As some of the best content, this list of diplomats’ blogs started for ourselves, and realising it might be of use to others became an article. In the context of this list, when we list a website as being written by diplomats, we are limiting ourselves to those diplomats serving the USA (although we may expand this definition) around the world. We have separated this list into five sections: Official State Department Blog, Not Official but websites with significant breadth and/or range of contributors, Blogs/Websites written by Diplomats, Blogs written by Diplomatic Spouses, and blogs written by Retired FSOs.
The Official State Department Blog
Below is a list of blogs websites written or maintained by Diplomats – or their family members. It’s been quite a while (and a couple of websites since I put together a good old fashioned blogroll, but I have found myself reading many of these websites and thought you might find them helpful too).
State Department CLO – Community Liaison Office
Community Liaison Office (CLO) program supports Foreign Service employees and family members overseas.
Kolkata in northeast India is described as “one of the last great frontiers of the Foreign Service.” This blog is maintained by the CLO and has helpful information about Consumables, Personal Safety, and helpful pre-arrival information.
Not Official but also Full of gouge on Diplomatic Life
Written by a pseudonymous author, DiploPundit wades into leadership and management issues, realities of Foreign Service life, ambassadors and nominations, embassy report cards, current events in countries and regions which may or may not include prominent U.S. interests, and other developments in the international affairs community. The blog is updated regularly on weekdays and occasionally on weekends.
A blog with information for those on unaccompanied tours – both the FSO and the family member. Last updated in 2019. Also includes information for Members of Household (MOH). Member of Household (MOH) is an individual who accompanies or joins a sponsoring employee at a U.S. mission abroad. MOHs are not on the employee’s travel orders but needs to be officially declared and approved by the Chief of Mission as part of his/her household. It is important for employees and others to understand that certain privileges and allowances that are extended to EFMs as defined by laws, regulations, and interpretations, often cannot be extended to those who are not on the employee’s travel orders. It is highly recommended that a MOH have adequate medical and evacuation insurance when living overseas.
A memetastic website poking fun at daily diplomat life – heavy on the inside jokes of bureaucracy and alphabet soup.
A non-official guide to the process for becoming a US Foreign Service Officer (FSO)/diplomat in 2021. Along with a discussion on the process to become an FSO (diplomat), it includes preparation advice for the personal narratives, the FSOT, and the oral assessment. Personally, we did not join their FSO compass membership (paid) but we did find their Facebook group helpful for observing questions others were asking.
Tales from a Small Planet – Tales Mag
“Living abroad is … exciting – bewildering – fascinating – confusing – eye-opening – infuriating – self-confidence-building – self-confidence-destroying …” Tales from a Small Planet, www.talesmag.com, where personal essays, Real Post Reports and Real School Reports tell you “what it’s really like to live there.” As they write:
We’re non-profit, and our mission is to share uncensored and honest information about both the delights (new cultures, fascinating people, unique opportunities, exotic foods) and the challenges (loneliness, loss of identity, struggles to accommodate special needs) of living abroad.
They are always looking for essay submissions if you’d like to share your experiences.
This is a round up of the best foreign service blogs. Although it hasn’t been updated since 2017 there is some good information to be mined.
An academic blog examining public diplomacy from a variety of perspectives. Excellent for understanding the role of the public diplomacy track. Edited by retired diplomats: Patricia Lee Sharpe – Poet, journalist, teacher, a foreign service officer with 23 years of public diplomacy experience in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean – and Patricia H. Kushlis – 27 years of public diplomacy experience in Europe, Asia and Washington, DC as a US foreign service officer. Takes Submissions.
Over 3000 articles about Arms Control topics. This is a multiple-author website that will make the arms wonk in you happy!
Essays on current events in Eurasia from Paul Goble.
Diplomats with Blogs
Postings include Ecuador and Algeria. Covers 2015-2020. Notable for the posts about taking his dog on his diplomatic journies around the world.
Billed as a wanderlust couple exploring the world…one pub at a time. Most recent posts have them in Austria, with past service in South Korea, Canada, Bahrain, and Afghanistan.
