Can a building that meets rigorous security standards also be beautiful, and if so, at what cost? Modern embassy design revolves around this question. [...] Yet embassies aren't just meant to shield Foreign Service officers from harm. They are also the face the United States presents to the world. For many people, it's the first point of contact with its government, and a visual key to American values.
The State Department is now quietly allowing dozens of young women and minority students to become full-fledged diplomats after threatening to rescind job offers that most of the students were given two years ago upon winning prestigious scholarships. The concession, issued without announcement on Thursday, came after an intense lobbying campaign by members of Congress and retired diplomats. They persuaded Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson to reverse his earlier decision to delay the students’ hiring into the Foreign Service indefinitely.
This month, I resigned from the State Department’s Foreign Service, stepping down as the senior U.S. diplomat in China and ending a 27-year career. [...] When the administration decided to withdraw from the Paris agreement on climate change, however, I concluded that, as a parent, patriot and Christian, I could not in good conscience be involved in any way, no matter how small, with the implementation of that decision.