Students Gather To Learn About Careers in Foreign Service

October 01, 2014

Warburg CEC Panel

First Warburg event of academic year features a panel discussion by three U.S. ambassadors.

The inaugural Warburg event of the academic year, “A World in Crisis: Diplomacy Today and Careers in Foreign Service,” hosted a full house of Simmons students, alumni, and Boston-area graduate students. The panel of ambassadors shared stories about their tenure, and offered advice to students interested in pursuing a career in foreign service.

Warburg Professor of International Relations Amb. William M. Bellamy (ret.), moderated the event and framed the discussion around the importance of diplomacy.

Though diplomacy is taken for granted as a necessity in today’s globalized world, Amb. Bellamy pointed to the way in which Americans see diplomacy. “Diplomacy and conflict are seen as opposites,” he said. “When in fact, diplomacy must be practiced with adversaries and with those with whom the United States has competing interests, in times of war and peace.”

Amb. Mary Beth Leonard shared her experience when serving in Mali, and Amb. Robert Loftis spoke about his work on the HIV/AIDS crisis. Both ambassadors emphasised their roles as outsiders and how one must learn the nuances of a community’s structure and culture in order to create successful solutions to crises.

Similarly, Amb. Thomas Hull qualified what a “crisis” is within a small community and on a global scale. Referring to the current Ebola outbreak, Hull noted that the media coverage does not fully cover the entirety of the crisis by discussing the economic and political impact of a disease outbreak within a small community, before the crisis is on the global radar. As an ambassador, Hull said, one must be able to negotiate a crisis on the world stage and within a community, “through the optic of the mass media and through the history and culture of a people.”

After the panel, Amb. Leonard guided students through the process of becoming a foreign servant, listing available positions and internships, information about the foreign service exam, and the challenges of beginning a career in foreign service. Closing statements from the panel were optimistic about diplomacy in an increasingly globalized world.