Friday, May 22, 2009


Before you sign up to take the foreign service test, you must first decide what it is you would like to do in the Foreign Service. You must choose one of five "cones," which include:

Political, Economic, Public Diplomacy, Management, and Consular.

The state department website has information about the different cones, but if you are seriously considering taking the test, I would recommend doing a little extra research and perhaps some informational interviews. The Hegemonist, a Foreign Service blogger, has also written about each of the cones--you can find the link here.

Because I am obsessed with culture and love working with people, I chose the Public Diplomacy track. Public Diplomacy (PD) is like Public Relations for America, and officers who work in this cone get to do a wide variety of tasks from working with the press to organizing cultural exchanges and attending cultural events. PD is also beginning to take advantage of new technology like twitter, blogging, and second life--a development that I find fascinating. I believe strongly that the arts and the public sphere are strong forces that bring people together and facilitate mutual understanding.

If you have time, check out the USC Center on Public Diplomacy wiki about PD and an informational video found on the CB3 communications blog.

If you want to know more about Public Diplomacy and New Technology, watch this TED lecture by new media guru Clay Shirky.


  1. My daughter Sarah Wylder Deshpande mentioned that you were starting a blog. You're making a good start.

    I can't imagine being in Public Diplomacy under a Bush-Cheney administration. I know the diplomat must represent his or her nation without regard to the people in power, but to be a spokesperson for a nation engaging in preventive war, torture, the squelching of constitutional rights, etc., would, for me, be an impossibility.

    You're entering public diplomacy at a time when the United States has the possibility of becoming a great and good nation once again. All the best to you.

    P.S. I wonder whether the Sri Lankan diplomat Kathleen and I met in Rome
    was in public dipomacy.

  2. Thanks for the link! Congratulations on your new job, I hope it goes well.