Looking to the Future


Secretary Blinken holds a meet and greet with U.S. Embassy Georgetown staff and families in Georgetown, Guyana, on July 6, 2023.
U.S. State Department / Ron Przysucha

Right now, our world is facing profound tests: The development of new technologies like artificial intelligence. The mounting effects of the climate crisis and the demands of the clean energy transition. The emergence of new powers and an escalating strategic competition. The persistence of deadly conflicts that fuel dire humanitarian crises and threaten regional, and even global, instability.

In a moment like this one, American diplomacy is critical. The only way to solve problems today—and seize opportunities for tomorrow—is to work closely with our allies, learn from experts across the globe, and collaborate with leaders from civil societies and the private sector.

That’s why we’ve revitalized the power and purpose of American diplomacy, boosting our competitiveness at home and investing in our global network of partners.

But today, as for the last 100 years, the effectiveness of our diplomacy also comes from the strength of our Foreign Service.

For a century, the U.S. Foreign Service has helped solve global problems and shape a more open, secure, and prosperous world for Americans and for people in other countries. You’ve represented our nation with courage, character, and a commitment to our highest ideals. You have done this work in dangerous places; so many of you have served thousands of miles away from your loved ones. As times have changed, you’ve adapted, advancing new missions, learning new skills, and engaging in innovative ways with more audiences.

No matter the challenge, and no matter the odds, you’ve shown time and again that the Foreign Service doesn’t back down. You dive in.

Secretary Blinken hosts a town hall at the Chiefs of Mission Conference at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on June 22, 2022. He is joined on stage by Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Global Talent Ambassador Marcia Bernicat.
U.S. State Department / Ron Przysucha

Secretary Blinken holds a meet and greet with employees and families of U.S. Consulate Lagos in Lagos, Nigeria, Jan. 24, 2024.
U.S. State Department / Chuck Kennedy

As a former junior staffer at State, I know what it’s like to work long nights, on short deadlines, just to do it all again the next day. And as a father of two young kids, I know how it feels to miss important moments with them because you’re trying to make life a little better for their generation.

As Secretary, I also know just how many people are counting on our Foreign Service, in so many different ways. You’re helping small business owners reach new global markets, providing scholarships for college kids to study in another country, and protecting Americans by disrupting the supply chains that bring fentanyl into our communities. You’re resettling refugees from Ukraine and Afghanistan, supporting conservationists who are protecting the environment, and leading critical negotiations to end conflicts. The work you do reaches far and wide.

So, since Day One, it’s been a top priority for me to invest in our Foreign Service. We need to continue to build a diplomatic corps that looks like the country it represents, gives everyone the chance to learn and grow, and empowers our people to share their ideas and contribute their full talents and potential.

You play an essential role in these efforts. As members of AFSA, through employee organizations, and within your own teams, you’ve worked to build a better Foreign Service, one that’s more agile, more inclusive, and more effective.

It’s just one more way that you’re following in the footsteps of those who came before you—and helping make the future a little brighter.

Wherever, and however, you serve, I’m proud to be your Secretary, and I’m grateful for all you do to deliver for people across our country and around the world.

Thank you.

Antony J. Blinken is the 71st U.S. Secretary of State.


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