A Stately State of Affairs


Above: A gallery of the Diplomatic Reception Rooms at the Department of State.

Today our class “field-tripped” to the Department of State. It wasn’t your traditional field trip – after all, we left work early to arrive there just after lunch. So, I’ll have you know we looked just as professional as the people who actually work there.

What stands out most was the tight security. Our tour group was book-ended with gun-toting security guards. The clearance to have a tour at all took weeks – but thanks to Ivo’s (our DC coordinator) political connections, it wasn’t too difficult.

The Department of State is headed up by Secretary Hillary Clinton. And while we didn’t run into her, we did get to see the Diplomatic Reception Rooms, where the state dinners are held. Clinton receives distinguished guests and foreign dignitaries there – in the two yellow wingback chairs. (a.k.a. Where Hillary Parties!)

Following the tour, we met with Louise Crane, a former Foreign Service Officer, and former president of the AFSA. She talked about her nearly 45 years of working in the foreign service. Her claims to fame: one of the first women to give birth while overseas as an officer, and she came directly into the foreign service after college at 23.  Today, entry into the foreign service requires two things: You must be 21 and pass the exam (which means you’d better brush up on your American history!)

I can’t say I’d enjoy working in a place like the Department of State – the atmosphere was a bit too stuffy for me.

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About Meg Biallas

Thoughts From A DC Intern Turned DCist. A twenty-something goes beyond traditional tourism to achieve Washingtonian authenticity.
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