‘I failed my first two exams to become a diplomat’ – US Ambassador Sullivan
The United States Ambassador to Ghana, Stephanie Sanders Sullivan, has shared a personal life story about her journey to becoming a diplomat.
In an interview on Citi TV’s Diplomatic License, H.E Stephanie Sullivan narrated to the Host, Apiokor Seyiram Ashong-Abbey, how she decided to toe the diplomatic line.
“It took a few years after my graduation to decide on diplomacy. I even thought I would be a lawyer. My family said I could argue. But I didn’t meet my first diplomat since I was overseas and working in the former DRC. And then I met some American diplomats, and then I learned about their work, and I thought I can do it.”
“In our system, you have to take a written exam, and there is an oral assessment. It takes time. 35% of our diplomats are appointed, but everyone else has to go through the system.”
She recounted how she failed at her first two attempts to becoming a Diplomat.
“The first year I took the exams, I could not even get through the English grammar session, which is my forte. I was on village time, and I could not even get through about two-thirds of the questions before the time elapsed. I did not pass that year. I felt strange that I could not even complete the easy part. But I thought, well, I am not unemployed after all, so I will keep doing my thing and try again the next year. I did not feel pressured in any way. I tried again the next year and again, I did not pass. I passed the following year.”
“People ask what the test is made up of; Whether it is a test of History or Economics, and I tell them it is actually a test of persistence,” she added.
The US Ambassador further charged the youth not to throw in the towel easily, but persevere till the end.
“Sometimes people look at people of prominence or success, and they don’t imagine that this person didn’t come out of their mother’s womb a success. They started from somewhere, tried, made mistakes, learned from their mistakes, and tried again.”