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The Pursuit of Perfection: Dilemmas in the Foreign Service

Capturing, preserving, and sharing the experiences of America’s diplomats. ADST’s maxim perfectly encapsulates the diverse nature of a Foreign Service career that arguably makes every officer’s professional journey unique. And yet, underlying the idiosyncratic nature of these experiences are undoubtedly core values and challenges that unite most—if not all—individuals in this particular field. This is […]

The Consequences of Serendipity: From Peace Corps to USAID

Is anything ever truly up to chance? Or are these moments of chance instead a culmination of one’s hard work? Possibly both? Regardless, these moments of chance—or rather, serendipity—are something with which former U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Counselor Kelly Kammerer is familiar. Throughout Kammerer’s career in the Foreign Service, he describes several notable […]

A Not-So-Quiet Arrival in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Foreign Service Officers (FSOs) must constantly be on alert for security threats, which can sneak up during the most unexpected times. Oftentimes when FSOs arrive at a new post, they may expect to be greeted by friendly faces who are ready to welcome them to their new country. However, even these simple, lively occasions can […]

Pandemic Pandemonium: International Cooperation in the Face of Crisis

Several devastating pandemics have plagued human civilization throughout history. From the Black Death (1350) to the deadly Coronavirus, each outbreak has its own unique challenges and many human casualties. This was true for the virus that “shook” the beginning of the twenty-first century: the Avian Influenza. Nicknamed the Bird Flu, the Avian Influenza had its […]

Counterinsurgency and the Vietnam War

The United States Intelligence Community was, infamously, heavily involved in the Cold War. The tensions between the United States and the USSR dominated world affairs between 1945–1991, periodically erupting into “hot” conflicts beyond the two powers’ borders. Perhaps the most destructive of these conflicts was the Vietnam War, which extended from 1955–1975. In Vietnam, the […]

Rivalry in the Southeast: Preah Vihear Temple Dispute Between Cambodia and Thailand

Foreign Service Officer Thomas Donohue served in both continental and archipelagic Southeast Asia during a tumultuous period in which countries in the region and other parts of the globe were breaking away from European colonial powers. He witnessed first-hand the complex relations among regional countries. During his assignment in Cambodia from 1962 to 1964, both […]

Origins of the Carter Center’s Election Observation Work

The Carter Center was founded in 1982 just after President Jimmy Carter was defeated in the 1980 U.S. presidential elections. He and his wife, Rosalynn Carter, partnered with Emory University to begin the non-profit. Today, the center is known, in part, for its efforts to promote democracy around the world, especially through election observation and […]

Presidents, Russians, and Diplomatic Wives: Anecdotes from a Voice of America Newsman

Journalist Euguene F. Karst knew the importance of words. He personally witnessed how communication could highlight the opinions of little known Russian farmers but also lead to embarrassing misunderstandings for the President of the United States. Through the Office of War Information, Voice of America, and other reporting, Karst worked to spread the principles and […]