Sep 16, 2013
08:32 AM
Education

Yale Student Magazine Offers a Passport to U.S. Foreign Service

Yale Student Magazine Offers a Passport to U.S. Foreign Service

Online editor David Steiner, left, co-editor Justin Schuster and co-editor Eric Wasserman Stern helped produce “Diplomatic Discourse,” a series of interviews with U.S. diplomats published by the Yale undergraduate magazine The Politic.

Leave it to the globetrotters over at The Politic to pivot from the Arab Spring to Borat.

The Politic, a student political journal at Yale University, has published a series of in-depth interviews with more than 100 U.S. ambassadors. The series is called “Diplomatic Discourse,” and it touches on some of the most pressing international issues of the day.

“We expected maybe three or four ambassadors to agree to be interviewed initially, but we had almost 40 interviews arranged within the first 24 hours,” said Yale junior Justin Schuster, co-editor of The Politic.

“The U.S. Foreign Service isn’t well understood by the public. People tend to think about the high-stakes issues, but there are many other aspects of the job. American ambassadors we interviewed were eager to talk about that,” Schuster said.

“Diplomatic Discourse” is the biggest project the magazine has undertaken in its long history, which goes back to 1947 and includes interviews with presidents Barack Obama and Gerald R. Ford. Yale students conducted the interviews either by phone, Skype, email or in person. Several more interviews are scheduled to be posted online in weeks ahead.

“We had clear guidelines and questions we wanted to ask,” said Eric Wasserman Stern, a junior at Yale and co-editor of the magazine with Schuster. “We obviously wanted to be respectful, but also ask about sensitive issues. We needed to discuss WikiLeaks with the ambassador to Ecuador, not just talk about how beautiful the rainforest is.”

Indeed, “Diplomatic Discourse” treads firmly into substantive matters.

For example, the interview with David Wharton, U.S. ambassador to Zimbabwe, talks about that country’s national elections; the interview with Mario Mesquita, U.S. ambassador to the Holy See, offers insight into America’s relationship with the Vatican and the election of Pope Francis.

“Real-world events were unfolding during the course of this series,” Schuster said.

James B. Smith, U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, talked with The Politic about America’s $60.5 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia in 2010. He also delved into how the Arab Spring affects the close relationship between Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

Schuster conducted that interview, as well as eight others. He saw a bit of foreign intrigue himself this summer, while working in Cairo as an intern for an American nonprofit group, Amideast.

Schuster had to be evacuated from Egypt during the country’s recent upheavals. If that weren’t hard enough, he then had to explain a $175 phone call to Saudi Arabia.

“I had an interesting conversation with my mother when she saw the phone bill,” Schuster said.

See the full story at the New Haven Register online.

 

Yale Student Magazine Offers a Passport to U.S. Foreign Service

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