Beginning July 14, I will undertake with pleasure and gratitude the editorship of American Diplomacy, and I relish the challenges and opportunities it offers.
I’ve been associated with this journal as a fairly frequent contributor for most of its young life. Early on, I admired the vision of its founders in utilizing the then very new technology of the Internet to create a professional journal for practitioners and students of American diplomacy and foreign policy, and I watched with interest its evolution and growth. Following my return from Niger and retirement last year, I was delighted to accept an invitation to join its Board and in that capacity to get to better know its leaders and learn about its inner workings. Earlier this year, I was surprised and honored to be asked to become its editor.
Few experiences in life are better than being in the right place at the right time with the right experience to take on an important, interesting new job. Retirement put me in the right place at the right time, and more than four decades as a Foreign Service Officer and in other internationally oriented positions gave me the appropriate experience, to accept the American Diplomacy editorial chair. But it was my background in the distant past as editor of the Auburn University Plainsman, the school newspaper, plus a job for several summers as a reporter and copy editor with the Chattanooga Times, which gave me an abiding taste for this sort of work. (For an account of how being Plainsman editor facilitated my entry into the Foreign Service, see my story in the American Diplomacy archives: www.unc.edu/depts/diplomat/item/2005/0709/life/life_joiningfs2.html.)
So this new job marks a return to a youthful passion as well as a retirement avocation for an old man. I’m hopeful that just as my early experience in journalism proved to be good preparation for diplomacy, my years of diplomatic practice will prove to be good preparation for journalism.
I look forward to continuing and building on the outstanding work of my predecessor, Henry Mattox, and the many other visionary and skilful people involved in creating this journal and guiding its development since 1996. As we proceed, I will rely on Henry, as well as Publisher Bart Moon, American Diplomacy Publishers Board of Directors President Jeanette Hyde, our longtime Webmaster Sandy Johnson, and all our colleagues on the Board and the Editorial Review Panel, for their counsel and active participation in our joint efforts to make American Diplomacy ever more useful and interesting to our readers.