Senior Project Advisor

Parris, Kristen Diane, 1955-

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2002


Public diplomacy, U.S. Embassy in Moscow, College internship


I applied to intern for the State Department during the fall of 2001 and was assigned to the Public Affairs Section (PAS) of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, Russia. At first I was perplexed by this appointment because as a major in political science, with a focus on international and comparative politics, I had never been exposed to public diplomacy and the U.S. government’s public diplomacy apparatus. In our political science undergraduate education we were taught about international relations through the organization of government activity, actions of top leaders and specific historical events. I was completely unaware of the practice of public diplomacy, yet alone the significant time, money and resources that the U.S. government put into communicating directly with foreign publics. I went to Moscow naive to the mission of the Public Affairs Section, and I quickly found myself with innumerable questions about what was going on around me, what I was working for, and what our intentions were. For much of my three months in Russia, I was piecing together the meaning of public diplomacy and attempting to swim in the bureaucratic ocean that I had been dropped into. I left the embassy with a new understanding and perspective on American foreign policy and international relations, and the desire to create something tangible out of my recent experience.


Political Science

Subjects - Topical (LCSH)

Diplomatic and consular service, American--Russia (Federation); Internship programs--United States

Geographic Coverage

United States--Foreign relations--Russia (Federation); Russia (Federation)--Foreign relations--United States


student projects; term papers




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