The Foreign Service Journal, March 2024

20 MARCH 2024 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL A Century of Service Firsthand Accounts from U.S. Diplomats FOCUS FOREIGN SERVICE ORAL HISTORIES Over the 10 decades since the Rogers Act created the modern Foreign Service, America’s diplomats have made extraordinary contributions to advancing our nation’s security, prosperity, and ideals. At posts around the world, practitioners from U.S. foreign affairs agencies have been promoting the national interest in concrete ways, serving our citizens overseas as well as American farmers, businesses, and workers back home. Their service often goes uncelebrated, and so The Foreign Service Journal turns to the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training (ADST) and its Foreign Affairs Oral History Program to help tell their stories. Drawing from ADST’s collection of more than 2,600 oral histories, these accounts from across a century of service illusISTOCKPHOTO.COM/SERHII PSAROV Tom Selinger is a career Foreign Service officer on detail as executive director of the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training. He and his tandem spouse have served in five countries across three continents and counting. trate the breadth of the work individual American diplomats do at home and abroad and the challenges they routinely overcome. Evacuating citizens, controlling immigration, negotiating alliances, promoting trade, protecting farms, preserving jobs, defending health, responding to crises, fostering peace, reuniting families, and sometimes simply living up to the ideal America represents to the rest of the world—the list of their duties is long, their dedication exemplary. Founded in 1986, ADST is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to promoting understanding of diplomacy and diplomatic practitioners. The core of the association’s work involves capturing and sharing the oral histories of diplomats. ADST’s collection—including compilations focused on particular subjects and countries, as well as the full oral history of each diplomat in this article—is accessible at https://adst. org. In addition, ADST assists in the preparation and publication of books on diplomacy and contributes to case studies and educational materials for both practitioners and students of diplomacy. Its innovative outreach efforts include podcasts, social media, lesson plans for high school teachers, and an online series, “Moments in Diplomatic History,” presenting key international developments and humorous aspects of the Service through the eyes of its practitioners.