Your browser (Internet Explorer 7 or lower) is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites. Learn how to update your browser.

X

“Coincidence is God Acting Anonymously!”—Faith in Service

Life can sometimes be unpredictable in the Foreign Service. Serving as a development officer may perhaps be even more unpredictable, since one often confronts unique challenges in distinct parts of the world. Many who are called to public service have a passion for change and improvement; they embark on a path unlike any other.

USAID; U.S. Embassy & Consulate
USAID; U.S. Embassy & Consulate

The United States sends men and women across the world to serve in diplomacy, trade, humanitarian aid, and development projects. During the 1970s and 1980s, the United States invested more resources in Latin America; Central America was a prime example—Honduras, Belize, and Guatemala. Much of this investment was dedicated to infrastructure development for national governments, and its success depended on the efforts of dedicated public servants.

Henry “Hank” Weiss was one such person—a man of faith and service. He defines his life in five words: “Coincidence is God acting anonymously.” Life brings strange consequences to situations unimaginable. In this “moment” in U.S. diplomatic history, we see that Hank Weiss learned from his many years overseas—from Latin America to Africa to Eastern Europe—that it absolutely takes a village to raise a child. Weiss, with strong faith and the support of friends, worked with USAID, the Peace Corps, and the Department of State, and sought to make a lasting contribution in the countries where he served.

Read more

Art as the Universal Language: Cultural Expression Serves as the Bridge for the Separated People of Cyprus

A sense of misunderstanding is what undoubtedly lies at the heart of conflict, especially between nations who apparently strive for what is best for their peoples. But as time moves on, so too do the Turkish and Greek Cypriots who first began their detachment from their respective governments’ political impasse in the early 1990s. Marcelle Wahba, a USIS public affairs officer at the time, subsequently bridged both the physical and social divide between the north and south sides of the island of Cyprus through a form of expression limited to no bounds: art.

A tent city near Dhekelia for Greek-Cypriot refugees and displaced persons from the battles in and around the resort of Famagusta where Turkish amphibious forces had landed on the sandy beaches and occupied the city (2009) Brian Harrington Spier  | Wikimedia Commons
A tent city near Dhekelia for Greek-Cypriot refugees and displaced persons from the battles in and around the resort of Famagusta where Turkish amphibious forces had landed on the sandy beaches and occupied the city (2009) Brian Harrington Spier | Wikimedia Commons

In 1974, the growing international dispute over Cyprus between Greece and Turkey ultimately culminated in a Greek coup d’état of the local government that was swiftly answered by a Turkish military invasion of the island. As political gridlock ensued with no resolution in sight, thousands of civilians found themselves displaced from their homes. Turkish Cypriots therefore settled in the North while Greek Cypriots lived in the South. The UN established a Buffer Zone, also known as the “Green Zone,” which prevented citizens of both nationalities from crossing. The violent conflict that resulted from the previous engagements ultimately left psychological wounds amongst Cypriots that lasted for years.

Read more