CISS Careers Team Hosts: "Bureaucrat or Changemaker? The Realities & Rewards of Government Service"

Date & Time Feb 11 2021 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Carissa Gonzalez
Lesley Chavkin
Laurie Freeman
Audience Restricted to Princeton University

Please join the Center for International Security Studies for a conversation with three career public servants, whom have each contributed to U.S. national security in their fields. Panel members will share their personal experiences in government service and take questions on the unique opportunities and challenges of a life in government service.

Carissa Gonzalez, '07 MPP *21, is a U.S. Foreign Service Officer with over a decade of service throughout the Middle East, Latin America, and Washington. Serving in Yemen during the Arab Spring as the Political-Military Affairs Officer, she analyzed security, terrorism, and tribal affairs, and was the primary U.S. Department of State liaison to the Yemeni and U.S. military. She has received numerous U.S. State Department awards, including commendations for ensuring American citizens’ safety in the midst of the revolution in Yemen. The Council of American Ambassadors selected her as a Davis Fellow (2014-2015) for “demonstrated superior leadership, character, and potential to become a leading communicator for the U.S. government.” Most recently, she served as the Chief of Public Affairs and U.S. Embassy Spokesperson (2016-2019) in Qatar during an unprecedented diplomatic standoff in the Gulf, where she served as the U.S. Embassy’s principal interlocutor with the world’s largest Arabic media network Al Jazeera and oversaw public messaging for all seven U.S. federal agencies operating in Qatar. Carissa speaks Arabic and Spanish, and her research interests include the role of media and technology in identity and narrative formation, network theory, and national security decision-making.

Lesley Chavkin is currently an International Economist in the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of African Nations.  She previously served as Financial Attaché to Qatar and Kuwait from 2017-2020.  In this position, she advised officials on a range of macroeconomic and Anti-Money Laundering/Countering Terrorism Financing issues across the region, and has represented Treasury before foreign counterparts, multilateral organizations, private sector contacts, and within the U.S. government interagency. Prior to this role, she was the senior policy advisor for Iraq, Syria, Turkey, and Jordan.  Before joining Treasury, Lesley worked as an economic analyst.  Lesley holds a Master’s in Development Economics and International Security from The Fletcher School at Tufts University and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Affairs from the University of Washington.

Laurie Freeman, MPA *08, is the Deputy Director in Counter Terrorism’s (CT) Office of Programs, which is responsible for designing and managing the Department’s programs to build civilian criminal justice capacity to counter terrorism globally.  She joined the Department of State in 2009 as a Presidential Management Fellow and has served in the Bureaus of Political-Military Affairs, International Narcotics and Law (INL) Enforcement Affairs, Near Eastern Affairs, and Conflict and Stabilization Operations, with details to Embassy Sana’a as a political officer, Embassy Tunis as the INL Director, and the National Security Council (NSC) as Director for Yemen.  Laurie holds a Master's in Public Affairs (MPA) from Princeton's School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA), and a bachelor's degree in Latin American Studies and Spanish from Duke University.

***Please note this session will be offered under Chatham House Rules (i.e. "off-the-record")  in order to encourage an open environment to share perspectives and career advice.  None of the speakers'  remarks represent the official view of the U.S. government or their current agencies.***

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