Fletcher is the home base for the State Department’s local Diplomat in Residence (DIR). Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard has served in the position since last fall, and is just wrapping up her time here. We can’t claim that the DIR is at Fletcher solely for the benefit of Fletcher students, but it is great that this source of support and information is so conveniently situated. I’ll let Ambassador Leonard describe her work.
It has been a pleasure to be hosted here as the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomat in Residence (DIR) for New England!
The core of the DIR job is, in fact, outreach to prospective Foreign Service Officers, Specialists, and Civil Service professionals about career and internship possibilities. (“New England” is a bit of a misnomer, in that we have divided this university-rich region by assigning Connecticut to my colleague based in New York.) In addition, DIRs enjoy sharing their professional experiences and policy expertise, both to provide insight into what diplomats actually do, and to participate in academic discussions on subjects near and dear to their hearts. As the recent Ambassador to Mali, while at Fletcher, I’ve enjoyed activities with the Africana Club, the ICRC research lab on migration in the Sahel, talking to visiting Harambe scholars, as well as joining the undergraduate International Relations Careers day. Perhaps the most unusual evening of the year was sitting on a panel as the U.S. Ambassador who actually lived through a coup in Mali, next to Tufts grad Todd Moss who wrote a work of fiction about one!
I hasten to add that the role continues; following a bit of vacation, I’ll be around from June 15 for a good part of the summer to answer any questions about State Department recruitment and student programs. For example, a new group of applicants would have heard just recently that they have been invited to the oral exam, and if past experience is any guide, Fletcher students and alums will be well represented in that group. And in mid-summer, those who learn that they passed the June Foreign Service Officer written test will be asked to provide input for the Qualifications Evaluation Panel through five “personal narratives.” I look forward to meeting with both groups to help explain the next steps in the process.
If you’re in the local area and interested in a Foreign Service career, you can email me to arrange a moment to stop by my office. And a very pleasant summer to all!
Ambassador Leonard’s successor as Diplomat in Residence is due to start at Fletcher in October.