Archive for August, 2009

Preparing for a career in public diplomacy

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

Matt Armstrong at MountainRunner points to a lengthy, online discussion from this past June among the well-known and respected “old guard” of U.S. government public diplomacy (mainly retired foreign and civil service officers from the now-gone U.S. Information Agency). Take some time and read the whole exchange if you’re particularly interested in the discipline of public diplomacy and the debate behind PD in theory versus PD in practice. 

For some careers in public diplomacy related insights, scroll down to the very bottom of the comments. Matt picks up a question from a recent college grad looking to work in public diplomacy:

As someone who is intensely interested culture and not necessarily policy, I have found the idea of graduate school incredibly daunting. In today’s climate, it is extremely difficult for a recent graduate to enter their chosen career path, and more and more jobs require at least a master’s degree if not many years of work experience. What sort of educational programs would be beneficial for those wishing to enter the field? I agree that academia is not the only component in PD, but for those of us looking to get our foot in the door, the degree can weigh more than our skills.

Another commenter answers:

There are many ways to enter and gain experience in the field of public diplomacy, so don’t despair. In terms of preparation, I’ve found my academic and practical experience equally valuable. I studied international relations and journalism as an undergrad, and hold a master’s in international relations, which provided a valuable theoretical grounding. Having a solid understanding of the culture and language in which you are working is also extraordinarily valuable, and there is certainly an academic component to that. However, it’s hard for academic experience to substitute for time actually doing public diplomacy work.

Is this what my dad meant when he said I should “use” my college degree?

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

This woman is suing her alma mater because she hasn’t been able to find gainful employment. I’m not even sure what to say.

Thanks to La for the tip.

UPDATE: The Atlantic is on to this story too. Daniel Indiviglio gets all over the plaintiff:

Who wouldn’t hire a 2.7 GPA (B- average) from the renowned Monroe College? Especially when those credentials include the attitude of someone who would sue her college. [...] This story illuminates a larger problem in the generation of instant gratification. Many young people in their 20s today are having trouble in employment due to short attention spans and the need for immediate recognition and advancement. Unfortunately, that’s not how the real world works.

Meanwhile, one of Andrew Sullivan’s readers is sympathetic to her plight:

If you read the actual court filing, it says: “[T]he Office of Career Advancement Information Technology Couselor [sic] did not make sure their Monroe e-recruiting clients call [sic] the graduates that recently finished college for a [sic] interview to get a job placement.” This is a very specific allegation. If the school promised to do something to assist graduates such as her in finding a job and they didn’t do the things they promised to do, they are in breach of the agreement. Now, she might not win the case, and she almost certainly won’t get the $2,000 she is looking for related to her stress. But she could easily have a valid claim and she doesn’t deserve to be mocked for asserting it.

Regardless of the validity of her claim or the reasons behind it, it would seem that she could be spending her time in infinitely more productive ways.