Jessica LeCroy
Inst 211: A Life in the Foreign Service

Second Fall Term 2014, Wednesday, October 22 - Friday, December 5, 2014

1-credit hour, Z-graded. Meets once a week on Wednesdays, 4:00-5:30 pm in Honors 108. Croft students will earn 2000 Croft dollars. Open to students in the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and the Croft Institute. Enrollment capped at 12 students. No additional charge for students taking less than 19 hours in fall semester: cost is included regular tuition.

To register, select the "Second Fall Term" in the registration interface in my.olemiss and search for Inst 211.

Jessica LeCroy will focus on episodes from her 25-year career as a U.S. diplomat, particularly time spent in conflict zones, to relate experiences, debate lessons learned, and discuss with students links to current events and issues. Short readings (no more than 20 pages per week) will be assigned. Possibility of one short writing assignment – either preparing one-page talking points for a principal or drafting a 500-750-word op-ed. Possibility of some guest speakers via Skype/GoToMeeting.

Week 1. Context and Overview from Personal Perspective: Pros and Cons of Joining the Foreign Service. What the State Department and other foreign affairs agencies do. Relevance of the embassy structure.   Other (competitive) foreign affairs actors – Congress, the courts, NGOs, think tanks, the media, polling, etc.   The credibility factor.

Week 2. Nicaragua and the Contra War – a first assignment: One year of consular duties, one year as a human rights officer. The State Department annual human rights report and the role of human rights organizations – local to international. “Free and fair” elections and election monitoring. Handling disagreement with U.S. policy.   The current immigration debate.

Week 3. Georgia, a New Republic: Opening the first embassy in Tbilisi after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Forming a team, with fresh eyes. Monitoring assistance programs.   The trans-Caucasian oil pipeline. Corruption.   Frozen conflicts. Precedent for Ukraine.      

Week 4. Bosnia and a return to ethnic/religious conflict: Illiberal Democracy and a pivot from the election touchstone. The public affairs factor. The “partition” debate.    

Week 5. Iraq: The dysfunctional organization, inter-agency conflict: The National Security structure and strategy—what happened on 9/11. How not to do development and privatization.   Reverse engineering of current situation. Coalition building.

Week 6. Domestic Assignments and the Biggest War Zone Ever – Washington: Treasury Department and the purse strings, managing bilateral relations with the United Kingdom as a desk officer, negotiation teams. Crisis centers and counter-terrorism coordination.   Staff work and serving your principal/agency/U.S. interests.

A native Mississippian, Jessica LeCroy retired in 2008 as a Career Member of the U.S. Senior Foreign Service. She served overseas in Iraq, Georgia, Bosnia, the Netherlands, and Nicaragua. She was also National Security Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury from 2001-2003, attending the first Cabinet meeting with the President after 9/11; U.S. Consul General in Toronto, Canada, from 2004-2006; and Visiting Senior Fellow for Geoeconomics at the Council on Foreign Relations from 2006-2008. She has held an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship, working as a legislative assistant to Senator Bill Bradley and Congressman Howard Berman, and a Salzburg Seminar Fellowship in international arbitration. She has received multiple awards and commendations for public service. Since retiring, Ms LeCroy has worked as a senior advisor to a large Canadian law firm in Toronto and then founded the consulting firm Strategic Impacts in Dallas, Texas.

Ms LeCroy is a graduate of the University of Virginia, Boston University School of Law and the National War College.