THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
Ted Osius is U.S. ambassador to the Socialist Republic
of Vietnam. During a 28-year Foreign Service career, he
has served in the Philippines, the Holy See, U.S. Mission
to the United Nations, Vietnam (twice), Thailand, India,
Indonesia and Washington, D.C.
ne of my men-
Hume, said it was
crucial to develop
strategies far in
advance in order
to bring concrete
over the finish line during a senior-level visit.
Anything worth doing takes time, serious
effort and an investment of intellectual capi-
tal, he said. Mission Vietnam began hearing
of a possible presidential visit a year before
it actually took place, so we decided to put
Ambassador Hume’s theory to a test.
At a country team workshop precisely a year before the visit,
we began to envision what actions —I like to call them “joint
endeavors” as opposed to “deliverables,” because they involve
Over the Finish Line:
for a Successful Visit
Advance planning and sustained initiative from mid-level officers
who own their ideas are the keys to a fruitful high-level visit.
BY TED OS I US
U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius, center, with Scott Kofmehl, left, and Alex Titolo
at the Hanoi airport to receive President Barack Obama on May 24.
ON DIPLOMATIC TRADECRAFT
both partners—would truly move U.S.-Vietnam relations to
the next level. Communist Party Chief Nguyen Phu Trong has
noted that when our two countries engage in practical activi-
ties together, we build trust, so at least at the top-most level of
Vietnam’s hierarchy there was support for a “joint” approach. We
concluded internally that a visit would allow us to deepen rela-
tions in five areas of engagement: joint prosperity; educational
collaboration; environment, science, technology and health;
security; and governance.