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.
Watch the full episode
Ep14: West Point Superintendent Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen
Ep13: Voice of America Director David Ensor
Ep12: U.S. Global Sanctions Coordinator Daniel Fried
Ep11: Sports Diplomacy with Michelle Kwan
Ep10: Spying and Diplomacy with John Negroponte
Ep9: Media and Diplomacy with P.J. Crowley
Ep8: Indian Ambassador to U.S. Nirupama Rao
Ep7: Professionalizing Diplomacy with Susan Johnson
Ep6: Foreign Service Director-General
Ep5: U.S. Public Diplomacy with Tara Sonenshine
Ep4: Deputy Secretary of State William Burns
Ep3: U.S. Visa Policies with Janice Jacobs
Ep2: Ambassador Thomas Pickering, Part 2
Ep1: Ambassador Thomas Pickering, Part 1
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- Nicholas Kralev is an author and expert on diplomacy, world affairs and global travel. He hosts the weekly program "Conversations with Nicholas Kralev." 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 84 countries.
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