The Foreign Service Journal

March 2014

The Foreign Service Journal covers foreign affairs from an insider's perspective, providing thought-provoking articles on international issues, the practice of diplomacy and the U.S. Foreign Service. Including the AFSA News section, The Journal is published monthly (January-February and July-August issues combined) by the American Foreign Service Association.

The March issue’s focus is on “Telling Our Stories: The Foreign Affairs Oral History Collection,” spotlighting selections from fascinating interviews with Foreign Service officers that give a window into the challenges, as well as the lighter moments, of a diplomatic career. Managing Editor Susan Brady Maitra has compiled this collection of six stories, one from each decade between 1940 and 2000. These stories truly reflect the importance of having seasoned, qualified diplomats on the ground at all times.

This month’s feature is James Thomas Snyder’s Some Dreamers of the Impossible Dream. Adapted from his book, The U.S. and the Challenge of Public Diplomacy, it discusses the possibility of overcoming the ethnic fractures in the Balkans. In addition, Jessie Bryson shares her experience adapting to the life of a Foreign Service spouse in “A ‘Trailing’ Spouse?”

In his reflection, A Quote for My Marquee, retired Foreign Service officer Donald M. Bishop shows us that diplomats often face unexpected challenges, for example discussing women’s magazines in China with Helen Gurley Brown. Finally, in the AFSA President’s Views column, Robert J. Silverman offers a provocative piece on social media and its usefulness—or lack thereof—as a diplomatic tool.

We always welcome short, focused letters about FSJ content; please send them to