How do you create a playbook for performing basic administrative functions at U.S. embassies around the world? How do you establish common procedures when every host country has its own rules? Kerry O’Connor, the State Department’s innovation catalyst, answers these questions on this week’s episode of “Conversations with Nicholas Kralev.”
O’Connor, who also runs the department’s internal Sounding Board focusing on the “how” of foreign policy, talks about the challenges of running an embassy, improving deeply rooted but inefficient policies, and changing a culture traditionally resistant to change. She discusses innovation jams and other ways to find more efficient processes.
Having joined the Foreign Service on September 10, 2001, O’Connor served in Ghana and Morocco before converting to the Civil Service. She provides a behind-the-scenes look at embassy life, including issues like diplomatic immunities and mental health.
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Voice of America (VOA) Director David Ensor
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Chief U.S. Aviation Negotiator Krishna Urs
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West Point Superintendent Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen
Harvard Professor Joseph Nye
- Nicholas Kralev is an author, entrepreneur and expert in international diplomacy, strategic communications and global aviation. A former Financial Times and Washington Times correspondent, he has traveled around the world with four U.S. secretaries of state — Hillary Clinton, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell and Madeleine Albright. He has flown over 2 million miles and visited 96 countries.
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