THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
The interviews also shed light on the day-to-day work of
embassy employees that rarely makes the news—how consular
officers assessed the revolution’s impact onmigration patterns
through interactions at their visa windows; the unique challenges
for regional security officers (RSOs) protecting U.S. officials,
including congressional delegations, while they visited protests; or
the emotional story of one Locally Employed staffmember, mobi-
lized into the Ukrainianmilitary to help fend off Russian aggres-
sion, who received assistance fromhis fellow local staff colleagues
so he could be properly outfitted when he deployed to the front.
We recorded each interviewwith audio and video equipment
and produced transcripts that participants could review. What
resulted was hours of useful material that provide an unusually
detailed look at diplomacy and the diplomat’s life, as seen through
the eyes of diplomats themselves.
Continuing the Story, and Stories
I amnowworking with ADST to find the right venue for these
materials, including choosing excerpts that could be released or
exhibited to educate the American public about the historic work
the Foreign Service, and the U.S. government more broadly, per-
While my initial motivations for the project were based on
interest in preserving history and educating the public, I came to
learn that the simple act of sitting down and talking about one’s
experiences can have unexpected benefits. Many participants told
me it felt refreshing to get out of their day-to-day grind and have a
chance to reflect, even if for only an hour, on their experiences at
post—to gather their thoughts and develop a comprehensive view
of their assignment. For others, just participating in the project was
cathartic after such a stressful year.
Given howmany of my colleagues benefited from their par-
ticipation in the project, perhaps as an organization we should
consider adopting oral history as a formof exit interview at more
posts—particularly ones that have faced a crisis—as a way to bring
assignments to a close in a manner that affirms the experiences
and contributions of all our employees overseas.
The interviews also shed
light on the day-to-day work
of embassy employees that
rarely makes the news.