Ten years ago, National Geographic News reported a disappointing study about young American adults and geography. In spite of near constant news coverage about the war in Iraq, 63 percent of Americans aged 18 to 24 failed to correctly locate the country on a map of the Middle East. Seventy percent could not find Iran or Israel. Nine in ten couldn’t find Afghanistan on a map of Asia.

You certainly won’t find that kind of illiteracy among our Veterans. Deployed around the world, we naturally develop a global awareness. And that fortunately can translate into jobs for which we’re especially suited.

In February of this year, Secretary of State John Kerry, himself a Veteran, welcomed the first Veterans Innovation Partnership (VIP) fellows to his department. Kerry said the fellows will bring a unique way of looking at America’s foreign policy. Air Force Veteran Ben Shoaf, a member of the inaugural class, said the program is a chance for Veterans to take what they have learned performing military service and apply it to international affairs. Shoaf, who holds a master’s degree in international affairs from George Washington University, began working in the Office of Global Partnerships for the next year.

The VIP is a unique public-private partnership that will take advantage of the expertise Veterans can bring to international relations. Those chosen for the program have experience deployed in the Middle East, Asia and Europe. They all hold master’s degrees as well as a security clearance, and all want to continue their public service. When the fellowship is finished, the participants may be offered positions within the department.

VIP represents one of many innovative educational and employment programs that arise not only because of need, but also because we Veterans bring a lot to the table…including our knowledge of the world.

For details about Veterans Innovation Partnership, visit their web page.

If you’re ready to Join VA and become a part of the innovative solutions we provide our Veterans, search VA Careers now.

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Published on Jan. 1, 2016

Estimated reading time is 1.7 min.

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  1. Roosevelt Edwards Jr January 12, 2016 at 3:22 pm


  2. Bert Walker January 9, 2016 at 1:57 am

    Yeah…well…Dept. of State….all this talk about master’s degrees and security clearances and so on…sounds pretty cool, I guess, but isn’t all of this just kind of The Government re-labeling things and washing money around so as to kind of conceal it? I don’t know. To me, security clearance also implies ‘liar’, because now you’re working for some Entity that requires you to be dishonest and/or withhold information, which is kind of the same as lying, and you’re privy to this-and-that which is confidential and above and beyond, and then you’ve got people like whatshisname that now takes all that and decides to write a book, and…can’t we have smaller, more economical, more honest government that holds fewer secrets, a higher standard of public accountability, and basically re-administrates itself to the point where there aren’t events like Benghazi?

    For my money, if I was king for a day, I would take pretty much all of the state dept. money, invest it in a website that was for public relations around the world, and invite the rest of the world such that wanted to do business with The Government to join the 21st century and open up a browser window and do their thing that way. And, take all the money saved, and do something REALLY intelligent, by investing in alternative energy, so as to make the US a fully energy-independent country, and probably save substantial defense dollars in the process because no more multi-decade oil wars. Also, invest in ocean/undersea mining, because there’s a lot under the ocean that contains innumerable and undiscovered riches, minerals, precious metals and so forth, but also ‘mining’ the motion of water itself to help end our chronic dependency on petroleum with hydropower in all its available forms. That’s what I would do, so I guess I’ll never rate being one of the fancy folks in the picture. That’s OK, though, they can keep that action as far as I’m concerned. Blessed be, and please don’t start any more wars that we’ll have to find out about The Hard Way. Thanks for the college degree, drive safe and all that!

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