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Jade HAWES: Artist, humanitarian, Foreign Service Kid

 
I am a nomad, an artist, and an empathetic person. Moving to new countries every few years has shaped me, from childhood, into someone who is fascinated by what connects us all. That’s why I became a humanitarian and why I appreciate art that forces us to acknowledge what we have in common.
— Jade
 
 
 
 
 

You might hear some unfamiliar terms commonly used by spouses in the Foreign Service in this interview. Scroll down for definitions.

 
 

 

THIRD CULTURE KID

Children raised in a culture other than their parents' or the culture of the country named on their passport (where they are legally considered native) for a significant part of their early development years. They are often exposed to a greater variety of cultural influences. Sometimes called a foreign service kid.

 

 

Eligible Family Member (EFM)

Any spouse, partner, child, or family member on a diplomat’s orders.

 

 

Community LiaIson Office (CLO)

A program created by the Department of State to support the families of diplomats. The CLO program is charged with building community spirit and enhancing morale at post. CLOs (community liaison officers) depend on volunteer efforts of employees and family members to share their time and their talents to address community needs.

 

 

THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE

The United States Department of State, commonly referred to as the State Department, is the federal executive department that advises the President and conducts international relations. Equivalent to the foreign ministry of other countries, it was established in 1789 as the nation's first executive department.

 

 
 
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Diana Argueta: Guatemalan, Animal lover, Environmentalist

 
I am Guatemalan with a passion to help animals. I am a vegan. I’m someone who is compassionate but stubborn at the same time.
— Diana
 
 
 
 

You might hear some unfamiliar terms commonly used by spouses in the Foreign Service in this interview. Scroll down for definitions.

 
 

 

FOREIGN-BORN SPOUSE

Spouse of a foreign service officer that is not an American by birth.

 

 

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)

A international development agency that advances U.S. national security and economic prosperity, demonstrates American generosity, and promotes a path to recipient self-reliance and resilience.

 

 

TOUR

Typically a two to four year diplomatic assignment anywhere in the world. Also called a foreign service posting.

 

 
 
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álvaro josé castro rivadeneira: Doctor, Biochemist, Academic

 
I am a biochemist and medical doctor. I’m interested in science, politics, and history. I like to learn about the world, live in the world, and when possible, have a better impact in the world.
— Alvaro
 
 
 
 

You might hear some unfamiliar terms commonly used by spouses in the Foreign Service in this interview. Scroll down for definitions.

 
 

 

FOREIGN-RAISED SPOUSE

Spouse of a foreign service officer that has been raised in a culture other than their parents' or the culture of the country named on their passport (where they are legally considered native) for a significant part of their early development years.

 

 

GREEN CARD

A permit allowing a foreign national to live and work permanently in the US

 

 
 
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monique Kovacs Nathan: Networker, Communicator, Volunteer

 
I’m a networker and communicator. I am always trying to help people find relationships that will be mutually beneficial. It gives me energy and enthusiasm. I’m creative and always designing or capturing a moment. I’ve come into my own in Nepal through volunteerism, friendships, and a community of creative types. I am holding sacred who I really am and learning to see myself as an individual separate from my husband and my children.
— Monique
 
 
 
 

You might hear some unfamiliar terms commonly used by spouses in the Foreign Service in this interview. Scroll down for definitions.

 
 

 

TRAILING SPOUSE

The term trailing spouse is used to describe a person who follows his or her life partner to another city because of a work assignment. The term is often associated with people involved in an expatriate assignment but is also used by academia on domestic assignments.

 

 

SECURITY CLEARANCE

Security clearance is basically a license issued by an agency, the head of a department, or a branch of the federal government. Federal employees and most employees operating in the private sector are required to obtain security clearance. These employees require clearance because their position grants them access to classified information and documents.

 

 

BID LIST

A list of projected job openings for open positions at embassies and consulates around the world for diplomats. This list is released each bidding cycle (twice a year) and each job (or tour) is typically a two to four year diplomatic assignment anywhere in the world.

 

 

FOREIGN SERVICE POSTING

Typically a two to four year diplomatic assignment anywhere in the world. Also called tour.

 

 

CONSUL GENERAL

An official representative of the government normally acting to assist and protect the citizens of the consul's own country, and to facilitate trade and friendship between the people of the two countries. A consul is distinguished from an ambassador, the latter being a representative from one head of state to another. There can be only one ambassador from one country to another, representing the first country's head of state to that of the second, and his or her duties revolve around diplomatic relations between the two countries; however, there may be several consuls, one in each of several major cities, providing assistance with bureaucratic issues to both the citizens of the consul's own country traveling or living abroad and to the citizens of the country in which the consul resides who wish to travel to or trade with the consul's country.

 

 

MEDICAL EVACUATION

The en route care provided by medical personnel to wounded being evacuated from a from the scene of an accident to receiving medical facilities, or to patients abroad requiring urgent care at a better-equipped facility. Often shortened to medevac or medivac,

 

 

GLOBAL EMPLOYMENT ADVISORS (GEAs)

Provide on-site and virtual job coaching sessions, training workshops, and career development services at no cost to family members of U.S. government employees who will serve or are serving overseas under Chief of Mission authority. 

 

 

CHIEF OF MISSION AUTHORITY

The principal officer in charge of a U.S. diplomatic mission, or of a U.S. office abroad that is designated by the Secretary of State as diplomatic in nature.

 

 
 
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Julee Allen: Humanitarian, Education consultant, Singer

 
I’m a humanitarian. I’m a singer. I like to laugh. I have enormous respect for people who choose this life. I’ve met the most incredible patriots. People who deeply and profoundly love this country. And the spouses they bring with them are incredible patriots too.
— Julee
 
 
 
 

You might hear some unfamiliar terms commonly used by spouses in the Foreign Service in this interview. Scroll down for definitions.

 
 

 

UNACCOMPANIED TOURS (UTs)

Since September 2001, many posts have become employee-only destinations due to the danger from hostile activity. Spouses or partners and children remain in the United States or another location while the employee departs for an abbreviated tour at post. Also called unaccompanied post.

 

 

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)

A international development agency that advances U.S. national security and economic prosperity, demonstrates American generosity, and promotes a path to recipient self-reliance and resilience.

 

 

CONE

Foreign service officers in the State Department are choose between five career tracks, called "cones":

  • Consular Officers facilitate adoptions, help evacuate Americans, and combat fraud to protect our borders and fight human trafficking

  • Economic Officers work with foreign governments and other U.S. government agencies on technology, science, economic, trade, energy, and environmental issues both domestically and overseas.

  • Management Officers are responsible for the affairs of an embassy or consulate and dealing with the personnel and budgets of the embassy. They are responsible for all embassy operations.

  • Political Officers analyze host country political events and must be able to negotiate and communicate effectively with all levels of foreign government officials.

  • Public Diplomacy Officers engage, inform, and influence opinion leaders, local non-governmental groups, the next generation of leaders, academics, think tanks, government officials, and the full range of civil society in order to promote mutual understanding and support for U.S. government policy goals.

FSOs of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Commercial Service, Foreign Agricultural Service, and Broadcasting Board of Governors are selected through processes specific to the hiring agency, and follow career tracks separate from those of State Department FSOs.