In A Professional Foreigner (Potomac Books/U of Nebraska Press), volume #74 in the Diplomats and Diplomacy Series, Ambassador Edward Marks describes his life as a workaday American professional diplomat, including several close encounters with the U.S. military. Serving primarily in Africa and Asia, Marks was present during the era of decolonization in Africa (but always seemed to be at the opposite end of the continent from the hottest developments); was intimately involved in the early days of the U.S. government’s antiterrorism programs; observed the unfolding of a nasty and tragic ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka; saw the end of the Cold War at UN headquarters in New York; and returned to active duty postretirement on assignment to the U.S. Pacific Command at Pearl Harbor. Along the way he served as the U.S. ambassador to Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde.
“Edward Marks’s highly engaging and poignant memoir is also a valuable primer on the profession and art of diplomacy . . . a paean to the golden age of diplomacy and multilateralism. [Readers] will come away with admiration for his modesty, quiet humor, and commitment to service and to creating a better world.”
—Milinda Moragoda, high commissioner of Sri Lanka to India, founder of the Pathfinder Foundation, and former cabinet minister in Sri Lanka
Marks portrays Foreign Service officers––what we think and what we do all day. It’s just that we do this in other people’s countries, he says, and therein lies the charm and distinction of the life of the professional diplomat.
EDWARD MARKS retired from the Foreign Service as a Minister-Counselor after four decades, with early assignments in Kenya, Mexico, Angola, Zambia, Belgium, and Zaire. In 1976, he was ambassador to the Republics of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde. In 1980 he attended the National War College, then moved to the Department of State as the deputy coordinator for counterterrorism. In 1986–89 he served as deputy chief of mission and chargé d’affaires in Colombo, then as deputy U.S. representative to the UN Economic and Social Council in New York, with a last hurrah in Honolulu.