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Office of International Education and Development

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Phone  850.599.3295
Fax  850.561.2520

Office of International Education and Development
100 Lee Hall
Tallahassee, Florida 32307
Foreign Service Officer Michael Thurston: Diplomat In Residence, Southeast Region
The U.S. Department of State has assigned Senior ForeignMichael Thurston Service Officer Michael Thurston as Diplomat in Residence (DIR) for the Southeast Region of the United States. Although he will travel to universities throughout Northern Florida, Southern Alabama, Southern Georgia and Southern Mississippi, DIR Thurston is housed in Suite 305 of the Office of International Education & Development at Florida A&M University.

Prior to accepting this appointment, he served in Afghanistan as the Political Advisor and Senior Civilian to the Special Operations Joint Task Force/ NATO Special Operations Command. Previous posts include Mexico, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, South Africa (Durban), Ethiopia, Rwanda, Iraq, Australia and Burma. Thurston was the Chargè d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Burma (2011-2012) during a period of dramatic change when the embassy staff worked to intensify diplomatic engagement with the existing Burmese government implement a more democratic agenda showing greater respect for the human rights of its people. Several releases of political prisoners took
place and a fair election occurred resulting in the election of 1991 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Aung San Suu Kyi to Parliament. Kyi captured worldwide attention for her advocacy of democracy while a political candidate and leader of the National League for Democracy in Burma. She was placed under house arrest for almost 15 years. Because of the advances made in the country, the U.S. Embassy welcomed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on her 2011 visit to Burma, the first by a U.S. Secretary of State since that of John Foster Dulles in 1955.

A native of the Puget Sound area of the state of Washington, DIR Thurston completed his undergraduate study and law school at the University of Washington. Prior to entering the foreign service, he served as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Seattle. FAMU faculty are encouraged to utilize the international affairs experience of the DIR as a guest lecturer on topics related to how U.S. foreign policies are developed and implemented, issues impacting on U.S. relations in the Middle East, and careers with the U.S. Department of State. Graduates and young professionals are invited to explore careers as foreign service officers. The telephone number is (850) 599-3295 or 412-7072.