Una figura morada parada frente a una ilustración del edificio de una embajada

What Are Embassies, Consulates, and Missions?

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Embassies, consulates, and missions are the places where U.S. government representatives serve in foreign countries. Embassies serve as the headquarters for the State Department and other U.S. government representatives serving in foreign countries. Consulates provide the same services as embassies, but they follow the lead of the embassy. Both embassies and consulates are known collectively as missions, but missions also refer to U.S. representation to international organizations. 

You can find these buildings all over the world. Each mission has a unique organization and function depending on U.S. foreign policy goals.

In this video, learn how U.S. embassies, consulates, and missions operate. 

Discussion Questions 

Use the following discussion questions to guide your classroom conversations about this video. Refer to the timestamps to find the answers to these questions.

  1. Where does the U.S. Department of State conduct its work? (start – 0:30)
  2. What are some cities identified in the video that have U.S. embassies or consulates? What other cities around the world do you think have U.S. embassies or consulates? (0:30 – 1:40)
  3. Identify some international organizations and explain why the United States might be represented there by mission. (2:20 – 3:20)
  4. Explain the unique security status embassies, consulates, and missions have. (3:20 – 4:30)
  5. Describe the three main objectives of embassies, consulates, and missions. (4:20 – 4:30)
  6. What does this quote from the video mean to you: “The relationships forged by U.S. mission staff overseas help build coalitions of allies and partners.” (6:10 – end)
  7. What are some of the country flags represented in this video? 
  8. Would you want to work at an embassy, consulate, or mission? Explain why or why not. 
  9. What is one thing you learned from the video that you found interesting, surprising, or confusing? 
  10. How are embassies, consulates, and missions similar and different? 

Video Vocabulary

The following terms are referenced in this video. 

  • Relationships – How things are connected.
  • Embassy – The diplomatic delegation from one country to another.
  • Consulate – A building that supports the embassy in its host country.
  • Mission – A diplomatic representation to an international organization. Mission also refers to an embassy or a consulate.
  • Ambassador – The lead official representative to a foreign country.
  • Commerce – Trade; the act of buying and selling.
  • Culture – Shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices shared by groups of people.
  • Symbol – A sign, shape, or object that represents something else.
  • Non-governmental organization – An organization independent of the government.
  • Institution – An established organization.