Wednesday, 2:25 Cyprus Time
In a village outside of Nicosia
"I’ve got this," I thought, as I rode the bus into the capital. After interning at the State Department headquarters last spring, I thought that this new internship, at the U.S. Embassy in Cyprus’ capital, Nicosia, would start off pretty much the same. I expected the usual tours of the building, orientation, and introductions, then starting on my work as an intern. Simple.
But not this time.
I was beginning less than a week away from a VIP visit. And not just any VIP – the Vice President of the United States was coming, the first to visit Cyprus since Lyndon B. Johnson in 1962. So there were no routine tours or time to ease into the job: the whole Embassy was going full speed to prepare for a visit from Joe Biden, and from 8 o’clock on Monday morning, so was I.
For a small island nation like Cyprus, this visit was huge. Cyprus has remained a divided country since 1974 and a U.N. buffer zone runs all the way across the island. The U.S. Embassy is only a few blocks from the fences that divide the capital of Nicosia. Renewed interest in Cyprus from overseas is enough to give people hope that there can be a resolution. So it wasn’t just the staff at the U.S Embassy that was looking forward to the visit, it seemed like the whole island had turned their attention to it as well.
So how do you prepare for the most historic visit to your office in 50 years? I can’t tell you that, but I can tell you how the visit ended. After all the diplomatic stops, Vice President Joe Biden took time to meet with all the dedicated foreign service officers that made his visit possible. It was an honor for everyone involved.
So after all the politics and economics classes at AMU, I now have an incredible opportunity to see how it all works. This is how foreign policy is made. This is how the contributions of real people – from the local embassy staff to the Foreign Service Officers to the Vice President himself – affect the lives and decisions of people all across the world. I’m just blessed to be able to see it.