By Isaac D. Pacheco

Throughout the second half of the 20th century, U.S. diplomacy underwent dramatic changes. In the wake of two world wars that drastically altered physical borders and political landscapes abroad and shifted the global power dynamic, the Department of State led American foreign policy through one of the most consequential eras in modern history, a period that included the Cold War, the space race, the normalization of relations with China, the fall of the Iron Curtain, the emergence of the internet, the rise of globalization, 9/11, the War on Terrorism, and a new era of global competition.

A small team of FSOs launched the first issue of what eventually became State Magazine with the publication of the News Letter from The Director General of The Foreign Service, March 20, 1947.

Over the same period, a cultural revolution was taking place in American society: racial desegregation, the full inclusion of women in the workplace, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and adoption of policies protecting the rights and dignity of all humans regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Mirroring the evolving world around it, the Department has worked to diversify its ranks, a process that continues to this day as leaders strive for increased equity, accessibility, and inclusion in the workforce. And while the Department still has a ways to go, the injection of new ideas and perspectives from historically underserved communities has led to greater innovation and resulted in a workforce that is starting to better reflect the nation it serves.

Since its establishment in 1947, State Magazine, in its various iterations, has documented the Department’s many groundbreaking moments, at first sharing these individual and organizational achievements with Department employees in the form of a newsletter, later with the broader government community as a print magazine, and eventually with the general public in its current online format. This year, to celebrate 75 years of telling the Department’s stories, State Magazine will publish a series that highlights key moments in Department history, and some of the modern-day achievements made possible by the dedicated efforts of its employees over the past three quarters of a century.

State Magazine produced a retrospective on the publication’s print history in the final hard copy issue, Sept. 1, 2015.

Like the Department, State Magazine has evolved over the years. The current publication’s interactive, multimedia-focused website is a far cry from the original 8-page, hand-typed, monthly newsletter distributed via carbon copy beginning in March 1947. While early versions of the print publication were restricted to small internal audiences, today’s magazine reaches hundreds of thousands of readers each year thanks to its web platform. Digital distribution comes at a fraction of the cost of past print publications and provides a critical window into Department operations for a broader segment of society, including government leaders, members of the American public, and host-country nationals in the more than 170 countries where American diplomats serve around the world. 

As the Department adapts to new challenges in the 21st century, State Magazine will be there every step of the way, documenting and reporting on the work of those who advance U.S. foreign policy objectives through diplomacy. By recounting the everyday achievements of the Foreign and Civil Service and locally employed staff, State Magazine helps facilitate a better understanding of, and appreciation for, their vital work. This, in turn, can create new avenues for the fundamental work of diplomacy—dialogue and engagement, at home and abroad.

Isaac D. Pacheco is editor-in-chief of State Magazine.

Mapping Diplomatic History

The Office of the Geographer and Global Issues (GGI) in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research recently released the new U.S. Department of State Facilities and Areas of Jurisdiction, April 2021 world map…

Informing Civil Servants

In 2021, the Civil Service Association (CSA) celebrated 10 years as an officially chartered non-union employee association at the Department of State. CSA’s mission is to express views and share information to enhance the civil service…

The cover of the January 1980 issue of State Magazine (The Department of State Newsletter) shows a man and woman standing in front of a building in black and white.
In Brief: January 1980 – First Post of the Month

The U.S. Embassy in Sana’a, Yemen, is featured as the first Post of the Month in Issue 219…


“The Love of Liberty Brought Us Here.” These words, emblazoned across the top of Liberia’s coat of arms, embody the significance, and the contradictions, of a nation founded by Black Americans…

Bike Diplomacy 2.0

Anneliese Reinemeyer encountered outgoing U.S. Consulate in Busan Principal Officer David Jea riding his bike…

Maintaining Success

After two successful Lesotho population-based HIV Impact Assessments (LePHIA)—in 2016 and 2020—Mission Lesotho was able to gain a better understanding of how…

Marking Ten Years

“[Clean energy is] one of the most powerful ways that we can reduce carbon emissions. It’s also a huge potential source of jobs and growth [in] new industries, new products, and new…

Flashback: February 2001

Department of State employees crowd the C Street lobby to welcome 65th Secretary of State Colin Powell…

