A couple of years before 9/11, I wrote an article about my State Department Foreign Service orientation class, commonly known as "A-100" for its previous Foreign Service Institute (FSI) course designation. I made no claim that my class was special; on the contrary, I supposed that we were a representative group at the midway point of our careers. At the time, we were about the average age and rank for federal government employees generally, and were likely to spend half our careers in the 20th century and half in the 21st. Not unlike the State Department as a whole, however, we were somewhat adrift, unsure of what the future might hold. Perhaps because of the article's slightly negative tone, The Foreign Service Journal declined to publish it.
"Baghdad Anne" and I were in that A-100 class. One member of our cohort is already an ambassador, but the most well-known classmate undoubtedly is John Naland, two-time president of the American Foreign Service Association, AFSA. John's sharp comments to Foreign Service Director General Harry Thomas during an October 31, 2007, town hall meeting regarding "directed assignments" to
In the aftermath of 9/11, my class's uncertainty over our roles and mission has certainly evaporated. Another State Department colleague, appearing in an Embassy Baghdad-produced video, noted that
In addition to my desire to make a contribution, I saw service in
Although I have never had a blog before, I have a blogger's instincts. Anne has done an incredible job and created a valuable resource with this website. (Two different instructors during an FSI Iraq orientation course directed us to it, with complimentary comments.) I realized that Anne's website already contained much of what I might report back to my family and friends and I thought that, rather than going over the same ground, I would ask Anne if I could provide updates to her website. She agreed, so you will be seeing my entries here.
The big change, as Anne noted, will be the move into the new embassy, which is still not occupied. If everything works out, inshallah, I will certainly report on the event and will provide updates on other changes. I also hope to augment Anne's website by reporting my experiences based on a different perspective that I will have of life at U.S. Embassy Baghdad. Anne, however, has provided a detailed description of her personal emotional journey, so I will probably not go into that area, especially since each individual's reactions will be different. Finally, I will try to provide more details on topics that Anne did not have the opportunity to describe. My views are my own, certainly not