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Search Our Oral History Collection – – – – – – Featured History: Herman Rossi III
Herman Rossi III, born in Pensacola, Florida, studied at Gonzaga University and Washington State University before entering the Foreign Service in 1965. During his time as the desk officer for the Democratic Republic of Congo, he attended a State dinner with President Mobutu.
Here's an excerpt: "A few months after I became ambassador’s aide, the mercenaries of the Sixth Commando in Kisangani revolted. The mercenary revolt was a very traumatic experience all over the country, not just up in the northeast. In Kinshasa, Lubumbashi and elsewhere, the Congolese army, which was never well disciplined, reacted to the revolt by directing their suspicion and animosity toward all whites in general. White civilians were hauled out of their cars at army roadblocks. Some were let go, some were beaten up and some were arrested. In Katanga, several civilian expatriates were actually killed. It was quite dangerous all over the Congo for all whites for several months."
Diversifying Diplomacy is the story of Ambassador Harriet Elam-Thomas, who grew up in Boston's Roxbury neighborhood and went on to challenge the status quo and beat the odds. Inspired by the strong women in her life, she helped make the Foreign Service reflect the diversity of the United States. The youngest child of parents who left the segregated South to raise a family in Massachusetts, Elam-Thomas distinguished herself with a diplomatic career at a time when few colleagues looked like her.