The Foreign Service Journal, June 2020

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | JUNE 2020 37 FEATURE Diplomats at U.S. Mission Ecuador drew on talent, creativity and sheer determination. BY AME L I A SHAW W hen the order came down on March 12 that the country would be going into lockdown, many in U.S. Mission Ecuador were still processing what that would mean. School closings. Curfews. A run on the local supermarkets. A medical system overwhelmed. But for the consular teams in Quito and Guayaquil it simply meant—let’s get to work. And for Alex Delorey, Ecuador’s con- sular coordinator with 17 years of Foreign Service experience, this was a situation for which there is no preparation. “We practice crisis response, for localized events. For an earthquake, or a volcanic eruption. But not this,” says Delorey. “We have never experienced a global pandemic where all other countries are equally impacted. So sometimes we had to make it up as we go.” Mobilizing a Massive Operation When Ecuador abruptly closed its borders on March 15, an estimated 8,000 Americans reached out to the embassy asking for help to get back to the States. It was up to the embassy and consulate to figure out who they were, where they were, and then get them out. A Song for Unsung Heroes Amelia Shaw is a public diplomacy officer at U.S. Embassy Quito. She joined the State Department in 2014, and in 2015 was the recipient of AFSA’s W. Averell Harriman Award for Constructive Dis- sent. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, she was a foreign correspondent for National Public Radio, a TV news pro- ducer and a regular contributor to CNN. She has completed tours in Mexico and Laos. Getting #AmericansHome fromEcuador