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THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

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SEPTEMBER 2016

47

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.

O

ne of my men-

tors, Ambassador

(ret.) Cameron

Hume, said it was

crucial to develop

strategies far in

advance in order

to bring concrete

accomplishments

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:

Winning Strategies

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

COURTESYOFU.S.EMBASSYHANOI

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.

FOCUS

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.