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About the Event

The conversation was facilitated by Hayley Boyle, Vice President of Programs at the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia.  

Curious about a career as a U.S. Diplomat?  Ambassador Nina Fite, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Global Talent Management, and Micaela Schweitzer-Bluhm, Recruitment Division Director at the Bureau of Global Talent Management, presented on career and student opportunities with the U.S. Department of State.  Ambassador Fite hails from Pennsylvania and has 30+ years of experience in the U.S. Foreign Service.  These speakers shared some of their own experiences from around the globe as well as information about student and career opportunities available with the U.S. Department of State.

Ms. Schweitzer-Bluhm introduced the careers tracks in the Foreign Service, explaining how Officers serve as generalists while Specialists provide the support services that make diplomacy possible. She also described the steps to becoming a Foreign Service Officer, including the application, test, clearances, and evaluation panel. She highlighted the different opportunities which the State Department provides, including paid internships, fellowships, the Pathways Program for students and recent graduates, and study abroad scholarships.

Next, Ambassador Nina Marie Fite spoke about the diverse backgrounds and skills that candidates bring; the Foreign Service has no specific requirements on what an applicant must have studied previously and officers are a wide range of ages. She then spoke about how she was initially drawn to her career by the appeal of international experience but stayed because of the meaningful service. As she recounted, officers are often the first American a foreigner meets and have a responsibility to represent the U.S. well. Ambassador Fite noted how the Foreign Service has changed over the decades, and she spoke about how the internet has allowed for closer connections back home, faster sharing of information about other countries and cultures, and how the Foreign Service has progressed and diversified, presenting more opportunities for women, People of Color, and LGBTQ+ people.

In the Q&A section, Ambassador Fite and Ms. Schweitzer-Bluhm answered questions about highlights and challenges in their careers. Ms. Fite described how inspiring it was to see the rapid progress of Pakistani children in an English-language program and observing the freedom of movement opened up by the clearance of landmines in Angola after their civil war. They both noted the difficulty and excitement of building a new life with every reassignment and how Foreign Service colleagues provide essential support through difficult situations.

About the Speakers

  • Ambassador Nina Marie Fite, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Global Talent Management, U.S. Department of State
  • Micaela Schweitzer-Bluhm, Recruitment Division Director, Bureau of Global Talent Management, U.S. Department of State

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