The Foreign Service Journal - June 2014 - page 8

JUNE 2014
Diplomats of the World, Write!
Shawn Dorman is the editor of
The Foreign Service Journal.
his month members of other
countries’ diplomatic corps
offer an inside look at what it’s
like to be part of the Foreign
Service of their countries. We hope to
bring in more voices from other countries
through occasional articles from foreign
diplomats in the future.
To kick off this series, we bring you
diplomats from four countries: Turkey,
India, Romania and Finland. Three served
as Transatlantic Diplomatic Exchange
Fellows in a program that brings diplo-
mats fromNATO and European Union
countries to work at the State Department
for a year, and sends U.S. diplomats to
those foreign ministries.
Turkish diplomat Ömer Murat tells
about how the Turkish Foreign Ministry
handled tensions between generalists and
specialists that was leading to special-
ist resignations. In “The Indian Foreign
Service: The Glass Gets Fuller,” Ambas-
sador Kishan Rana writes that the Indian
Ministry of External Affairs is inviting
younger officers to bring forward reform
ideas, with the notion that the “young-
sters” have the biggest stake in reform
and the freshest thinking to offer.
In “Life and Work in the Romanian
Foreign Service,” Diana Tase explains how
Romania chooses its diplomats. Finally,
Aaretti Siitonen explains that most Finnish
diplomats also do development work; the
foreign aid agency was merged with the
foreign ministry in the 1990s.
When diplomats write,
they must consider carefully
what they say, given clear-
ance requirements. As the
aims to
be a welcoming place for members of the
U.S. Foreign Service (and other countries’
diplomatic corps) to share their experi-
ences and perspectives, we are keenly
aware of the barriers that a clearance
process can create.
In an up-close look at Foreign Service
writing, FSO Yaniv Barzilai tells of his
adventures in publishing, and offers
advice and encouragement for others
considering going down this road, as well
as suggestions for how to make the pro-
cess work better. We hope it will inspire.
FS writing might just get easier soon,
as AFSA has been negotiating with the
State Department on updates to the regu-
lations on the publication. Look for good
news on that in the July-August issue.
Already inspiring others to write is
former FSO and Army veteran Ron Capps,
whose new book,
Seriously Not All Right:
Five Wars in Ten Years
, is reviewed by
FSO Douglas Koneff in this issue. Finding
strength through writing, Capps now
helps others do the same through the
nonprofit Veterans Writing Project.
In AFSA News, you’ll find the inspir-
ing and tragic story of Antoinette “Toni”
Tomasek, a USAID Foreign Service officer
and beloved wife, mother, friend and
colleague. “She was driven by the pas-
sionate belief that individuals can make
a difference,” said USAID Administrator
Rajiv Shah. “Her inspiration will be felt for
decades to come.”
Toni’s name is inscribed on the AFSA
Memorial Plaque, unveiled during the
AFSA Memorial Ceremony on May 2.
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