Fulbright Impact in the Field Alumni Panel: 75 Years of Public Diplomacy
Since its inception, the Fulbright Program has sought to promote international goodwill through the exchange of people from all backgrounds — recent graduates, teachers, scientists and researchers, artists, and more. In celebration of the anniversary of the Fulbright Program’s establishment on August 1, 1946, “Fulbright Impact in the Field: 75 Years of Public Diplomacy” will convene a panel of Fulbright alumni who make a difference by connecting peoples and nations. It will include recorded comments by retired U.S. Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering, followed by discussion of how the Fulbright Program impacts diplomacy and prepares participants for success in a diplomatic career.
Ambassador Thomas Pickering (1954 Fulbright U.S. Student to Australia)
Thomas R. Pickering is a retired U.S. ambassador. His decorated four-decade-long career in foreign service included ambassadorships in Russia (1993–1996); India (1992–1993); to the United Nations (1989–1992); Israel (1985–1988); El Salvador (1983–1985); Nigeria (1981–1983); and Jordan (1974–1978). Additionally, he served as Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs from 1997 to 2000. He holds the rank of Career Ambassador, the highest rank in the U.S. Foreign Service. He received a second master’s degree while a 1954 Fulbright U.S. Student at the University of Melbourne, Australia. Following Ambassador Pickering’s retirement, the U.S. Department of State Foreign Affairs Fellowship Program was renamed The Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship Program in his honor. The program continues Ambassador Pickering’s work, preparing outstanding young people for careers in the U.S. Foreign Service, including members of historically underrepresented groups. Ambassador Pickering joined the private sector as the Senior Vice President for International Relations and Executive Council Member for The Boeing Company, and continues working toward a more peaceful world through his involvement with various organizations including the International Crisis Group, the Council on Foreign Relations, and The Project on National Security Reform.
Edward J. Monster (1999 Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Belgium) – Moderator
Mr. Monster joined the U.S. Foreign Service in 2002 after completing a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Ghent, Belgium. He has served overseas in Bolivia, Kenya, Malawi, Poland, and South Africa. In Washington, D.C., he has completed assignments in the U.S. Department of State’s Operations Center and Bureau of Global Talent Management, as well as the White House Situation Room. He currently serves as a Policy and Planning Officer in the Office of the Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. Mr. Monster earned master’s degrees in national security strategy at the National War College and international studies at George Washington University, and a bachelor’s degree in foreign language education at Nazareth College.
Abeer Jarrar (2006 Fulbright Foreign Student from Jordan)
Dr. Abeer Jarrar is Partner, Corporate Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) and Capital Markets at Baker & McKenzie Habib Al Mulla. She has over 18 years’ experience in the Middle East, with a particular focus on equity capital markets. Having advised in recent years on some of the most complex and high-profile regional and international M&A transactions, Dr. Jarrar combines a profound understanding of the legal environment and the distinct business culture of the Middle East and their interaction with international market practice. She was previously Managing Associate, Corporate M&A at Linklaters based in the UAE, and Senior Associate of Corporate M&A at Clifford Chance. From 2002 to 2006, she was Third Secretary/Consul with the Embassy of Jordan in Washington, D.C. As a 2006 Fulbright Foreign Student from Jordan, Dr. Jarrar studied at Georgetown University, where she earned a Doctor of Juridical Science. She also holds a Master of Laws degree from the University of Kent and a higher diploma in diplomatic studies and negotiations from the Junior Diplomats Proficiency Program at the Jordan Institute of Diplomacy.
Ambassador Michal Mlynár (1998 Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program from the Slovak Republic)
Ambassador Michal Mlynár has been the Permanent Representative of the Slovak Republic to the United Nations in New York since August 2017, and is Vice Chair of the UN Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) for 2021. From 2015 to 2017, Ambassador Mlynár was Director General for International Organizations, Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid at the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic. He has served as the Slovak Republic’s Ambassador in Kenya; Chair of the Committee of Permanent Representatives (CPR) to UN-Habitat; and as President of the 25th session of the UN-Habitat Governing Council. Ambassador Mlynár holds a PhD and a master’s degree in applied linguistics and teaching foreign languages from the Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovak Republic. In 1998, he attended the University of California, Los Angeles as a Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program participant.
Kelley Whitson (2011 Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Malaysia)
Ms. Whitson joined the U.S. Department of State as a Foreign Service Officer in 2014 and currently serves as a Gender, Entrepreneurship, and Health Officer in the Bureau of African Affairs, Office of Economic Policy in Washington, D.C. Ms. Whitson previously worked as a Staff Assistant in the African Affairs Bureau, providing support to the Assistant Secretary, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, and the Deputy Assistant Secretaries. She also completed overseas tours in Copenhagen, Denmark and Monterrey, Mexico. Ms. Whitson holds a master’s degree in International Development from American University and a bachelor’s degree in International Studies from Spelman College. She speaks Spanish and Danish. As a 2011 Fulbright English Teaching Assistant, Ms. Whitson taught English to Malaysian students in Terengganu, Malaysia.