The Foreign Service Journal, December 2023

40 DECEMBER 2023 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL FSJ: Are you optimistic about the future of professional diplomacy? Why or why not? JFT: Yes. As I said in my acceptance speech for the Lifetime Contributions to American Diplomacy Award: “It seems to me that the need for a Foreign Service of creative, nonpartisan Ambassador John Tefft and Mariella Tefft at the State Department for the AFSA awards ceremony, where he received the award for Lifetime Contributions to American Diplomacy on Oct. 5, 2023. AFSA/CALEB SCHLABACH professionals advising our political leaders and implementing American foreign policy around the world is as vital today as any time in my lifetime. Understanding the threats we face and devising creative strategies and tactics to deal with them will be vital. That will require hard and soft power. And we will have to do this with our own country still deeply divided. Like Masha Yovanovitch and so many others, today’s Foreign Service officers will have to stand up for our country’s values and their personal integrity as they do their work.” FSJ: Is the Foreign Service as an institution strong today? JFT: I think the Foreign Service went through a tough time with the last administration. This is not the first time in our history that we have experienced setbacks. But I think we are getting stronger. The younger officers whom I have met are very talented. During my recent visit to Lithuania, I was impressed with the talent and performance of younger officers. We need to keep building the young talent we have recruited. We need to mentor and nurture their careers. n