Forsberg talks about life abroad, self-knowledge

by Caitlin Tortorici

On Sept. 28, the Alumni Career Series presented “Careers in International Affairs After Whitman,” with 1986 Whitman graduate Aaron Forsberg.

After completing a history major at Whitman, Forsberg went on to earn a Ph.D. on the subject at the University of Texas, Austin, in 1992. In 2000, he completed his most famous writing on U.S.-Eastern relations entitled “America and the Japanese Miracle.”

Prior to joining the Foreign Service in 2001, Forsberg worked as a translator at the Tokyo office of White and Case LLP and as a lecturer in history in Japan through the University of Maryland system. He has previously served at U.S. embassies in Qatar and Thailand. Presently, he works in Washington, D.C., as a desk officer fat the Department of State for Indonesia and East Timor.

In his lecture, Forsberg stressed the importance of knowing oneself when striving toward a career in foreign affairs. This is crucial in determining desired amounts of overseas travel (if any), freedom within organizations, and lengths of time serving within certain areas, given the spoken languages and governments of those areas.

Forsberg also explained how his college-honed skills helped him in his line of work. He credited Whitman with providing him the ability to write quickly and succinctly and for equipping him with a broad knowledge of the U.S. and the world.


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