Posted: 3:36 pm PT
[twitter-follow screen_name=’Diplopundit’ ]
Secretary John Kerry hosted the annual “Diplomacy at Home for the Holidays” today at 2:00 p.m. at the State Department.
“The holiday reception honors the families of U.S. government employees with assignments on which they cannot bring their families, leaving both sides to endure long periods of separation from their loved ones, even at the holidays.”
In partnership with the Kennedy Center, the cast of the Broadway hit Wicked — the untold true story of the Witches of Oz — was scheduled to perform the popular songs “The Wizard and I” and “For Good” during the reception. This event is made possible through public-private partnerships according to the State Department.
In 2013, the State Department said that about 1,100 U.S. foreign service officers were at posts abroad where they are unaccompanied or where there are limits on who can accompany them – usually no children/adult only dependents. Reuters reported at that time that this was a five-fold increase in unaccompanied American diplomats over the past decade, and represents about 14 percent of U.S. foreign service officers serving overseas. Since 2016 is no doubt a harsher year than 2013, we can only surmise that the unaccompanied posts this year is higher than the previous years.