A tragic loss for the US Foreign Service, Anne Smedinghoff worked with another young BYU diplomat in Caracas–the first to post about this on Facebook on Saturday:
Sam Hopkins, a lawyer and a friend of Ms. Smedinghoff’s from her college days, described her as a “very focused very disciplined and very calm” woman who had breezed through a panoply of examinations to enter the Foreign Service at an unusually young age.
On her first posting to Caracas, he said, she expressed strong desire to leave the embassy compound and plunge into the city’s gritty, often dangerous streets.“She said she wanted to get a car and drive around,” Mr. Hopkins said. “She had no fear.”As a public diplomacy officer, Ms. Smedinghoff was on the front lines of an effort to move Afghanistan beyond its decades-long struggle with war and oppression to a place where women might walk openly in the streets and where children, including young girls, might go to school.
It is a job fraught with dangers and frustrations that have been compounded as the United States, along with its NATO allies, has shrunk its military footprint. Bases have been scaled back and ground and air transports reduced, meaning less security for development work.