A-100 is officially over! The last day of orientation on Friday was marked by a ceremony where we all raised our right hands and took the oath of office. We had actually already done this in a very administrative way on our first day, but we repeated it last week in front of our families in ceremonial fashion.
Ambassador Tom Shannon, the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, did the honors for our class. Here’s the oath we took:
I affirm that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter.
They gave us the option of either swearing or affirming the oath (religious vs non-religious), which I really appreciated! Separation of church and state for the win.
To celebrate, I took my family to the National Archives this weekend to see the Constitution in the flesh. It was fantastic, but they don’t allow photos inside the building so here is a photo of the outside of the building:
Next week, I start Near Eastern Affairs area studies! Policy issues in this bureau include Iraq, Middle East peace, terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, and political and economic reform. Something tells me my 2-week introductory course will be just the tip of the iceberg.