On September 3rd at 9:00 AM CDA Zoomed with U.S. Ambassador Phillip Goldberg, live from the Embassy in Bogotá Colombia, the fourth in our on-going series of World Watch meetings with U.S. Ambassadors abroad.
The Ambassador spoke about current conditions in Colombia in terms of the pandemic and the complex repatriation of 15,000 U.S. citizens back to the U.S, and the economic and logistical problems encountered during COVID. And he spoke at length about the U.S. collaboration with Colombia in “attacking the drug problems and general lawlessness” and working with USAID toward economic development in the rural areas. There have been great strides now somewhat hampered by the economic downturn due to the Pandemic.
With questions from the viewers about the long-term guerilla group FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia) and the 2019 Peace Agreement, and then Colombia’s position with the political situation in Venezuela, Ambassador Goldberg provided insights into the realities, complexities, and developments in those areas.
When asked about careers in the Foreign Service, the Ambassador spoke about his own career mentioning the unique opportunities and adventures presented by his posts abroad but cautioned it is only “if you can handle the downside–“moving so often!” He mentioned a few of the challenging times in his embassy assignments: South Africa during the difficult transition from Apartheid but a chance to work with Mandela, an earlier post in Colombia when Pablo Escobar was powerful, and the Balkans in the late 90’s and the Kosovo conflict. He ended by reiterating his great opportunities to experience and to serve, and also “ the adventures.” With a grin he added: All interesting adventures. Just that adventure is not always pleasant.”
After the Ambassador left, Jay Raman, in charge of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the Embassy spoke about his career with the Foreign Service and agreed with Ambassador Goldberg that the Service is looking for Diversity: diversity of languages, cultures, ages and life stories and experiences.
At the end of the Zoom, he left at least several of the viewers inspired!
Next Zoom: Meet Jessica Lapenne, Ambassador to the African Union, September 24.
World Watch “Meet the Ambassadors” is free and open to the public. The only requirement is that you pre-registers with CDA Executive Director, Pat Watson (firstname.lastname@example.org) to receive the Zoom link and other information.