing directly from you in a way that reassures

all that America will continue to play the productive, promi-

nent, indispensable role it has historically played on the global

stage; that it will remain committed to its alliances, champion

human rights and work with allies on the very real threat of

climate change; and that it will remain a force for peace and