State Department official to speak on public diplomacy

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A U.S. State Department official will speak to Dr. Malcolm Koch’s International Relations class at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 19, in 33 Business Administration Building.

Michael McClellan, a recruitment and outreach officer with the Office of Recruitment, Examination, and Employment, will discuss topics such as public diplomacy, career opportunities, and current issues related to the State Department.

Though McClellan is speaking to a class, Koch said the public is invited to attend the speech.

According to a background information sheet, McClellan served with the U.S. Information Agency and the State Department for three decades.  He served as a public diplomacy officer in Yemen, Egypt, Russia, Serbia, Germany, Kosovo, Ireland, Iraq (twice), and Ethiopia.  He also served as deputy chief of mission in South Sudan.

He was also a diplomat-in-residence at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He retired with the rank of minister-counselor in 2014.

McClellan’s work in public diplomacy, often as the official embassy spokesman, focused on press and media.  He was spokesman in Kosovo following the NATO bombing campaign and later in Iraq following the U.S. military withdraw in 2011.

As a diplomat, McClellan is fluent in Russian, Arabic and German, as well as some Serbian and Albanian languages.

McClellan’s proudest accomplishment in the Foreign Service was establishing the American University in Kosovo.  It opened in 2004 and continues to educate Kosovo’s youth from all communities.

A native of Kentucky, McClellan holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Political Science from the University of Louisville, and a Master of Arts in Photojournalism and International Relations from Syracuse University.  He also completed doctoral studies in International Communication at Indiana University.

McClellan has maintained a lifelong interest in photography and religions. He has written a book on Egypt’s Coptic Church monasteries, which is being published by the American University in Cairo Press.  He also has conducted extensive outreach on Muslim-Christian interfaith understanding during several foreign assignments.

Later in his career, primarily while working in Africa, McClellan promoted organic and sustainable farming and Appalachian culture.

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