A Few Minutes with Joëlle Uzarski

U.S. Foreign Service Officer and CPD's 2020–22 U.S. Diplomat-in-Residence Joëlle Uzarski shares about what it's like to teach USC students, learn from them and more. This feature was included in CPD's 2020–2021 Annual Report. View this and other stories here.

Q. What has surprised you about teaching students? 

A. The students are more mature and sophisticated than I had predicted. Some of the concepts we discuss in class are rather complex, and initially, I thought that it might be necessary to simplify some of the material. I also was surprised by how easily it seemed that they adapted to an exclusively online learning environment. 

Q. What have students taught you? 

A. Listening is one of the most important tools of public diplomacy. As I listened to the students, I learned that one of their greatest concerns is the environment. This is a priority issue for me as well, so I designed a research project and am building a repository of best practices and lessons learned from successful environment advocacy and outreach programs around the world. I hope these data will prove useful to them. 

Q. What’s your message to students interested in pursuing a career in public diplomacy? 

A. Participate in an exchange program and/or host an exchange student. Get to know the international people in your community, and ask them about their experiences, cultures and observations. Study history and geography, and get a command of at least one foreign language. These things—along with an open mind and an open heart—will prepare you well for one of the world’s best careers.

The U.S. Public Diplomat-in-Residence program is a joint agreement between CPD and the office of the U.S. Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, which offers a one-year detail assignment for a Senior Foreign Service Public Diplomacy Officer to teach in the USC Master of Public Diplomacy program, engage in individualized program research and provide outreach to the academic community on matters related to public diplomacy.


Visit CPD's Online Library

Explore CPD's vast online database featuring the latest books, articles, speeches and information on international organizations dedicated to public diplomacy.