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The Art of Protocol

Understanding the rules of protocol is essential to conducting diplomacy, as any diplomat would attest. Everything from knowing how to properly greet a foreign leader, understanding foreign customs, or having suitable seating arrangements at a state dinner plays an important role in the diplomatic process. The White House Chief of Protocol is responsible for advising […]

The Emperor’s New Year’s Day Party

With brightly colored clothes and impeccable attention to protocol, Foreign Service spouse Hilda Lewis hoped to impress at the Japanese Emperor’s 1955 New Year’s reception at the Imperial Palace. As she felt her hat slowly slipping off her head while she bowed to the empress, Lewis knew everything wasn’t going quite according to plan. Despite […]

Rough Landing: Controlled Aircraft Crash in Honduras

Towards the end of his posting in Honduras, Ambassador Frank Almaguer received multiple requests from other countries’ ambassadors for transportation to an event in what they deemed the “safer” method of flight—a U.S. military C-12 aircraft. Due to a lack of room, Ambassador Almaguer turned down the requests. Little did he know his plane would […]

A Georgian Spring Amidst Autumn: The Rose Revolution from a U.S. Perspective

Revolutions are always exciting times for U.S. Foreign Service personnel, and the November 2003 Rose Revolution in Georgia was no different. Denny Robertson served as a USAID (United States Agency for International Development) election observer. When President Shevardnadze’s government allegedly rigged a parliamentary election, Robertson saw first-hand how Georgians took to the streets and protested […]

Not so Sudan-ly—Six Years for Independence

Allan Reed’s extraordinary relationship with Sudan can be traced all the way back to the late 1960s, when he joined the Peace Corps as a twenty-something university graduate. Volunteering for three years along Ethiopia’s western border to assist Sudanese refugees fleeing the conflict of their homeland, Reed became highly invested in the country and its […]

How Soviet Astronauts Met Stars in America

Two Soviet astronauts—a general and a scientist—come to visit the United States. They ride roller coasters at Disneyland, donkeys at the Grand Canyon, and a presidential plane through the sky—and then, they drop in on an A-list Hollywood party. It’s not the opening line of a joke, or the premise of a comedy film—it happened, […]