Foreign Service Officer in Geneva: Casey Addis ’04
Casey Addis ’04 came to Converse from nearby Gaffney, South Carolina, with the intention of winning a spot of Converse’s award-winning Model Programs team. She accomplished that goal and many more during her college career, and after graduation, she earned her MA at University of Texas in joint programs in the LBJ School of Public Affairs and the Center for Middle East Studies. She is a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State. She just returned to Washington, DC after two years with the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. After completing language training in the nation’s capital, her next assignment is a State Department representative in Iraq.
Casey says, “I have been lucky in my first assignment to work on key U.S. foreign policy priorities–including Syria, Libya, LGBT rights, and the list goes on. The best part is really the people. I work on our delegation to the UN Human Rights Council, and when I meet the brave men and women — journalists, advocates, human rights defenders — who work in really dangerous places to try to improve the human rights situation for everyone, I am humbled. It is really rewarding to work to serve them and to serve the United States. I also work with some of the most motivated, talented people in the world. I went to Tripoli, Libya last summer on a temporary assignment to help out when our Embassy was short-staffed. I was fortunate to know and work for the late Ambassador Chris Stevens. His death was a tremendous loss for the United States, the foreign service, and the Libyan people, but I am really fortunate to have known such a great person.”
I remember a professor telling me ‘you don’t go to college to become something (doctor, lawyer, teacher, etc.). You go to college to find out who you are.’ I was lucky enough to leave Converse knowing exactly who I am.
She believes her Converse education prepared her for a demanding career as an American diplomat. “I left Converse after four years feeling accomplished and confident. Converse was exactly the right place for me. I think it was everything, the ‘Converse Experience’ (so cliche) but I really had the best friends and professors, a challenging academic life and a fulfilling personal life, and many opportunities that I might have missed at a bigger school or a different school. I remember a professor telling me ‘you don’t go to college to become something (doctor, lawyer, teacher, etc.). You go to college to find out who you are.’ I was lucky enough to leave Converse knowing exactly who I am. The women’s college experience prepared me for life in the ‘real’ world by giving me the confidence to try just about anything, and to be content in success and in failure as long as I know I gave it my all. I still set really big goals for myself and sometimes I even meet them. You never know unless you try.”
“My advice for students who are looking for a career in international relations is to go for it! It is a rewarding, challenging career. Moving every few years and signing up for ‘world-wide availability’ means you never know what’s next, but if you have a sense of adventure (and a sense of humor), and you want to work in foreign policy, this is the front line. On a practical note, the application process can be long and unpredictable, so apply and then go on with your life. Don’t put your other plans on hold during the application process.” Casey works hard, but she takes time to play as well. She says, “When I was not working, I made the most of living in Switzerland. Traveling in Europe and Skiing the Alps! My next assignment is in Baghdad, Iraq where I’m sure my hobbies will be quite different!”