Erin Clancy is a Foreign Service Officer currently serving as the Political-Military Affairs Officer at U.S. Embassy Muscat, Oman. Prior to arriving in Oman, she worked as a Vice Consul in U.S. Embassy Damascus, Syria. Erin received two State Department Meritorious Service Awards for her service during the first year of Syria’s violent unrest. She is also a recipient of the Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship. Erin earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Whittier College and holds a Master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. She hails from Huntington Beach, California.
Describe the impact on foreign policy you have made in your current/past positions.
As a Foreign Service Officer stationed in the Middle East, my job is to engage foreign audiences and make sense of political and economic trends on the ground for the policy-makers in Washington through reporting cables. In my previous assignment to U.S. Embassy Damascus, I began a new project to gather valuable, on-the-ground perspectives from a diverse cross-section of the Syrian population—many of whom lived in areas that were difficult, and most, impossible, for embassy personnel to visit due to the deteriorating security situation. This became a key tool for the State Department’s leadership in informing and shaping U.S. policy towards Syria. This innovation to State Department reporting made a lasting contribution to the organization that continues today in our Embassies in Lebanon and Jordan.
What personal contribution to foreign policy are you most proud of?
I will forever cherish the contributions that my teammates and I made to informing and shaping the policy process during the early days of Syria’s violent unrest, now turned civil war. Learning from and working with Ambassador Robert Ford remains the honor of a lifetime.
What is your vision of foreign policy in the 21st Century?
My hope is that all nations value the protection of civilians in armed conflict above any other calculation of national interest.
What challenges need to be overcome to create better foreign policy? What leadership traits are needed for this?
Stove-piping and a lack of information sharing still plague the foreign policy establishment twelve years after the September 11th attacks. In order to overcome these challenges, our foreign policy leaders require courage, humility, and the vision to see their work as a team sport. I am confident that “Millennials” will recognize the need for greater collaboration as they advance into leadership positions across the government.
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