This section of the website identifies some of the major organizations and institutions with which U.S. diplomats often interact in the course of their assignments, both in Washington and overseas.
In addition to those bodies for which specific information is provided, three broad categories of American citizens working abroad should also be noted: missionaries, business professionals and correspondents. As individuals and as members of key institutions, they represent an important constituency for services provided by U.S. embassies abroad.
Whether Catholics or Protestants, evangelical or non-evangelical, Christian or non-Christian, most of those Americans generally considered to be “missionaries” carry out their work with little direct contact with U.S. officials, except in cases where they need Consular services, an emergency situation exists or they are having disputes with local authorities. The Mission Resource Directory (http://www.mrd.org/index.htm#mrd-mo) links to several other directories with detailed, comprehensive lists of Christian mission groups, and CrossSearch (http://www.crosssearch.com/Ministry/Organizations/Missions/), a website that fosters communication between missions, lists 207 mission sites, filed alphabetically and by religion.
Business professionals: The American business community in a country is typically organized into an American Chamber of Commerce (“AmCham”) and looks to the U.S. mission for advice on local conditions as well as support for its objectives. Although Foreign Service Officers (FSOs) of the Department of Commerce Foreign Commercial Service (FCS) have primary responsibility for day-to-day assistance to American businesses in a given country, the entire mission, from the ambassador on down, gives very high priority to advancing U.S. commercial interests (see this website's section on Commercial Diplomacy). Most AmChams, of which there were 94 in 82 countries in 2006, are affiliated with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. More information can be obtained at the U.S. Chamber website (http://www.uschamber.com/international/directory/)
American correspondents abroad, representing U.S. print media (e.g., wire services, major newspapers and weekly magazines), the major broadcast and cable networks and web-based media, are in regular contact with the embassy in the countries in which they serve through the office of the Press Attache (or Spokesperson) within the Public Affairs Section (PAS). Whether locally based or visiting the country to cover particular stories, the journalists represent an important channel for keeping the American and broader international publics informed about local developments. PAS helps them obtain interviews and backgrounders (interviews that yield background information) with the ambassador and other embassy officials, and often arranges press conferences and exclusive interviews during high-level visits by senior U.S. officials. These services are also provided to other properly credentialed foreign correspondents (as well as local journalists) as appropriate.