THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
My first call was to my
former New Delhi DCM,
Don Lu, who was stuck in
the confirmation process,
to recruit him to be my dep-
uty. We then started putting
together a small team from
the Bureau of Oceans and
tal and Scientific Affairs and
those working on medical
and post evacuations. We were a bit of a ragtag operation, but
everyone was incredibly dedicated and worked long hours to
secure and coordinate international support and to help the mis-
sions in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea cope with the disease
and the influx of assistance.
I represented the department at most interagency meetings,
in addition to briefing the Hill and doing media interviews. I am
hopeful that the lessons learned will result in maintaining a small
office capable of tracking potential pandemics and of advising
senior leaders when a more robust response is needed before
they become major crises.
More recently, I understand that you have mentored
three recent ambassadorial seminar classes. How is working with
ambassadors in training different from the mentoring you did
while on active duty?
I’m actually up to five classes and have enjoyed it very
much. For the career people, the emphasis is on helping them
adopt successful strategies for leading their missions and avoid-
ing pitfalls that lead to failure. For the non-career appointees,
the focus is on helping them to understand how the department
works and on their authorities and how to use them.
What are the essential ingredients for a successful diplo-
I think the key elements are:
• Patriotism, and a recognition that we have a unique privi-
lege to serve the American people, not the bureau or country of
our current assignment;
• Integrity in all that we do whether it is adjudicating visas,
administering programs or providing analysis of political and
• Respect for our embassy and department colleagues, all of
whom are supporting our mission no matter what their role, and
for host-government officials and citizens;
• Energy and enthusi-
asm for the tasks at hand,
as well as for continuing to
• A well-developed
sense of the absurd and a
sense of humor.
climate is certainly far less
promising than it was when
you were Director General. Howwould you describe your level of
optimism about the state of the Foreign Service and the future of
I share the concern of those who believe that the
announced cuts in funding and personnel are misplaced and have
the potential to do damage to our country and its security. While
I support the general concept of a well-informed reorganization
of some elements of the department, I amdeeply opposed to sug-
gestions that the visa and refugee functions be transferred to the
Department of Homeland Security.
I have taken some comfort in the testimonials of our Depart-
ment of Defense colleagues, members of Congress and former
appointees, who have been outspoken in their support for the
Department of State and their recognition of the role it needs to
play to ensure our national security. I struggle to understand our
current national security leadership’s reluctance to fully engage
the department in meeting the complex challenges we face as
a nation. I have every confidence that the Foreign Service will
continue to provide their expertise and experience and be will-
ing to serve.
How has the role of the Foreign Service changed since you
The Service is much larger andmuchmore diverse.
Women play a muchmore significant role in its leadership. Non-
State Department agencies have greatly expanded at posts and
in their influence in national security decisions. The functional
bureaus have expanded to address the growing list of global issues.
What advice do you give to young people today who are
considering a career in the Foreign Service?
Go for it! You’ll never find a more fascinating career that
allows you to serve your nation and to learn something new every
day. You will work with an incredible group of people who will
become a part of your family.
I struggle to understand our
current national security
leadership’s reluctance to
fully engage the department
in meeting the complex
challenges we face as a nation.