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How do I enter the field of diplomacy?

#international-relations #diplomacy

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Suzanne’s Answer

Susanna, what a great question. If you are a US citizen you would become a diplomat (a Foreign Service officer) by taking an entrance exam for the Foreign Service. This is through the US Department of State. People come to this work from a variety of backgrounds but typically you would want to go to college and major in something like international relations, history, or the study of a certain area of the world. Learning at least one other language is a good idea. Try to have some international experiences if at all possible. Once the coronavirus pandemic is passed you may be able to be a foreign exchange student, for instance, or work overseas. Meanwhile you can have virtual experiences with other people from around the world.

Suzanne recommends the following next steps:

Here's a quiz to see if being a Foreign Service officer is a good choice for you: https://careers.state.gov/work/foreign-service/quiz/
Here's a link on the specific steps to becoming a foreign service officer: https://careers.state.gov/work/foreign-service/officer/test-process/
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Jason’s Answer

Hi Susanna, Political Science or International Relations (Economics, International Law, etc.) are your typical pathways to diplomacy from the academic standpoint. Spending time studying abroad is also recommended to understand the world and experience different cultures. Outside of school, getting involved with NGOs or taking on an internship with a company's Social Impact department would be ideal.

One thing to consider about the Foreign Service is that you are typically placed based on your skills and the needs. So shaping your skills like languages, etc. to the regions where you would like to be placed is important. You don't get to choose but you can influence the decision.
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Iku’s Answer

Thanks for this question. I agree with Suzanne that the State Department is the place to join the diplomatic core in the US. So I'll try to add to that and if I take a broader definition of diplomacy, other agencies, such as the Department of Agriculture, USAID, and Peace Corp offer posts abroad. International organizations and agencies (United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund) as well as non-governmental organizations (International Rescue Committee, Gates Foundation) are also places where these similar skills (in particular diplomacy) are important. Having a solid understanding of US foreign policy, geographies, politics, economics and other subjects that teach you about various countries around the world is helpful for exams and considering if these types of organizations are of interest to you.
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much. This was really helpful Benedict Ameh
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