Veterans Day is a day to honor the men and women who have served bravely on behalf of our country. It is a special time to show our heartfelt appreciation for the sacrifices that the members of our military have made all around the world.
It’s also a day to come together as a nation in support the men and women who are returning home safely, ready to begin the next chapter of their lives.
On November 9, 2009, President Obama signed Executive Order 13518, the Employment of Veterans in the Federal Government, which establishes the Veterans Employment Initiative, a strategic approach to helping those who have served our country in the military find employment in the Federal Government.
Here at the State Department, we are fortunate to work alongside veterans continuing their public service in many different capacities. Their combined experiences, dedication, and unique skills are vital to the advancement and strengthening of important U.S. foreign policy goals.
In recognition of our veterans’ potential as a source of talent for diplomacy and development, and in honor of the upcoming Veterans Day holiday, Secretary Kerry -- a Vietnam War veteran -- announced the coming-together of the public and private sectors to create the Veterans Innovation Partnership (VIP) fellowship program, a new public-private alliance that will serve America's veterans and separating service members by preparing them for meaningful diplomacy and development careers, providing education, employment resources, and expertise, while enhancing America’s global leadership.
The State Department, in collaboration with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), Millennium Challenge Corporation (MMC), and the private sector, will help lead this Partnership, whichaims to serve veterans who have received masters’ degrees in International Relations or International Business. The one-year program will allow them to receive hands-on experience in an international affairs agency to help secure full-time employment in the field.
We are grateful to those who have already begun to join with us in these efforts. It’s our hope that this cross-sector collaboration will be a support system to our veterans interested in continuing their service, and also a program that will help to guide a new group of global leaders.
Today’s announcement also serves as a call-to-action to other government agencies, the private sector, civil society, and academic institutions to partner with the Department of State to help advance this mission. We welcome your insight, creativity, and resources to help further strengthen the Partnership and help veterans build upon their military and educational knowledge and transition into careers in foreign affairs.
We are excited to recognize the outstanding work of our veterans, and to see yet another public-private alliance move forward with the goal of creating a lasting global impact.
About the Author: Andrew O’Brien serves as the Secretary’s Special Representative for Global Partnerships at the U.S. Department of State. Follow him on Twitter at @DrewatState.