About the Author: Victor Marsh serves as a Foreign Service Officer at the U.S. Department of State.
On Tuesday (2/23/2010), I had the pleasure of meeting with an exciting group of 140 young people and some parents at Youth Ville Detroit, a community center located in the heart of my home town: Detroit, Michigan.
When I first began my presentation, I promised the young people that I would stand there until the very last question was answered. They made me keep my promise! After my 20 minute presentation, featuring pictures and some stories about life in Hong Kong as a U.S. diplomat, the students shot their hands into the air, asking questions about the career and my experiences in a session that went non-stop for 3 hours!
I told them that any major that they could think of in school would be an excellent addition to the foreign and civil service teams at the Department of State. To test my proposition, high school students (and even one elementary school student) peppered me with some test questions -- about how engineers, artists, and scientists could possibly fit in to U.S. foreign policy.
They loved my examples of environmental scientists working at our Oceans and Environmental Affairs Bureau who helped advised senior officials as they prepared for the important Copenhagen conference on countering climate change. I also explained that there are people who majored in art and music who are diplomats, and who help create dialogue and artistic exchanges between American artists and artists all over the world.
I love my work, and have had a great start now to this week packed with student events, which my hometown paper even advertised in the Detroit Free Press.
My message to the students was simply this: do what you love to do. At the Department of State, we can help you take your talents to a global stage. The Foreign Service has been a force multiplier for my dreams.