One of the programs I think the Department in general and public diplomacy in particular does really well is the International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP).
IVLP is designed to identify future leaders in a country and bring them to the United States for a visit. The idea is to find them early and introduce them to US culture, government, etc. One returning IV said, "It is impossible to participate in this program and not be a friend of the U.S. forever."
I certainly hope so.
So last week we learned about the program, and today, we all participated in "openings," or the first meetings for new IVs. I was alone with an individual IV. She is young, but clearly super active. I am not sure she sleeps. Getting to meet her and talk about the work she is doing in her country (which for her privacy I won't detail here) reminded me once again why I am glad to be in the Foreign Service.
Did I mention I really like the "foreign" part?
In my last three years in the Department, I have not had any interaction with non-Americans. So it was really nice to remember what that is like and why this work is so cool.