He has lived for more than eight years in the Middle East, Latin America, and India with his plucky family of four children, one spouse, and however many plush toys fit into two or three child-sized backpacks.
Completed A-100 in 2016 after taking the FSOT 3 times. Married to a dual citizen. First post was to Saudi Arabia. Last updated in 2016.
A Public Diplomacy FSO most recently in Lithuania. Blog covers 11 years from 2007-2018.
Author and Diplomat Ben East’s website. Past Diplomatic assignments have included India, Washington, Mexico, Ghana, Nicaragua, and Saudi Arabia. He taught English at the American School of Asuncion; at Brooklyn College Academy in New York; and as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Malawi.
The author writes:
I’m a mom, wife, former health care administrator, and now a U.S. diplomat. After an application process lasting 1.5 years (and that was a short timeline!), we joined the Foreign Service in 2011 and moved the family to Virginia to begin our adventure. Our first assignment was the beautiful Dominican Republic. Next, we were assigned to Guangzhou, China, after a year in the U.S. learning Mandarin Chinese. We are currently in vibrant Mexico City!
Personal blog of a Foreign Service Officer who has served in Pakistan, Israel, Papua New Guinea, Norway, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and now in Montenegro. Active blog with well-written content covering 2003-2021.
A Foreign Service Officer and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer. Posts at least monthly. Prior posts include Uzbekistan, Australia, and Mexico. Excellent series on the process of being selected for the Foreign Service – this is a helpful post about QEP and personal narratives. I will say that this was written prior to the 2020 change to personal narratives being submitted prior to taking the FSOT rather than afterwards (and only if you have passed the FSOT). For the Consular Track, ee have found their foreign service timeline to be helpful too.
A tandem Foreign service couple – meaning both partners are FSOs. Covers 2007-2021.
Written by Erica, about her time in New Dehli, India. Full of color and reflections on the expanse of life in this bustling city. It also discusses Embassy enclave life (the activities of other embassies, including learning about the Melbourne Cup – a horse race held each November in Australia). Also the author of Our Africa Home, a blog about 2010-2012 in Nairobi, Kenya, What’s New in Baku: Tales from Life in Baku, Azerbaijan, and Phenomenal Phnews: Tales from Life in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and Home Leave Files: Tales from Visits Back to the U.S. This is the first diplomat I have seen construct completely separate blogs for each of their tours.
“This blog describes my journey as a Foreign Service officer, wife of another FSO and a mom to a boisterous, loving boy. We began our careers with the State Department in 2010/2011 and first served in amazing Bangladesh, followed by fabulous Rio de Janeiro. Then followed a two-year stint in Washington, DC, after which we spend a year in Russia. Currently, we live in stunning Kyiv, Ukraine.” Written by a former attorney, and a tandem FSO.
Sarah Talalay is a US Foreign Service Officer. Tours include Chennai, India, Vilnius, Lithuania and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Next stop, Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Covers 2011-2021.
Beautifully designed and written blog. Prior posts in India, Spain, China, and Vietnam. A Rangel Fellow.
Foreign Service Officer and Pickering Alumna. Current post is Brazil and the next is new delhi, India. Mother to three.
Although not updated since 2018, discusses postings to Kosovo and DC. Explores serving as a diplomat under administrations of different ilks.
This entry is here for the inevitable that someone will copy and paste this list as a whole — that’s stealing under US copyright law (and many international treaties)– to put on their own website. But, hey, if they don’t bother to edit it first, then here we are, a couple of nomads (one of whom is a recovering lawyer), a couple passionate about serving to make the world a better place wherever we happen to find ourselves.
We’ve lived in 9 countries between us, including Germany where we live at the pleasure of the United States Government.
