u.s. department of state
Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry on Tuesday received two honors — both of them for promoting Albuquerque on the world stage and for advancing citizen diplomacy. The first award was from Global Ties ABQ on behalf of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The award recognizes Berry’s “extraordinary commitment to encourage citizen diplomacy and to foster commercial, educational, and cultural exchange between Albuquerque and nations from all over the world.”
Ben Cardin (Md.), ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has had enough with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s mismanagement. On Tuesday, he sent a blistering letter[.] [...] The notion that one can run a giant organization out of a senior staff office is something an oil executive might think up; in government, it’s a disaster. Cutting out thousands of professional diplomats deprives one of not only expertise but also bandwidth (try managing two or three major crises with only a couple of dozen key players).
Several times a week the State Department sends a greeting to a foreign country on the occasion of its national day. By tradition, the salutations have been written by low-level diplomats and routinely approved by their superiors. But not anymore. Now the messages go through Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson’s office, where his top assistants insist on vetting them, and where they often sit for weeks before coming back with extensive editing changes, according to several department officials.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is defending his efforts to redesign the State Department, but the process has left many of its 36,000 employees in Washington and around the world feeling anxious about their mission. Tillerson was welcomed warmly to the State Department six months ago. But some current and former ambassadors and foreign policy experts say they are worried about a number of indications that the Trump administration plans to lower the priority of promoting democracy and human rights in U.S. foreign policy.