Panel discusses Foreign ServiceBy VICTORIA ENGELHARDT
At 11 a.m. on Oct. 29, the Georgetown College Global Scholars hosted a Foreign Service and Culture Panel to introduce students to the idea of the Foreign Service, which deals with creating and implementing foreign policy and serving in embassies and consulates around the world. Amy Carrington, Executive Director of the Global Scholars program, introduced Ambassador Carey Cavanaugh and Dr. John D. Stempel, both former Foreign Service officers and members of the Council on Foreign Relations, who explained the Foreign Service and answered students’ questions.
Ambassador George M. Staples was also scheduled to attend but could not because an important meeting was called. He will be returning to campus sometime this year to talk with students. Ambassador Carey Cavanaugh is the Director of the Patterson School and Professor of Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution. Cavanaugh’s diplomatic career with the U.S. Department of State spanned 22 years and centered on conflict resolution, political-military affairs and humanitarian issues. Dr. Stempel is the former Director at the Patterson School and currently serves as Senior Professor of International Relations. He served 23 years in the U.S. Foreign Service and has been a Georgetown College Trustee since 2007.
The panel began with both men introducing themselves and what they did in the Foreign Service and how different the cultures of the world are from ours. Stempel said, “Cultures of different places are vitally important, even though they may be totally different in style. In Guinea, there was a totalitarian society and it gave me a beginning lesson in cultures—their world is so much narrower than ours. As you understand their culture, you get to learn about them and interact with them.” He went on to talk about food. In Africa, it is very important. The guest of honor will be served foods such as sheep eyes—“It’s like eating a marble. Pop it in your mouth and swallow it and don’t think about it.”
In India there are “vegetarians, fishitarians and chicketarians” and it is difficult to get food that everyone will eat. Even the simple things are different in some cultures, such as not crossing your legs because you don’t want to show the sole of your shoe—it’s an insult. Stempel explained that in Iran, you must get tea whenever you walk into a room. Also, when you go to a place like Iran, it’s good to know the culture before you get there. Most of the Iranians don’t speak English. He was at the embassy in Tehran in February 1979 when it was taken over. He served as a moderator and got to understand personalities and even got to moderate a dispute over alcohol between his captors. He did manage to get out before the hostage takings in November.
Cavanaugh said that when you join the Foreign Service, the State Department will teach you the language and send you overseas and you will live there for years. “If you’re good, you will get sent to another place after learning another language—you see little of the world, but you get the training and the experience provided by the government.” When it comes down to it, the work of the Foreign Service is to advance the interests of the United States of America. The 17,000 people overseas working for the United States government have the giant task to look out for 300 million Americans and what they want, need and desire. “Our country must work and perform well in the global system—we want survival, prosperity, protection and to change the world.”
While in the Foreign Service, says Cavanaugh, there is enormous responsibility put on a handful of people, and so they must know a lot about all parts of the United States government. He was able to spend time with senators, the President and Vice President and over half of the cabinet; it is more common to know these people when you are working for the government overseas. A big aspect of their work is negotiation, so it is imperative that they should have good people skills. Even though they deal with important people, they are still people and they have the same motivations and drives, and Cavanaugh says they are kind of like marriage counselors. If two countries are at war and you fail at negotiating and mediating between them, they will start fighting again and possibly fight even worse. “I don’t get any attention from him; I don’t get any respect, why doesn’t he listen?” These are examples given of heads of states that were in mediation.
Cavanaugh told students interested in Foreign Service that “To be good at Foreign Service, you should deal with people all the time—be in clubs and engage with people and get really good at it—the Service is engaging, just at a higher level.” In response to a question about the role of former Service members in advising, Stempel replied, “Former diplomats are often called on by companies, governments and cities to give advice on matters foreign. Their knowledge of other countries and societies is very helpful.” When asked about the differences between Foreign Service officers and Ambassadors, Cavanaugh replied, “Foreign Service officers get into the career by taking competitive exams and working their way up through the system. Ambassadors are selected by the President to represent the United States to a country or international institution and the Senate also agrees. It is their job to run the embassies.”
Stempel and Cavanaugh became interested in the Foreign Service through the experiences they had around the time they were students’ age. Stempel said, “I focused on international relations in college and then went into the Navy and for two years I was the only French-speaking officer on three ships. This convinced me that I wanted to be a foreign service officer, so I went to graduate school at Berkley—more Foreign Service officers from there then any school.” When asked what countries the U.S. should have good relationships with today, Cavanaugh replied, “There is no real answer because if we have bad relationships with lots of countries that causes lots of problems. The Chinese own more of us than we do—all countries are equally important to us, and it’s important we have people doing these jobs and that we send them everywhere.”
Some students at the panel were curious about what kind of job they can get overseas that doesn’t involve politics. Cavanaugh answered by saying, “Everything in life involves politics—even what movie you want to see tonight. In government, there are jobs that advance culture, like teaching English, spreading knowledge, doing lots of NGO work, feeding the hungry and helping with healthcare.” To prepare for a career in Foreign Service, Cavanaugh said that, “Internships are good if you want to go to graduate school. It shows if you are really interested in it, though once you do it you may end up hating it or loving it….Internships help to build a resume and highlight genuine interest on graduate school applications.”
Speaker to address date rapeBy HILLARY THORNTON
This Friday, Oct. 6, Karen Sheppard from the Bluegrass Rape Crisis Center (BRCC) will be on campus. The BRCC is made up of people with diverse backgrounds, skills and philosophies united by a commitment to end sexual violence. Sheppard will be holding an informational talk on the issue of date rape and human trafficking. Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery. According to the U.S. Department for Health and Human Services, more than 17,000 people are trafficked from other countries into the United States each year, and thousands of U.S. nationals are trafficked within U.S. borders as well. The majority of victims are women and children, but anyone can be a victim of human trafficking.
According to the BRCC’s website, human trafficking is an abuse against a person and is against the law. There is federal legislation for human trafficking, as well as state legislation. Under the law, there are two types of human trafficking: labor trafficking and sex trafficking. The US government estimates that more than 100,000 domestic youth are trafficked into prostitution every year. Students will get to learn more in detail about human trafficking and the signs of trafficking. Students will also get to hear the dangers of date rape, which many people face today, and tips on how to avoid falling victim to this crime.
Along with talking about confronting date rape and human trafficking, Sheppard will also be sharing her experiences as a counselor at the crisis center. She will provide information for students who would like to get involved as counselors at the center. This event is a NEXUS credit opportunity. The talk will take place in the Hall of Fame Room at 4 p.m.
Lunceford signs books
On Monday, Nov. 9, Dr. Joe Lunceford of the GC Religion Department will be holding a book signing in the Hall of Fame Room at 3 p.m. The books he will be signing are “Parody and Counterimaging in the Apocalypse” and “Biblical Women— Submissive?,” both of which will be available at the signing. Both books are also currently available at http://www.amazon.com or directly from the publisher, Wipf and Stock. The signing was organized by Dr. Jeffrey Asher, chair of the Religion Department.