In a lecture about the life and work of a diplomat, Christina Phillips, United States' vice consul in Rio de Janeiro, gives us an interview about how it's to be a diplomat in the 21st century

Hello Christina, first, let me ask you. What do you do as a diplomat?
As a diplomat we represent the United States in foreign countries. We do things like negotiate treaties, adjudicate visas and help American citizens abroad.

How did you realize that this was your dream, to become a diplomat?
So, when I did my masters I moved to Washington DC and that was the first time that I learned about the Foreign Service and I learned about the work of being a diplomat, and the more that I learned about it and the more that I met other people doing this job, I realized that’s what I wanted to do. So, it was very recently that I decided.

What did you do to become a diplomat in the US? What did you have to apply for?
So, I had to do three different tests. I had to do a written test, that tested knowledge of history, culture, grammar, things like that then I had to write essays and after passing both of those steps I had to do an oral text which involved interviews and negotiation and problem solving. So, those were the three main steps of the process.

What do you consider as the most important characteristics to apply for a diplomat?
I think the most important characteristic that a diplomat should have is to be open to new experiences and very understanding of other people’s perspectives and cultures. If you don’t have the sensitivity and tolerance then it’s going to be difficult for you to move all over the world and work with people from other countries.

How has your experience in Brazil been?
So, I’ve been having a wonderful experience. Brazil is an amazing country and the city of Rio is so fun. There’s so much to do and I just think that I was REALLY fortunate to get to come to Brazil first. I’m having a really good experience.

You said about the reports that you have to send to Washington, sometimes to the president of the US. How does it all work?
They mainly go to the secretary of State. So, if something important happens where a diplomat is working they need to write about it and send it to Washington and when they are writing about it, they need to include in their report how this incident affects the relationship between the United States and that country.

FOTO: Antônio Roberto