U.S. Diplomacy Stories

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The Dedication and Leadership of Ambassador Kamala Shirin Lakhdhir
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How does a diplomat become a great leader? Who and what has inspired them? The National Museum of American Diplomacy helps answer these questions through an exploration of some of the lives of our nation’s most accomplished diplomatic leaders. Drawing strength and determination from her upbringing, Ambassador Kamala Shirin Lakhdhir now inspires future generations. Lakhdhir…

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Boa Lee: Diplomacy Can Overcome Tragedy
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In 2012, I had just arrived at my first overseas assignment in Sierra Leone when I was asked to deal with a protest outside the U.S. embassy. Relatives of people killed during Sierra Leone’s decade-long civil war wanted to speak to the U.S. ambassador about the death of their loved ones.    Seeking justice and dealing…

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Donald Yamamoto Flags
A Dedication to Service: Ambassador Donald Yamamoto
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Americans who choose to enter the United States Foreign Service do not take the decision lightly.  These professional diplomats spend most of their careers abroad, serving two-to-three years at a post in a foreign nation before moving to another.  Representing the United States overseas is a rewarding, demanding, and sometimes dangerous job. Diplomacy requires resilience.…

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Sammy Lee Asian American Cultural Diplomat
Dr. Sammy Lee (1920-2016): Olympic Champion and Goodwill Ambassador
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Born in California in 1920 to Korean immigrant parents, Dr. Sammy Lee represented and served the United States in many ways. By the 1950s, Lee was an Olympic gold medalist, a U.S. Army physician, and a goodwill ambassador for the State Department.  Lee’s worldwide celebrity status and ability to charm fans led the State Department…

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A member of the CIA helps evacuees up a ladder onto an Air America helicopter on the roof of 22 Gia Long Street
The Fall of Saigon (1975): The Bravery of American Diplomats and Refugees
The Fall of Saigon (1975): The Bravery of American Diplomats and Refugees 378 261

On April 30, 1975, the South Vietnamese capital of Saigon fell to the North Vietnamese Army, effectively ending the Vietnam War. In the days before, U.S. forces evacuated thousands of Americans and South Vietnamese. American diplomats were on the frontlines, organizing what would be the most ambitious helicopter evacuation in history. The logistics of issuing…

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The Composure and Leadership of Ambassador Aurelia Brazeal
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Serving 41 years in the United States Foreign Service, Ambassador Aurelia Erskine Brazeal was the first African American woman to be appointed ambassador by three presidential administrations. She was also the first Black woman to rise from entry in the Foreign Service to its senior ranks. Throughout her illustrious career, Brazeal utilized early life lessons…

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The Diplomatic Legacy of Marjorie Merriweather Post
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In honor of Women’s History Month, the National Museum of American Diplomacy celebrates the diplomatic legacy of Marjorie Merriweather Post, philanthropist, businesswoman, and collector.

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Ambassador Edward J. Perkins portrait
8 Lessons in Diplomacy from Ambassador Edward J. Perkins (1928-2020)
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Ambassador Edward J. Perkins knew segregation well. He was born into a segregated and racist society in 1928 on a small farm in the American south. His life took him from segregated  Louisiana, to a segregated military, to a world filled with anti-Black racism in Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and Thailand. Every part of his journey…

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From Secretaries to Senators: The Historic Road to the Presidency
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In the early years of the Republic, the Secretary of State cabinet position appeared to be a stepping stone to the presidency. This pattern began with Thomas Jefferson, who became the first Secretary of State and then the third President of the United States. However, in the 1830s, Secretaries of State became markedly less successful…

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Ebenezer D. Bassett: America’s First African American Chief of Mission
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In 1869, Ebenezer D. Bassett was appointed as the Minister of the Republic of Haiti, making him the first African American Chief of Mission. Throughout his career, Bassett defended the civil rights of African Americans and black Caribbean nations. 1862: Formal Recognition of the Republic of Haiti Map of Haiti in 1839 The Civil War…

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