The Foreign Service Journal, February 2010

F O C U S O N L I F E & W O R K A F T E R T H E F S A CADEMIA A BROAD : A L OGICAL N EXT S TEP 24 F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L / F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 0 fter 30-plus years in the Foreign Service, I was very happy to find that there is indeed life after government. Much as I loved the Foreign Service, my past decade as president of Anatolia College in Greece and its university division, the American College of Thessaloniki, has been the most challenging and fulfilling period of my professional life. Anatolia College, whose origins go back to the 1806 “Haystack Meeting” at Williams College, is one of the old- est American institutions in the Mediterranean region. Its first incarnation was as a Congregationalist seminary in Constantinople (now Istanbul), which divided in two in 1862. Anatolia College relocated toMarsovan in the Black Sea area while its sister school, Robert College, remained on the original campus. Turkey shut the school down during the Greek-Turkish conflagration of 1921, known in Greece as the “catastro- phe.” At the invitation of Greek statesman Eleftherios Venizelos, Anatolia College relocated to Thessaloniki in 1924. Today it is comprised of an elementary school for 600 students, a six-year high school for about 1,300 students — generally considered the best in Greece — and an un- dergraduate and graduate program for 500, offering regu- lar and executive MBAs. I like to think that skills acquired in the Foreign Service are essential prerequisites for being an effective college president abroad, and that academia is a very logical fol- low-up to the Foreign Service. In fact, I’d go even further: the job in Thessaloniki, involving unrestricted access to the highest levels of the Greek government for fundraising, lob- bying and outreach, was inmany ways more “Foreign Serv- ice” than today’s diplomatic corps, with its tight security and circumscribed access to the host country. The “diplo” aspect of running a college was also inten- sified by my work for the past two years as president of the Association of American International Colleges and Uni- versities. This is a network of 22 U.S.-accredited colleges and universities abroad, stretching from Pakistan and Kyrzgystan to France and from the United Kingdom to Nigeria. It includes many institutions well known within the Service. Receiving an academic salary on top of my Foreign Service pension also confers a level of financial security I never felt while at State. How to make such a jump, how- ever, was by no means obvious to me as I approached re- W ORKING IN OVERSEAS EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS CAN IN MANY WAYS BE MORE “F OREIGN S ERVICE ” THAN TODAY ’ S DIPLOMATIC CORPS . B Y R ICHARD J ACKSON A Richard Jackson, a Foreign Service officer from 1965 to 1999, served as president of Anatolia College from 1999 to 2009 and of the Association of American International Col- leges and Universities from 2007 to 2009. He is the author of The Non-Aligned, the United Nations and the Super- powers (Praeger, 1983).