Secretary Blinken recognizes State Magazine milestone

Heartfelt congratulations to the publication’s editorial team, and sincere thanks for your ongoing coverage of the Department’s workforce on behalf of your State Department colleagues…

Important Legacy

Terence Todman served as U.S. ambassador to six countries: Argentina, Chad, Costa Rica, Denmark, Guinea, and Spain; he was also the first African American assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs (WHA)…

Lingua Franca

Every Foreign Service career is different, yet one experience remains shared among Foreign Service officers: the Foreign Service Institute’s (FSI’s) language test…

Flashback: March 1998

The contributions of women in society was the primary focus of State Magazine’s March 1998 issue…

Leading State

As the Department of State’s first Black secretary of state, Colin Powell led during a critical time that still reverberates in U.S. foreign policy and U.S. diplomatic engagement…

Flashback: April 2011

State Magazine’s April 2011 cover showcased the beauty of the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, located near Belmopan, as a teaser for…

Office of Refugee Admissions

In August 2021, the entire world was watching as the city of Kabul fell and the U.S. government undertook the largest humanitarian airlift in its history…

The Office of Foreign Missions

With a clear congressional mandate, minimal staff, seven domestic locations, and the ability to positively influence the lives and working conditions of U.S. diplomats around the world…

Future Vision

In support of President Joe Biden’s Executive Order on Transforming Federal Customer Experience and Service Delivery to Rebuild Trust in the Government, the Bureau of Consular Affairs (CA)…


With pristine white sand beaches, lush waterfalls, and misty, vegetation-covered mountains, the island of Jamaica’s natural beauty captivates the eye and attracts…

The Office of Marine Conservation

Affectionately referred to as the “fish office,” the Office of Marine Conservation (OMC) pursues United States conservation and economic objectives while navigating…

Indispensable Messenger

As the 64th U.S. secretary of state and the first woman to hold the position, Madeleine Albright faced the unprecedented global challenges of the post-Cold War era…

A Pet’s Journey

Thousands of pets accompany U.S. diplomatic personnel overseas, which comes as no surprise to those who cherish their furry family members. Dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, and even horses…


In a brand-new, gleaming all-glass building in northeast Brussels lies the new North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) headquarters. Home to more than 4,000 diplomats…


On the banks of the Danube River lies the historic city of Budapest, the so-called “Pearl of the Danube.” The city sits between the Budai mountains and the lowlands of Hungary…

System Update

The Department of State established the Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy (CDP) in April 2022 to advance national security, economic prosperity, and human rights…

Flashback: May 1981

The cover of State Magazine’s May 1981 issue highlighted the Department of State’s growing interest in using renewable energy at posts abroad…

Protecting Paradise

As the backdrop to a stunning array of flora and fauna, a diverse marine ecosystem, and the largest swath of untrammeled forest in the region, Belize is an ecological paradise…

Time Honored Tradition

Welcoming retirees and recognizing their service has been a time-honored tradition of the Department of State for more than five decades. Foreign Affairs Day…

Flashback: June 1978

The June 1978 edition (and 202nd issue) of the “Department of State Newsletter” belatedly acknowledged the publication’s 200th issue from two months prior…

Building Sustainability

Embassy Asunción’s Facilities Maintenance team and the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations’ (OBO) Asset Management and Transition Division harnessed innovative new…

Flashback: July 1962

Sandra F. Sheskin, featured on the cover of the July 1962 issue of the Department of State Newsletter (later State Magazine), impresses the Great Seal of the United States…

Expanding Opportunities

Domestic Employees Teleworking Overseas (DETOs) are direct-hire Civil and Foreign Service employees teleworking for domestic offices while accompanying a spouse overseas…

Flashback: August-September 1983

The cover of the August/September 1983 issue of “State: The Newsletter” shows, from left: Fire Protection Officer Eddie O. Smith and Russian Caretaker Victor Yashin testing…

Engaged Organization

Each year, in September and October, the Department of State’s community of Hispanic* employees come together to celebrate its rich and vibrant heritage…

Flashback: September 1972

Ambassador J. Raymond Ylitalo (back row, second from left) and Asunción Bi-National Conference (BNC) Director Wallace Keiderling (back left) appeared on the September 1972 cover…

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