In the third installment of the Public Diplomacy Series, retired Foreign Service Officer Andrew Koss mixed memories and advice in a talk given to a group of students on Wednesday in the Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy.
With a career spanning 3 decades and more continents, Koss served as a Public Affairs officer, rising to Minister-Counselor before retiring. As a Public Affairs Officer, Koss engaged in strategies of public diplomacy.
“The most successful public diplomacy officer can close the last three feet with context,” said Koss, referring to the ability to make connections and highlighting America’s best assets. The goal is not to make the foreign public like us, though it’s always nice, but rather to create conditions to further America’s national interests, said Koss.
The talk, titled “Flacking for America,” was filled with stories from Koss’s colorful career, including time working under Ambassador Chris Hill, current Dean of the Josef Korbel School, in Poland.
“I worked for a lot of ambassadors and I can’t say they were all as open to the importance of public diplomacy as Chris Hill was,” said Koss.
Koss noted that a big part of his job was to humanize American diplomats, and his humorous stories certainly highlighted that, including one moment where he allowed Chinese film crews into his home to film the Christmas tree.
The Public Diplomacy Series premiered this academic year with a talk given by former Army Chief of Staff General Casey and will conclude with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in April. A full list of Public Diplomacy Series events can be found here.
Read more on Andrew Koss at DU Clarion.
- Sarah Crozier, MA Candidate, International Development
Josef Korbel School of International Studies