The Foreign Service Journal, June 2022

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | JUNE 2022 39 The evaluation and promotion process contains potential pitfalls for disabled members of the Foreign Service, the first blind FSO at State attests. BY ROY GLOVER Roy Glover joined the Foreign Service with the U.S. Information Agency in 1983, having passed the Foreign Service Officer Test four years earlier. He retired in 2008 and lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota. A vraham Rabby, the blind FSO who died in April 2020, is rightly recog- nized as a trailblazer for disabled individuals who seek careers in the U.S. Foreign Service. Although our years of service overlapped, Rabby and I never met. I became officially blind in 1981 as the result of an injury, joined the United States Information Agency in 1983 and retired in 2008. After passing the Foreign Service written and oral exams five times, Rabby finally entered the Department of State as an FSO in 1990. I recently learned of his death when I was searching for information about him and came across his obituary. Some of the comments by senior FSOs (published with the obituary) expressed views about excluding the disabled from Foreign Ser- A Foreign Service Career Blindness Didn’t StopMe vice employment that both surprised and disturbed me. I’d like to believe that those views are not widely shared, but reading them convinced me that it was time to record some of my own career experiences. The First Blind FSO Rabby was not the first blind officer in the U.S. Foreign Service, nor was Maryanne Masterson, who was a member of Rabby’s entry class. I entered the U.S. Information Agency in the Junior Officer class of May 1983 after what may have been a record span of years between passing the FS exam and reporting for duty. I took the written and oral exams in 1979 (my third attempt) while teaching philosophy at the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University in Minnesota. I also applied for a Fulbright Fellowship in Sweden at that time. When offered the Fulbright lecturing position, I accepted. My wife and two children accompanied me to Gothenburg University in the summer of 1979. Shortly after we had settled in Sweden, I received an offer to join USIA. Once I explained my situation to USIA personnel, they told me that my place on the register was secure. The Fulbright Fellowship, they explained, also served U.S. interests. I received three more offers to join USIA during the two- FOCUS A PROGRESS REPORT ON DIVERSITY