AFSA Book Notes: American Ambassadors

Start Date/Time: 
Thursday, February 17, 2022 - 12:00
End Date/Time: 
Thursday, February 17, 2022 - 13:00

Join us as we welcome Ambassador (ret.) Dennis Jett in a discussion of his new book, American Ambassadors: A Guide for Aspiring Diplomats and Foreign Service Officers. AFSA President Ambassador Eric Rubin will moderate this virtual discussion, which will take place on Thursday February 17 at noon EST via Zoom. Click here to register.

If you ever wondered who becomes an American ambassador and why, this is the book for you. It describes how member of the Foreign Service become ambassadors by rising up through the ranks, and why they typically make up about 70 percent of the total number of ambassadors. It also covers where the other 30 percent come from—the political appointees who get the job because they helped elect the president by supporting him as a campaign contributor, a political ally, or a personal friend. It explains why, despite being illegal and a threat to national security, selling the title of ambassador remains a common practice that is also unique to the United States. It considers why some suggestions for reform are misguided, what might be done, and why who the president is matters so much in determining how well the United States will be represented abroad.

This updated and revised edition of Jett's classic book not only provides a timely overview of American ambassadorship for those in the Foreign Service, aspiring diplomats, and interested citizens, but also calls for much-needed reform, describing the dire implications of failing to change our ambassadorial appointments process for the future of American diplomatic practice and foreign policy.

There will be time for Q&A following the moderated discussion; the event will also be recorded and made available for later online viewing on the AFSA website.