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Your Diplomats at Work: A Comedy in Seven Acts
Your Diplomats at Work is Frank Huffman’s account of his sometimes comical, sometimes frustrating, but always enlightening adventures as a diplomat in London, Burma, Morocco, Paris, Washington, Cambodia, New Zealand, and Chad.
As a former professor of Linguistics and Asian Studies who had worked and traveled in some sixty countries of the world before joining the Foreign Service in 1985 at age 51, Huffman provides trenchant commentary on the history, culture, and political situation in each country.
Written with a light touch, the book critiques some of the stifling bureaucracy and resultant inefficiency of the U.S. Department of State, along with practical recommendations for improvement. Huffman addresses such issues as the “shotgun wedding” of USIA and State, problems for two-career families, playing “Russian Roulette” with one’s children’s education, and “silly” travel restrictions such as the Fly America Act.
In his Prologue he describes the circuitous route by which a Virginia farm boy became a professor and diplomat. This brief account of the first fifty years of the author’s life establishes his credentials and makes Your Diplomats at Work a richly detailed memoir of the author’s many and varied experiences.
About the Author
Born in Virginia in 1934, Franklin E. Huffman received a BA degree from Bridgewater College in 1955 and a PhD from Cornell University in 1967. Huffman taught Thai, Cambodian, Vietnamese, and Southeast Asian linguistics as a professor of linguistics and Asian studies at Yale University (1967–72) and Cornell University (1972–85).
In 1985, Dr. Huffman joined the U.S. Foreign Service, and served in the United Kingdom, Burma, Morocco, France, Washington, Cambodia, and New Zealand before retiring at the age of 65 in 1999. Following retirement, he served brief tours for the Department of State in both Chad and Cambodia. Frank Huffman is the author of ten books on Southeast Asian languages and linguistics. He has spent some ten years in Asia, and has worked and traveled in more than seventy countries of the world. He and his wife Sanda, a professional interpreter, live in Washington, DC.