Keynoter & Panelist information and transcripts
Please find below the bio information of keynoter Ambassador Thomas A. Shannon and the eight conference panelists, as well as transcripts of their respective remarks during the November 3 conference "The Last Three Feet: New Media, New Approaches, and New Challenges for American Public Diplomacy".
Keynote address: Ambassador Thomas Shannon, U.S. Ambassador to Brazil
Ambassador Thomas Shannon is currently the U.S. Ambassador to Brazil. Prior to Brazil he was Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the National Security Council, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Western Hemisphere Affairs at the Department of State. He was also the U.S. Deputy Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States (OAS), Director for Inter-American Affairs at the National Security Council, Political Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela and as Regional Labor Attaché at the U.S. Consulate General in Johannesburg, South Africa. Ambassador Shannon graduated with high honors from the College of William and Mary. He then studied at Oxford University, where he received an M.Phil in Politics and a D.Phil. in Politics.
Panel I: Image and Information in the Muslim World
Rachel Graaf Leslie most recently served as the Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Manama, Bahrain. Her previous assignments include Saudi Arabia and Syria. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Ms. Leslie worked as a Program Manager at the Institute for International Education. She also studied Middle East politics on a Rotary Scholarship at the American University in Cairo. Ms. Leslie holds a BA in Political Science from Iowa State University and an MPP from the University of Maryland. She is currently on leave from the State Department pursuing a degree in Religious Studies at the University of Chicago.
Walter Douglas is currently at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) after serving as Minister Counselor for Public Affairs in Pakistan. His overseas assignments include Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Cyprus, Iceland, South Korea and the Ivory Coast. He worked as Executive Assistant to the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs; Director of the Office of Press and Public Diplomacy in the Near Eastern Affairs Bureau at State; and as Deputy to the spokesperson at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. Before joining the Foreign Service, Mr. Douglas worked as an advertising executive in New York and as a legislative assistant in the U.S. House of Representatives. He has a BA in history from the University of Pennsylvania.
Elizabeth McKay is Director of the Office of Press and Public Diplomacy in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs at the Department of State. With over 25 years in the Foreign Service she has served in public diplomacy positions in India, Thailand, Laos, Costa Rica and Turkey, and was the Director for Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs at the U.S. Mission to Mexico. Subsequently she served as the Deputy Director for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement’s Office of Africa, Asia and Europe. She is a graduate of the National War College.
Aaron Snipe is Deputy Director for Press and Public Diplomacy and Spokesperson for the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs in the Department of State. He recently returned from Iraq, where he served as the Deputy Spokesperson at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. Mr. Snipe also served as the Public Diplomacy Officer (PDO) and Spokesperson for the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Muthanna Province, Iraq and served as the first PDO in the Department's newly-formed Office of Iranian Affairs. Mr. Snipe also served as Watch Officer in the Department’s Operations Center and as a Consular/Political-Economic Officer in the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia.
Panel II: Innovative Approaches to Engaging with Youth
Dr. Michael Anderson was a member of the Foreign Service for almost 30 years, serving in Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Pakistan and Papua New Guinea. He is currently outreach coordinator for the Third Round of the China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue. Prior to the Foreign Service, Dr. Anderson worked as an instructor in journalism at the University of Minnesota, a journalist in Minneapolis-St Paul, an information officer with UNICEF at UN Headquarters in New York, and a Peace Corps Volunteer in Malaysia. He has a PhD in Political Science from the University of Hawaii/East-West Center, and a MA and BA in Journalism/Mass Communication from the University of Minnesota.
Bea Camp is currently on a State Department detail to the Smithsonian Institution as Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary for History, Art and Culture, after heading the U.S. Consulate General in Shanghai. She has also served overseas in Thailand, Hungary, and Sweden. In Washington, Ms. Camp managed international information programs for Europe, coordinated educational exchange and advising programs worldwide. Before joining the Foreign Service she worked as a reporter and editor in Washington, DC and New York City and taught English at Chiang Mai University on a fellowship from Oberlin College’s Shansi Association.
Jean A. Manes is the Director for Resources for the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. With over 19 years with the State Department, she has served in a variety of public diplomacy positions and as Principal Officer in the Azores. As Cultural Affairs Officer in Brazil she focused on the utilization of the 38 Binational Centers in the country and the development of a six-year English teaching strategy in advance of the World Cup and Olympic Games in Brazil. She has a Masters degree in International Management from The American University.
Bruce Wharton is the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy, Bureau of African Affairs, following service as the Director of the Office of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs and Deputy Coordinator of the Bureau of International Information Programs. Mr. Wharton also served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala, and on assignments in Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Guatemala. In Africa, he has also had temporary duty in Tanzania, Nigeria, Kenya, and Ghana. He is a graduate of the University of Texas in Austin. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, he worked in professional theater in the Washington, D.C. area.