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Following is the text of a June 17 cable from the State Department to Foreign Service posts announcing the creation of a Foreign Affairs Professional Reading List. A joint initiative of the American Foreign Service Association and the Department, this list is an important new resource for foreign affairs professionals as well as for scholars and students. – Ed

Foreign Affairs Professional Reading List



SUBJECT: Foreign Affairs Professional Reading List

1. The Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs and the President of the American Foreign Service Association have co-sponsored the creation of a Foreign Affairs Professional Reading List to serve as a resource for Foreign Service and Civil Service employees of the foreign affairs agencies. AFSA, the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training, the State Department’s Ralph J. Bunche Library, Office of the Historian, and Office of E-Diplomacy have compiled the list, with help from the Counselor and regional and functional bureaus. The list seeks to identify useful books and websites to serve as a point of departure for career-long, self-directed professional development.

2. The list is posted on the Department’s Intranet at ( Foreign_Affairs_Professional_Reading_List) and on AFSA’s website at ( Since this is a rolling process, employees and retirees are invited to nominate additional titles. Please visit the above referenced Intranet or website addresses for nomination guidelines.

3. In addition, we invite supervisors with mentorship responsibilities (including DCMs, POs, and office Deputy Directors) or ad hoc groups of employees at overseas posts and domestic offices to form Professional Development Discussion Groups (“book clubs”) for employees to discuss readings from the list. We suggest that each group select one or more titles and then meet once a quarter to discuss their readings. Supervisors are encouraged to participate in the discussions, but may wish to allow entry level employees to coordinate the groups.

4. To help launch this effort, the Una Chapman Cox Foundation has generously granted $5,000 to AFSA for a pilot project in which AFSA will provide funding to assist employees at approximately 45 Foreign Service posts in purchasing books to start a Professional Reading Library to be maintained permanently at post. Funds will also be provided to the Ralph J. Bunche Library to facilitate the purchase of books for use by Washington-based discussion groups. Please see the forthcoming announcement from AFSA for details and application procedures.

5. Best regards, Bill Burns and John Naland.

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