Answering the Call to Serve

In his recent remarks at Indiana University, Secretary Kerry issued a call to public service.  

Describing the threats, challenges, and opportunities of a complex and fluid world, he enjoined those who want to make a difference to consider joining our team at the State Department, USAID, or the Peace Corps. The Department offers many avenues to serve -- the Foreign Service Officer corps, the Civil Service, and numerous Foreign Service specialty areas ranging from information technology to construction engineering. Each of these unique paths entails a different, competitive process for entry and advancement. What they all offer is the opportunity to make a difference -- to advance America’s interests and values, and serve the American people.  

As Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Human Resources, my job is to recruit, hire, retain, and sustain a diverse, capable workforce that’s equipped to take on today’s and tomorrow’s challenges. This means I get to spend time on the road meeting with employees at our missions both overseas and domestic, and reaching out to future employees. I recently had the chance to engage bright students at colleges and universities in Miami and Colorado. Whatever our generational, geographic or cultural differences, these young men and women showed the same motivation and enthusiasm I had when I entered the Foreign Service in the waning days of the Cold War. I met freshmen still undecided about their majors and mid-career professionals who want to pursue a second career or apply their skills and education as a foreign affairs practioner. My message to them was that made by Secretary Kerry: if you want to be a change agent, if you want to be part of the solution, consider serving your country at the Department of State.  

The Secretary’s call is an important reminder of our fundamental mission as Department of State employees. It’s easy to get caught up in our day to day responsibilities and lose sight of the bigger picture. We are one team, with one mission. And we need dedicated, motivated, capable, and diverse men and women to continue exercising global leadership and serving our fellow citizens. This is why we say -- Mission first, people always.

To learn more about career opportunities or internships at the U.S. Department of State visit

About the Author: Ambassador Arnold Chacon serves as the Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Human Resources at the U.S. Department of State.


Posted by Arnold Chacon
October 22, 2015


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