As I write this message at the beginning of the last week in January 2024, I continue to look ahead to another complex and unpredictable year. My colleague Zal Karkaria, Deputy Editor-in-Chief, provides his take in a feature piece, a view with which I find little, if anything, to argue about. As he writes, the past year has seen the Foreign Service of Canada put under a critical lens on more than a few occasions. It is unlikely this will change in 2024, particularly given that the Government will need to respond to the recommendations of the Senate Committee in June. There will be ongoing implementation of the transformation agenda at Global Affairs Canada, much of which will undoubtedly be subject to public scrutiny and commentary.

In this issue, we have tried to show the full range of the work done by the Foreign Service at home and abroad. We have also highlighted the impact a career in the foreign service can and does have on individual officers and their nearest and dearest. 

Our cover story on the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami shows Canada’s work on the ground in Sri Lanka by our High Commission under the leadership of Valerie Raymond, who died this past December. Valerie was succeeded as High Commissioner by Angela Bogdan, who continued to lead the implementation of Canada’s humanitarian and development projects with a focus on women’s health and livelihood. Angela worked with Valerie to put together this compelling article. 

We also have excerpts from two books: one on Asia-Pacific strategy, the other a deeply moving piece by Roxanne Dubé, who lost one of her sons and saw the other incarcerated while posted in Miami. You will also find a thought-provoking article on the value of cultural diplomacy, an aspect of diplomacy on which we seem, over the years, to have blown hot and cold (mostly cold). Interestingly, the US has resumed music diplomacy, sending American musicians to tour internationally funded by the State Department. I recall the rapturous reception given to visiting American jazz musicians and the Alvin Ailey Dance Company at my first posting in Warsaw during the Cold War.

We have a terrific story by Mark Seniuk, aptly titled “The Move from Hell,” which is guaranteed to bring a smile and, probably simultaneously, a grimace to your face. More such stories would be welcome, as they serve not only to nurture our collective sense of Foreign Service life, but also to underline the practical challenges of moving from one place to another. We also have a review of The Red Hotel, a book that details the experience of foreign journalists holed up in the Metropole Hotel in centre Moscow during Stalin’s era. As always, we finish with a column by the hungry diplomat, this time on the magical properties of butter, and another impossible puzzle by A Aalto.

For our next issue, which we hope will reach you by late May or early June, we would like to feature some fiction written by Foreign Service Officers and/or members of their families. We would particularly welcome submissions – and literary non-fiction is also welcome – from young people on the impact the Foreign Service “lifestyle” has had on them and how or if it has framed their own approach to their education and career aspirations. Pieces on personal experiences and policy will also be most welcome and, by way of example, there will be an article on the US State Department’s “dissent channel.” Please feel free to reach out to the editorial team by sending an email to [email protected] with your comments or suggestions. We would very much like to establish an ongoing dialogue with our readership as that is the best way for us to ensure we are meeting both your needs and your interests.

Partagez cet article / Share this article