Covers 2016-2021, an early career diplomat whose first post was Djibouti followed by Vietnam. Blogs from 2016-2017 helpfully cover preparation for A-100 and her first post, while recent posts discuss life in the time of the coronavirus pandemic in Vietnam. An early quote reads:
Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” And as I switch off my desk lamp for the last time, I encourage each of you to push for the progress you want to see in your job, in your community, and in the world. So here’s to change. And more importantly, here’s to not causing any international diplomatic incidents…Notes from Post: https://notesfrompost.com/2016/12/
A Foreign Service Construction Engineer. This blog has posts from 1996-2021. Past posts include Jordan. Great information if you are looking to become a FSCE, or if your’re trying improve your Foreign Service Blog.
Artist and Tandem FSO couple whose part postings include Muscat and Niger.
An Information Management Specialist (IMS) rambling around the world. Past postings to Riga, Latvia, Stockholm, Sweden, and Caracas Venzuela. After some language training heading to Algiers, Algeria.
Excellent page with information if you’re interested in joining the Foreign Service as a diplomat. including his timeline. Joswiak is also a US Air Force veteran who ran as a Congressional candidate in 2014. This website has a blog but is more of a professional portfolio. A good example, if you are interested in a public diplomacy FSO’s personal website.
Recently curtailed from Indonesia as a result of the pandemic. Well written and comprehensive posts. FSO with a child.
Anonymous blog focusing on editorial type pieces on political machinations in DC or about diplomats. Of late, wuite a bit on the Harry Dunn case.
Blog from 2011-2021 covering postings as a diplomat to Bucharest, Recife, Windhoek and Tashkent.
Blog was started long before this second-career foreign service officer began life as a diplomat. Financial Management Officer with the U. S. Department of State. Assignments in Bamako, Mali, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and Charleson, South Carolina.
Past diplomatic posts in San Savlador, Bucharest, Bogota, Colombia, Juarez, Mexico. Well written and engaging blog – very much enjoyed the blog about marking 10 years as an FSO.
Author and Diplomat Ted Cross writes about being a writer, about what he is reading and about his experiences in the world. He is currently posted to Rome.
A tandem couple in the U.S. Foreign Service. Alex joined in March 2010 and was assigned a public diplomacy job in Cotonou, Benin. Andy joined in January 2013 and took a one-year management job in Washington, D.C. Two children with past postings in Mexico and Chennai, India. Alex is public diplomacy track who actually got a public diplomacy job in her first tour *super rare.* Huge Flag Day roundup post.
Tandem FSOs, now with kids. Preparing for their fifth assignment on their fourth continent. Mostly recently in the Phillipines.
This blog has the best post about the emotional rollercoaster of the bidding process for Foreign Service Officers and their families. Currently, in Malawi, this blog written by an FSO covers 2014-2021. Previous posts include China.
Former international development consultant and migration researcher, now US diplomat. A dual US-Netherlands citizen, this blog is well-written and thoughtful in examining the work and lives of diplomats. This website shares:
stories and information about diplomacy so that more people (including my own family and friends) understand what diplomats do – both personally and professionally.
Travel blog from an FSO covering Jordan (two years), Nepal (two years), Bolivia (three), Tanzania (two and a half), and now Germany.
Moving to Mexico in 2021. Prior posts include Belize, and Saudi Arabia.
Diplomat Spouses with Blogs
Written by a FS spouse. Although this blog hasn’t been updated since 2017, it has a helpful foreign service timeline.
I’m a journalist, turned lawyer, turned “trailing” spouse. We’re giving up the world we know for the world at large, following my foreign service officer husband, B, into the unknown. Our 7-year-old, C, and our big brown dog, Miller, are along for the ride as well.
FS Spouse writes that she hopes:
According to Athena is a helpful and humorous resource for fellow travelers and those joining/thinking about joining the Foreign Service, especially those with dogs!
Written by an FS Spouse. Described as “Follow our unusual life abroad (and sometimes in America) in the foreign service.” Past tours in Bangladesh and Malta. Last updated in 2019 but covers 2009-2019.
Short reflections on living “as a foreigner” including language and literature. Past assignments include: Rome, Italy, Nassau, Bahamas, Budapest, Hungary, Baku, Azerbaijan, Reykjavik, Iceland, Beijing, China, Zagreb, Croatia, Phoenix, USA, and Moscow, Russia.
