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#PolicyProfile: Kate Johnston MPP '23

Apr 14 2023
By Brittany N. Murray
Source Princeton School of Public and International Affairs

“After receiving my graduate degree from King's College London, I traveled through the Middle East, from Istanbul through Turkey, Syria, Jordan, the OPTs, and Israel to Tel Aviv. I fell in love with the region and always wanted to return. I had that opportunity when I started working for the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO). My first job in the FCDO was managing the Conflict, Security and Stability Fund for the Middle East, which supported countries at risk of conflict, experiencing conflict, and post-conflict reconstruction.

The war in Syria had started by then and was starting to dominate the entire region. I worked with colleagues across the Middle East, supporting countries like Lebanon and Jordan receiving Syrian refugees. I visited refugee camps in Jordan and saw local organizations' work to bring refugees and host communities together in Lebanon."
Kate Johnston MPP ’23

A few years later, I moved to Istanbul to oversee the UK’s program of non-humanitarian aid to Syria. It was an incredible place to live, and I worked with many inspiring people who were determined to help their communities. Soon after I started, Russia entered the war, altering the balance significantly, and now it’s much harder to see how peace and freedom will prevail for the Syrian people. My most recent job, which I finished last spring, was as the British Deputy Head of Mission in South Sudan. I worked with an amazing team at the Embassy who oversaw the provision of health and education to thousands of people across the country and supported the implementation of the peace agreement. Although being based in Juba wasn’t always easy, I saw so much potential in the country and the people I met. After almost ten years in the FCDO, I wanted to take a step back from day-to-day problem-solving and have the opportunity to think about the big issues. I'm enjoying studying again, and I’ve met so many people at SPIA, each with loads of different experiences, and I’ve had the opportunity to learn from some incredible professors.”

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