Letter of Support from Diplomatic Leaders and Legends

In support of the 25YearApprenticeship (25YA) blog, we, the undersigned, offer our guidance to all current diplomats, civil and foreign service.  We succeeded as diplomats in large part due to the mentorship we received from those in leadership positions who were determined to make a difference.  We support the apolitical and inclusive nature of the blog and laud all who seek to serve the United States more effectively, persuasively and actively.  Each of us could name several people without whose help we would not have had the opportunities to contribute that we enjoyed.  We support the 25YA initiative because we hope it will serve the State Department and the talented people who work there in the following ways: 1) provide an online forum for us and other leaders to offer guidance and mentorship; 2) offer specific ideas and tools for current and next generation diplomats based on the lessons we have learned over our combined hundreds of years of real-world experience and through our many decades of lived experience; 3) build a community of current and former diplomats to exchange views on how to best advance U.S. national security goals through strategic, engaged, and thoughtful diplomacy.

We look forward to contributing to the initiative - through articles, interviews, advice, and livestream conversations with readers - and encourage other leaders, current and former, to reach out to the blog (25yearapprentice@gmail.com) to offer your advice and contributions.  While we are former apolitical career diplomats, we encourage the 25YA organizers to solicit input from military leaders, the think tank community, Capitol Hill and elsewhere - the biggest successes we had as diplomats were possible when we worked well with our partners in and out of government and when we understood who the key actors were who could influence our policy.  Diplomacy is an art not a science, and successes are incremental in nature and built on ideas and relationships.  We hope that this initiative can offer our leaders and all who are working on U.S. diplomacy some creative ideas to enhance relationships within our diplomatic community.

Signed,

Bill Burns, Victoria Nuland, Richard Boucher, Uzra Zeya, Alexander Vershbow, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Virginia Bennett, Jeff DeLaurentis, Roberta Jacobson, Maura Harty, Deborah K. Jones, Cameron Munter, James F. Jeffrey, Kristie Kenney, Robert Blake, Danny Russel, Frank Wisner, Barbara Leaf, Lew Lukens, Jeff Feltman, Deborah McCarthy, Robin Raphel, Ken Gross, Thomas Pickering, Glyn Davies