2014-2020. Most recent assignment was to China. Written by the spouse of a diplomat who joined the Foreign Service in 2006 as a second career. Currently on their seventh assignment in Beijing after Washington, DC, Budapest, Islamabad, Mexico City, Dakar, and DC.
Jen Kirk Dinoia began globetrotting with her family when her 16 year old daughter was only three weeks old. Currently in Central America, tours have also taken them to South America, Europe, and several Stateside locales. With three children, and the constant moves, life is never dull. Also a contributor to Unaccompanied Baggage.
Married her college sweetheart who became a Diplomat, and so decided to write about her life as a trailing spouse. Past postings to Muscat, Oman, Budapest, Hungary. Last updated in 2018.
Consular Fellow, and now FSO married to a CA-AEFM who writes this blog. Notable for 3 separate flag days!
Foreign Service spouse writes about the adventures of her globetrotting family. Four children (now grown) and her FSO husband. The list of past posts is extensive: Frankfurt, Germany, Manila, Philippines, Lome’, Togo (no, not Tonga), Chennai, India, (3 years in Virginia), Amman, Jordan, and unaccompanied to Baghdad, Iraq.
The Healthy Expat Parent is a resource for families and parents in transition. Some of the common issues all parents face can be amplified when a family moves overseas or returns “home” only to find that they don’t fit in anymore
Male trailing spouse writes about finding work as an EFM, and his search for the cookies. Yes, actual cookies.
I’m Jenni. I started this blog to update our friends and family when we moved to our first post in Pristina, Kosovo (2013-2015). Our second post was Tbilisi, Georgia (2015-2019). Recently curtailed from Cairo, Egypt, with our three kids (5, 2.5 and 5 months) as a result of the pandemic.
As of August 2019, living in Taipei, Taiwan and before that they lived in Washington, DC; Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia; Vienna, Austria; Sao Paulo, Brazil; and Toronto, Canada. Also a contributor to Unaccompanied Baggage.
After entering Foreign Service in 2015, this FSO spouse has spent time in Tajikistan and Georgia.
In 2012, Kail and Natasha packed up our lives and moved to San Salvador, El Salvador for Kail’s first post in the Foreign Service with USAID. They have had postings to Kabul, Afghanistan and Amman, Jordan, and currently Germany in 2019. Natasha started La Vie Overseas in April 2012 to document, “expat life as a foreign service wife.”
Currently posted to Calgary, blog covers 2007-2021. Very interesting reflections on being a Jewish FS family serving with DoS.
Past postings to Moscow, Taipai and New Zealand.
“Foreign Service is not the point of my blog, but living in different cultures affects even the most mundane tasks. Similarly, MS crept in and forced me to look at life through a different lens. At times, this silent disease becomes constraining. Thus, my perspectives are filtered through pain. As you read I hope you can see my heart.”http://looksattheheart.blogspot.com/
Billed as the “Foreign Service Adventures of a Writer, a Runner, and Two Rugrats.”
FS family writing about their travels. Past postings include Tbilisi, Georgia, Frankfurt, Germany, Suva, Fiji, and Doha, Qatar. Quite useful for understanding life in these countries as the author has pros and cons lists for each post, like this pros and cons list for living in Suva, Fiji and Pros and Cons of Living in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia.
Written by a FS Spouse. Past postings to Phillipines, Peru, Malawi, and India. 2010-2021. Probably my favorite header image of all of these websites and blogs.
Emily is a writer who lives in Algiers, Algeria with her Foreign Service Officer husband and their two Diplocats. She spends her days trying to finish her first novel, procrasticooking, arranging and rearranging rooms, and planning her next dinner party. Hailing from Michigan, Emily has previously lived in Washington DC; Sana’a, Yemen; New York City; Madrid; Jerusalem; and Rabat. Click here to learn more about The Next Dinner Party.
A FS spouse writing about life with 6 children. Past postings in Egypt and Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Excellent post about living in Tajikistan – the kind that really helps with deciding if that’s a place you’d like to live.
