Jerica Lamar

Address at Texas A&M University on Foreign Service

delivered 15 April 2019, College Station, Texas

Audio AR-XE mp3 of Address


[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text version below transcribed directly from audio]

Thank you so much, Jack, for that wonderful introduction.

Good afternoon!

I'm Jerica Lamar. It is a privilege to be back in Texas an an alum of the Bush School [of Government and Public Service] at Texas A&M.


I've truly missed this place: the late night football games, Breakaway on Tuesdays, learning from real-world practitioners at the Bush School.

It's an honor to be back as a U.S. diplomat representing the United States Department of State, and to introduce our Secretary, momentarily.

Many of you may not know about careers at State. Growing up, I certainly didn't know any Foreign Service officers. But I did have parents that instilled in me a desire to serve, mentors that expanded my view of the world, and a deep faith that taught me to care about my neighbor.

And I have found a home at State.

Let me give you a brief window into what our work entails.

I started this adventure as a State Department intern and Robertson and [Thomas R.] Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellow.

My first assignment took me to the border at the U.S. Consulate General in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. There, consul officers worked to keep Americans safe by protecting and assisting them in Mexico.

When our constituents land in jail, I visit them.

When they lose a passport, we help.

We facilitate adoptions, and combat human trafficking.

I brief congressional delegations about our bilateral relationship.

And I, along with my colleagues' work, contributes to the economy by providing jobs and bringing investment back to America.  

But, as a former Peace Corps volunteer, I am perhaps most proud of my work with the youth in Juarez. I regularly work with young student leaders through our programs with the goal of inspiring and empowering them to make a difference in their community on social, economic, and health issues. It is truly rewarding work, and advances our diplomatic mission of creating a more secure, democratic, and prosperous world.

U.S. diplomats are a beautiful reflection of America, a community of families, individuals, military reservists, and people all committed to public service -- people with degrees in international affairs, law, nursing, creative writing; people like me -- married to a foreign service officer and naval officer; people who were once like you -- heard the call to serve and are now in every corner, every stretch of the world, involved in the foreign affairs issues of our day.

There is nothing like it. 

As the late President Bush once said: "Public service is a noble calling and we need men and women of character," like you, "to believe that [they] can make a difference" in your community, your state, and your country.1

If what I've described resonates with you, consider joining us. For the State Department needs more people like us, from our diverse communities with our unique perspectives on the world.

1 Bush, G. HW. (1997). A Shining Purpose: George H.W. Bush's Legacy of Service (inside cover). [Source:]

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