Bureau of Public Affairs
Office of Public Liaison
By Stephanie Gehring, Staff Writer
[Reprinted with permission of Southtown Star, Chicago, Illinois granted August 27, 2008]
As a kid, Robert Doyle III would spend his summers reading history books to find out what happened after World War II.
"History class always ended after World War II," he said. "Even from high school, I was always interested in history."
For the next 10 months, Doyle, 29, a native of Chicago's Mount Greenwood community, will put his study skills to work as he trains for a two-year tour in Egypt with the U.S. State Department.
"I'll be learning Arabic and taking history and culture classes about the Middle East," Doyle said. "This is my first entry into Middle Eastern culture and history. It's absolutely fascinating."
His first year in Egypt, which begins in April, will be spent in a political/consular rotation. During the first year, he will help Americans in Egypt in need and conduct passport services. Doyle will spend his second year reporting on political and cultural events in Egypt.
"I'll talk to a lot of people in Egyptian society and report back to Washington about what Egypt is really like," he said.
He was back home in Chicago last week with his wife, [State Department Note: Name withheld], to visit family and friends and take in a White Sox game before moving to Washington, D.C., for 10 months of training, then on to Cairo, Egypt, for two years.
Doyle, who joined the U.S. Foreign Service in 2005, spent the past two years in Mexico City. He spent much time interviewing Mexicans who wanted visas to travel to the United States, then worked as a staff aide to U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Antonio Garza Jr.
"I kind of got a bird's eye view of what the U.S. is doing abroad in Mexico, seeing how relationships are formed," he said.
Doyle did not set out to pursue a career in foreign service. After graduation from Yale University, he worked as a fundraiser for Yale and considered law school. But he received an e-mail about the Foreign Service in 2002 and decided to take the exam.
He and his wife married about six weeks before they left for Mexico City, Doyle said.
One of the challenges of life in the Foreign Service is ensuring that the Foreign Service officer's spouse is happy and feels fulfilled in his or her career, Doyle said.
While in Mexico, his wife, an occupational therapist, was able to teach a course online through Boston University. While the couple is in Egypt, [State Department Note: Name withheld] will work on her doctorate.
"She has a master's degree and career ambitions," he said. "We've met it head on and made it work. We feel so fortunate."
Doyle and his wife spent time traveling in Mexico City and outside of the capital. They hope to travel extensively while in the Middle East, too.
Eventually, Doyle could take advantage of opportunities to pursue an advanced degree, a fellowship or work in private industry while still employed by the state department.
"There is a lot to look forward to. It's not just living overseas and living an exotic lifestyle," he said.
But while overseas, the avid Sox fan says he misses seeing his team play but counts it among the small sacrifices for living overseas.
"The return you get for living overseas, just having that experience, is so unimaginably cool, it's worth it," he said.
"People who are happy in foreign service are people who look at everything as an adventure."
Released on June 9, 2008