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Please join Ambassadors Nicholas Burns, Marc Grossman, and Marcie Ries for the official launch of their report, “A U.S. Diplomatic Service for the 21st Century,” that will be published on November 17, 2020 as part of the American Diplomacy Project at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School. These distinguished career Foreign Service Officers, and report co-authors, will share their recommendations on how to rebuild, reform, and reimagine the U.S. Foreign Service so that America can have the strongest and most effective diplomatic service to defend our country and advance its interests.
The U.S. Foreign Service is confronting one of the most profound crises in its long and proud history. Our nation’s career diplomats find themselves without the support, funding, training and inclusion in senior leadership positions they need to represent the American people effectively overseas, and to assist our elected leaders with policy advice and recommendations on key decisions. There are challenges to be met inside the Foreign Service as well, including an honest self-assessment of the Service’s internal culture. Morale is low, and efforts to promote greater racial, ethnic and gender diversity have, to date, been inadequate.
Many of the most serious challenges the United States will face in 2021 and beyond will require our diplomats to take the lead. The country deserves the strongest possible Foreign Service to deal with great power competition, coordinating globally on the pandemic, helping American companies succeed overseas during a brutal recession, mounting a major effort on climate change, negotiating an end to the Afghan and Iraq Wars, and assisting Americans citizens in every corner of the world who need the support of their government.