“Again and again, through all my visits to your country, I’ve been struck by one profound fact: Afghans want, deserve and are building a better future.”—Secretary Kerry on elections in Afghanistan, July 30, 2014
“When you promote democratic change, transform borders of conflict into bastions of peace, empower women to realize their aspirations, you create a better future, not for some, but for all.”—Secretary Kerry to the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, July 28, 2014
“Each side has powerful feelings about the history and why they are where they are. And what we’re going to work at is how do…we have an ability to provide security for Israel and a future for the Palestinians.”—U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Paris, France, July 26, 2014
Experience of a Lifetime: Young African Leaders Studying in the United States
From the University of California-Berkeley to Yale University, 500 young African leaders from sub-Saharan African countries are studying at academic institutions throughout the United States and gaining meaningful, life-changing experiences that will shape the way they interact with each other and help encourage further advancements in their respective fields. These young Africans are the first wave of participants in the Washington Fellowship, the flagship program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) that empowers young people through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking.
“Today’s resolution calls for a full, thorough and independent investigation into the horrific downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17. When 298 civilians are killed, we agree that we must stop at nothing to determine who is responsible and bring them to justice.”—Ambassador Power on UNSC vote on resolution concerning downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17.
“We are deeply concerned by the Russia-backed separatists’ refusal to allow OSCE monitors safe and unfettered access to the crash site of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17…We urge Russia to honor its commitments and to publicly call on the separatists to do the same.”—Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki in statement on lack of access at crash site of MH17
“We are horrified by the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. There are no words adequate to express our condolences to the families of the nearly 300 victims. We offer our sympathies and support to the Governments of Malaysia and the Netherlands at this difficult time”—Secretary Kerry in statement on Crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in Eastern Ukraine. July 17, 2014
“We live in a complex world and at a challenging time. And none of these challenges lend themselves to quick or easy solutions, but all of them require American leadership…if we stay patient and determined, that we will, in fact, meet these challenges.”—President Obama in his remarks on foreign policy challenges, July 16, 2014.
Looking Beyond Kiir and Machar for Solutions in South Sudan
South Sudan marked its third year of independence on July 9, but this year there seemed little for the people of South Sudan to celebrate. I was just in South Sudan, from June 30 to July 2, and saw firsthand the destruction, dislocation and death wrought by several months of pointless conflict between forces aligned with President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar. I remember a particularly vivid moment in the trip — at a UN displaced persons camp on the outskirts of Juba — where I sat face to face with ten camp leaders, all representatives of a burgeoning South Sudanese population seeking refuge from war, violence, hunger, and insecurity.
“U.S. continues to operate without a complete diplomatic toolbox to exert our leadership and advance our security and economic interests across the globe, because a broken Senate confirmation process has left us without permanent ambassadors in 40 countries.”—Secretary Kerry, Politico, July 9, 2014
When Walter Hines Page presented his credentials to King George V on May 30, 1913, he could not have imagined how world events would unfold. During his tenure, Page’s duties shifted from dealing with peacetime trade disputes to navigating U.S. neutrality at the outbreak of World War I to…
Join the Virtual Student Foreign Service To Learn About Diplomacy
I was thrilled to be selected as a Virtual Student Foreign Service (VSFS) eIntern for the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. One of the attractions of my virtual internship was that I could work on this project from anywhere in the world. I first connected with my supervisor in September 2013, while I was studying abroad for a semester in Rabat, Morocco. I often worked from my host family’s home while we discussed my role as a member of the IVLP team. IVLP connects foreign professionals in various fields with their American counterparts, and nearly 5,000 participants visit the United States annually.
From the Civil Rights Act to the Disabilities Treaty
Fifty years ago today, President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act — landmark legislation that broadly outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. It was the culmination of years of sacrifice by some of the bravest, most patriotic Americans of our time, who mounted a massive grassroots effort in the name of equality despite unimaginable odds. I was a junior at a high school in Brooklyn at that time, marveling at the movement that gave birth to a better America. What I did not realize was how it was to transform my life and my life’s mission on a very personal level.
In 1914, there were five female clerks appointed to serve the Diplomatic Service in overseas posts, out of 55 clerks stationed abroad (9%).1 One such clerk was Ann Singleton, a woman ahead of her times. Born around 1877 in Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana, Singleton dreamed of seeing the world, and took up secretarial work as a means of doing so. She worked as a stenographer, typewriter, and secretary, before being appointed as a clerk in the Diplomatic Service and assigned to U.S. Embassy Paris on September 1, 1912.
Biographical Statement, Ann Singleton Registar of the Department of State, Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 1915
Singleton saved up $600 from her work at the embassy, a sum she planned to use to tour the world. She earmarked her journey to start in Fall 1914, however, the outbreak of hostilities in August quickly derailed her trip. Instead, Singleton remained in Paris for several more months, and provided much-needed assistance as the embassy’s responsibilities multiplied.
Singleton returned to the United States but found herself once again in France a few years later. When General John J. Pershing, Chief of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF), arrived in Paris on June 13, 1917, “she was one of two women waiting at the Paris train station for Pershing to arrive. The other woman was a newspaper reporter.” 2 Singleton served as Pershing’s private secretary for the remainder of the war.
Upon the war’s end in November 1918, she again departed France for the United States to work and save money. Singleton finally began her much-delayed trip around the world in September 1921, departing Seattle for Honolulu and then Japan. For the next decade, Singleton traveled (and worked) the world, and gave lectures on “Circling the Globe on One’s Own.” In 1931, she returned to Washington, and took a job with the War Department, where she worked until her retirement many years later.
Register of the Department of State, November 13, 1913. ↩
John Malloy, “Daytona Woman Was Pershing Aide,” Daytona Beach Morning Journal, November 23, 1968, 47. ↩