Be Awesome

Look, our forefathers died for the "pursuit of happiness," okay? Not for the "sit around and wait of happiness." Now if you want, we can go to the same bar, drink the same beer, talk to the same people every day or you can lick the Liberty Bell. You can grab life by the crack and lick the crap out of it.
--Barney (HIMYM)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Protocol and U.S. Representation Abroad

Spent my Saturday attending a course at the Foreign Service Institute on the basics of protocol and representation.  It was an interesting class with near 40 people giving up their Saturday.  The majority of the class was made up of representatives from State but there were also a handful of other agencies represented.  I was the only officer there from USAID, as it is a recommended but not mandatory class.

The "protocol" portion is defined as the "set of rules prescribing good manners and customs internationally recognized by diplomats".  Diplomatic protocol, it seems, came about during the Congress of Vienna in 1815 where diplomatic titles were agreed upon as well as general guidelines of protocol (ex. addressing others, introductions, hierarchy, formal entertaining/representational events).  This included fun exercises such as a coffee reception exercise where each person had the objective of making contact with a designated person they did not know; practice introducing another person; and arranging seating for a formal dinner. 

Diplomatic Titles Established by the Congress of Vienna in Use Today

Diplomatic Ranks
Consular Ranks
Consul General
Vice Consul

Attache (military and civilian)

First Secretary

Second Secretary

Third Secretary

The U.S. Representation portion basically meant the emphasis of good etiquette and the importance of appearance for U.S. officials abroad.  This included basics such as dining etiquette (very much mirroring business dining etiquette) and entertaining others.  I felt some great refreshers were with business card etiquette, RSVPing (always within 48 hours!), working representational events, and the importance of appearance (dress appropriately, be confident).

I felt the class was a pretty good use of time.  It was a good reminder of good etiquette at the very least and I think would be a useful class for anyone, going abroad or not.

As a sidenote, USAID just put up their new website which looks pretty sharp.

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