The Foreign Service Journal - April 2016
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APRIL 2016


a strategic framework to keep

our training up to date with the

rapidly evolving international


It will be up to all of us in the

Foreign Service to continue to

promote a culture of lifelong

professional training in this

organization—across service

backgrounds and with the commitment

of mentors, supervisors and learners—so

that our diplomacy works most effec-

tively for the interests of the American


Note: The views expressed here are

those of the authors and not necessarily

those of the Department of State or U.S.


Alicia Allison, FSO

David Gehrenbeck, FSO

Paul Kreutzer, FSO

Arlington, Virginia

The Power of Exchanges

Following the

December FSJ focus

on the International Visitor Leadership

Program, I’d like to share a story of the

impact of one exchange.

Back in the mid-1980s, U.S. Informa-

tion Service Lahore identified a candidate

for the International Visitor Program, a

young man with a promising future in

Pakistani business and good political

connections. He participated in a month-

long program in the United States with

grantees from around the world.

In the debriefing following his return

to Pakistan, he enthusiastically praised

the content and organization of the visit

and could find no real negatives.

When the formal debriefing ended,

after making sure my office door was

closed, he said, “Now, let me tell you

about the most wonderful part of my visit.”

He proceeded to describe how he

had been aghast to find that he was

assigned to a working

group that included a

man from Israel. “I was

tempted to withdraw from

the grant. In growing up, I

had learned terrible things

about the hated Jews.”

But he decided to see

how things would work out.

“You will never believe what happened

then,” he recounted. “It wasn’t long

before I came to appreciate the mind and

character of this fellow. Working together,

he and I became close colleagues, even


Before he left my office he asked,

“Would you please mail a letter that I

have written to my Israeli friend? It’s

impossible for me to communicate

directly with him from here.”

Robert R. Gibbons

FSO, retired

Mesa, Arizona


Our FS Heritage in the

March issue, “FS Personnel Evaluations, 1925-1955: A Unique View” by Nicholas

J. Willis, did not include a

photo of the author.

Instead, the photo on page 60 of the

print edition is of Maxwell J. Hamilton,

an FSO and co-author of the October FS

Heritage piece, “Taking Stock of Secretary

of State Charles Evans Hughes.”

Nicholas Willis, shown here, is the

nephew of Frances Elizabeth Willis, the

third woman to join the Foreign Service

and the first woman to make it a career,

rising to the rank of Career Ambassador in

1962. Willis is the author of

Frances Eliza-

beth Willis

(2013), a biography of his aunt.

We apologize to Nicholas Willis, Max-

well J. Hamilton and our readers for the