By Ms. Sarah R Garner (SDDC)March 31, 2014
SCOTT AFB, Ill., March 31, 2014 -- Students at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville got to hear firsthand what it's like to be, and what it takes to become, a globetrotting Foreign Service Officer working for the U.S. Department of State Thursday as part of the campus' annual Global Awareness Week.
"Global Awareness Week presents SIUE students with a unique opportunity to engage various organizations with a strong international component, including the United Nations, the U.S. Department of State, the International Trade Administration, Monsanto Corporation, the Peace Corps, as well as our own SIUE faculty who have received Fulbright awards," said Ronald Schaefer, director of the Center for International Programs, and Distinguished Research professor, SIUE.
Dr. Phil Seitz, foreign policy advisor to Maj. Gen. Tom Richardson, joined six other foreign affairs experts from Scott Air Force Base, representing U.S. Transportation Command, Air Mobility Command and Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command at SIUE. Richardson is the commanding general of SDDC.
"I have a cool job. I work for the State Department; but I also am working for the U.S. Army, right now," said Seitz,"As a political advisor to a two-star general, I provide advice and counsel with regard to the political affairs information he needs to execute military operations, to include humanitarian missions. As a foreign service officer, I've traveled the world. I've lived in China, Germany, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Washington, D.C., and now, Scott AFB. There's nothing like living abroad. It's rewarding and challenging, but worth it; and you really appreciate the U.S. more and more when you get back each time."
Seitz and the other foreign policy experts described their roles in their current positions, their previous jobs at locations all over the world, their backgrounds before joining the Foreign Service, and what the requirements are to become a foreign service officer or specialist.
Other POLADS who participated in the SIUE event included Richard Nelson and Kwang Kim of USTRANSCOM, and Paul Harrison of AMC. They were joined by other foreign affairs experts from Scott, including U.S. Air Force Col. W.W. "Zeb" Pischnotte, deputy staff judge advocate at AMC; Mike Brogan, International Affairs, USTRANSCOM; and Lt. Col. Jinwook Lee, who is the liaison officer to USTRANSCOM from the Republic of Korea.
"SIUE was extremely pleased to have a team of Foreign Policy Advisors from Scott Air Force Base on campus for Global Awareness Week. Faculty and students alike benefited from their informative presentations. Perhaps most important, however, was the satisfaction shown by students when they had an opportunity for one-on-one discussion with a team member. I am confident our students will not forget this day," said Schaefer.