Discusses postings in Jordan and Turkey. Written by the spouse of a Foreign Service Specialist who describes themselves thus:
We are a family of six from Utah who on a crazy adventure. Jason and I spent the first 17 years of our marriage in the same county in the same state and then decided we needed some new sights and smells. We’re now getting those compliments of the Foreign Service. Jason is a former software executive who is now an Information Management Specialist. Erin is a former writer and editor who is now a full-time mommy.Six Abroad: https://sixabroad.com/about/
Covers 2006-2019. The author has largely moved to Instagram, but this is a great blog for those who want to see a Foreign Service family with children grow up as by 2019, the eldest is at university, and the baby is now a teenager. FS spouse was formerly a copyeditor so this is very well written!
Written in both German and English. Trailing spouse is the dual citizen male trailing spouse of a US diplomat.
Joined in 2013 and covers 2013-2017. Currently in Jerusalem. Last updated in 2017.
Ayessa, trailing spouse to a diplomat, mama to DiploBaby and DiploDog and founder of Declutter MNL. I love talking about how to achieve a minimaluxe lifestyle one step at a time.
After many years doing other things, J became a Foreign Service Officer at the certifiably vintage age of 51. She is a consular officer, currently serving in Luxembourg. R is the spouse extraordinaire who makes it all possible.
Currently in Washington DC, this children’s author and writer is also a Foreign Service Spouse. Past postings include: Burundi, India, and Mali.
A blog covering 2008-2019. Posts include Belgrade, Serbia, Dhaka, Bangladesh, and Vietnam.
An adjunct professor of international affairs at The George Washington University, Amb. Shinn, who received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from GW, is a former U.S. ambassador to Ethiopia (1996-99) and to Burkina Faso (1987-90).
Retired diplomat who waded into the WEA world for a bit. A few years since it was updated, it is well written and contains quire a bit of information about life in Papua New Guinea.
A Princeton PhD, was a U.S. diplomat for over 20 years, mostly in Central/Eastern Europe, and was promoted to the Senior Foreign Service in 1997. After leaving the State Department in 2003 to express strong reservations about the planned U.S. invasion of Iraq, he shared ideas with Georgetown University students on the tension between propaganda and public diplomacy
now retired diplomat who writes:
My title? My favorite candy as a child and I still can’t pass them up when I see them in the store! After several years in the Foreign Service travelling the world, I retired on July 1, 2014. What I’ve seen, who I’ve met and where I’ve been have been nothing short of amazing. I’m sad to see this chapter of my life come to a close, but retirement so far has been a blast. I’ve tried to chronicle my travels, thoughts and experiences here.
Written by a now a “retired” Foreign Service spouse after seven tours in Latin America, Africa, and Europe. She blogs at wellthatwasdifferent.com.
Foreign Service resources
- American Foreign Service Association
- Associates of American Foreign Service Worldwide
- Bureau of Consular Affairs
- Career Diplomacy
- Foreign Affairs Manual
- Foreign Service Institute
- Foreign Service Journal
- FSOT Wiki
- State Magazine
- The Cable
- US Department of State Careers
- US Embassies & Consulates directory
Public Diplomacy Resources
- CIA World Factbook
- Diplomacy and Fashion
- International Atomic Energy Agency
- John Brady Kiesling Diplomacy Lessons
- John Brown’s Public Diplomacy Press & Blog Review
- Nuclear Diner
- Nuclear Threat Initiative
- National Security Archive – GWU
- Perry-Castaneda Map Collection
- Public Diplomacy Council (PDC)
- The Public Diplomacy Association Of America (PDAA)
- Public Diplomacy.Org
- Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces
- USC Center on Public Diplomacy
- Washington International Diplomatic Academy – executive Director, Nicholas Kralev.
Note: I may have misclassified some of the blogs – for example, some may be written by tandem couples, or an FSO when I have placed it in the Diplomatic Spouses’ category. No offence is intended. Feel free to comment with information or clarification and i’ll add an edit, or move as needed.