How do you prepare for a career in public diplomacy?

There was a lively discussion in June (primarily) among the "old guard" of public diplomacy sparked in large part by one blogger commenting on another's lament. The result was a one-of-a-kind discussion posted here on the blog titled "Debating the Theory vs Practice of Public Diplomacy". The discussion was deeper and better than most any you'd find at a conference today on the subject of public diplomacy. The conversation included (in no particular order) Bill Kiehl, Bill Rugh, Hans Tuch, Bruce Gregory, Yale Richmond, Len Baldyga, Doug Wilson, Kristin Lord, John Brown, Craig Hayden, Jack Harrod, Mike Schneider, Pat Kushlis, Brady Kiesling, Donna Oglesby, Dick Virden, Cynthia Efird, Jim Callahan, Greg Garland.... and now "Rachel", who wrote:

As someone who is intensely interested culture and not necessarily policy, I have found the idea of graduate school incredibly daunting. In today's climate, it is extremely difficult for a recent graduate to enter their chosen career path, and more and more jobs require at least a master's degree if not many years of work experience. What sort of educational programs would be beneficial for those wishing to enter the field? I agree that academia is not the only component in PD, but for those of us looking to get our foot in the door, the degree can weigh more than our skills.

Is public diplomacy, as John Brown put it, "a down-to-earth, all-too-human activity"? Checkout the discussion if you missed it: Debating the Theory vs Practice of Public Diplomacy.