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Any tips for becoming an ambassador?

What are the main subjects/majors I should focus on to become an ambassador? What should I study? Any tips?
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Suzanne’s Answer

That's a great question, Tasneem. It is indeed a great honor and responsibility to be the face of your country, representing it in another country or at an international organization such as the UN. This is what ambassadors do. The thing to realize is that while ambassadors may be the best known and highest ranked diplomats, they are far from the only ones doing this kind of important work. There are many lower level but also important rôles to fill in your nation's diplomatic corps at any given embassy, consulate or organization where an ambassador might be posted. For example, my father was an American diplomat. He studied journalism in university, worked as a journalist and then took the Foreign Service exam and was admitted to the US Foreign Service. I assume each country must have a similar system. which could be researched through your foreign ministry or in the US, the State Department. Diplomats often study and master foreign languages and study international politics. University classes in economics, political science, history and law can all be helpful. I would encourage you to try to have as many international experiences as you can in order to widen your perspectives on the world and confirm that this is the type of work you'd like to do. If you can meet and talk with international visitors to your homeland that's great. If you have the chance to travel to other countries , especially to study or work there, that would be very helpful. If you can't travel, especially now with the pandemic, maybe you could still connect with others around the world virtually.

Suzanne recommends the following next steps:

For US citizens interested in becoming a diplomat see https://careers.state.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Becoming-a-Foreign-Service-Officer-Specialist.pdf
For citizens of other countries check with your foreign ministry's website.
Thank you Suzanne! Your answer is very helpful, I appreciate it! Tasneem A.
You're most welcome, Tasneem. There are also biographies and autobiographies of various diplomats. You may want to search your library and/or bookshops (websites) to read about others' careers and experiences. Suzanne Sorkin
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Alan’s Answer

The US diplomatic has so many different areas they need expertise from. There are so. many areas that you can represent US interests in abroad. Such as:
US Department of State has different areas they hire for: Consular services, Security Services, Medical services. An interesting place to start doing research is the Student Programs forum for the US Department of State - https://careers.state.gov/connect/forums/student-programs/
US Department of Agriculture has a Foreign Agricultural Service - https://www.fas.usda.gov/about-fas
US Department of Transportation: They have an office of International Transportation and Trade - https://www.transportation.gov/policy/international-policy-and-trade/transportation-trade
US Trade Representative: They are tasked with negotiating all of the US international deals and they have a comprehensive list of US government organizations that deal with international business - https://ustr.gov/about-us/trade-toolbox/us-government-trade-agencies

Of these, and the one nearest and dearest to me, is the US Commercial Service: a part of the US Department of Commerce, responsible for promoting medium and small US exporting businesses in international markets. https://www.trade.gov/let-our-experts-help-0
I worked for the USCS (as we called it back then) as part of my first "real" job out of college. It was so exciting to be able to help US companies enter a new market (in Brazil, in my case).

One of my proud moments was when I got to help plan and deliver a major trade mission for the governor of Main during the FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas) meeting in Belo Horizonte Brazil. I was a twenty-something and the responsibility and access this effort provided me was really exciting. With USCS you can either become a PSC-Personal Service Contractor if you are hired in country (not US) or a commercial officer w here you are assigned a different country to work in every 5 years or so.
Thank you! Tasneem A.
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Christopher’s Answer

International Studies, Foreign Relations, Political Science, Economics/Business, Management, Diplomatic Relations or similar, and I’d advise some type of track focused on the area you hope to work in. A law degree would be best, but that’s not exactly a fast track.

Ambassadors are also political appointees, so I’d aim a bit lower; You can’t study your way into that job. Becoming a foreign service officer or other diplomat is a more reasonable objective and gets your foot in the door.
Thank you Christopher! Tasneem A.
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