Whitman was Foreign Service Officer in the United States Information Agency and Department of State, serving in Europe, Africa, and Haiti. A practitioner of public diplomacy, he currently serves on the board of the Public Diplomacy Council.
Previously he was Fulbright professor of English language and American literature at Marien Ngouabi University in Brazzaville, Congo, and taught French language and literature at Thayer Academy, Boston University and Brown University. He has served on the faculty of American University since 2009. He was president of Virtual Educa in Washington DC, an affiliate of the international education institute seeking educational alternatives in Latin America. He is the author of books on Haiti, European stringed instruments, public diplomacy, cultural exchange between South Africa and the United States. His latest on Congo-Brazzaville is currently in press and will appear in February, 2020, with New Academia Publishers. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, Foreign Service Journal, Ba Shiru, Research in African Literatures, State Magazine, and Parabola.