The Foreign Service Journal - July/August 2016
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Professional Training

AFSA President Barbara Stephenson

says that training acquired through

assignments is the primary form of

training in the Foreign Service (Presi- dent’s Views, May FSJ ). Frankly I see t


as a great problem.

Training through assignments, and

the often-absent quality mentoring, is at

best a hit-or-miss situation. Any serious

diplomatic establishment should have

a proper diplomatic school or acad-

emy where new entrants can have a

minimum of one year of full-time career

training, or ideally two years.

This is especially essential at a time

when we are emphasizing diversity.

Diversity is a great advantage to the

Service, but the diverse backgrounds of

the candidates must be fleshed out with

career-related material.

In the early days of the Service, when

most entrants had studied subjects at

university closely tied to the needs of

the department’s work, that was not too

important. That is no longer the case,

however, and therefore must be rem-

edied. We are falling very short on this

score and thus doing a great disservice

to many new officers.

Robert Illing

FSO, retired

Porto, Portugal


The photo in Sarah Sewall’s “Corrup- tion: A 21st-Century Security Challenge,”


the June


, was wrongly captioned.

The photo on p. 21 shows Under

Secretary Sewall discussing links between

corruption, human trafficking and illegal

fishing with port security officials in

Thailand, not her visit to a police station in


We regret the error, which has been cor-

rected in the


s online edition.