Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Being a Foreign Service Officer Became Much, Much Harder After 9/11

In the wake of Anne Smedinghoff's death in Afghanistan, attention is once again being paid to the difficulties and dangers of being a Foreign Service Officer.

The Atlantic has a piece talking about how our work has changed since 9/11.

The piece includes an interview with Nicholas Kralev, author of the book America's Other Army: The U.S. Foreign Service and 21st Century Diplomacy. Kralev was asked:

What kind of personalities succeed best in the Foreign Service?

He answered: "You need to be very adaptable, to enjoy living in foreign countries and change them every three years at the most, to be good at foreign languages and know how to operate in foreign cultures, and in unfamiliar and sometimes dangerous environments. You also have to be a self-learner and a quick study, because training in the service is minimal and proper professional development doesn't even exist. More specifically, you have to be an excellent writer, analyst, negotiator, advocate and communicator, with broad knowledge and understanding of how the host country works, and have ability to quickly acquire basic expertise in a new field. It helps to be good at entrepreneurship and innovation."

You can read the whole piece here.

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