Tuesday Oct. 27, 1:00 – 2:30pm, Register here
Global Journeys is a series of panels with distinguished UVA alumni and current students. In each panel, the guests will share their global experiences and career paths. Students will hear firsthand about various industries, how to prepare for them, and how they can make the most of their UVA experience.
In the Careers in International Diplomacy and Public Policy panel, UVA alumni panelists will share insights about how the experiences they pursued at UVA prepared them for careers in the international public policy sphere and the U.S. Department of State. These alumni panelists are eager to encourage UVA students to pursue their interests in international public policy and foreign service careers. Two panelists are working in public policy in the UK and Chile, respectively. Three of our panelists have had careers in the U.S. foreign service working around the world. Of these three, one is also a Marine reservist and two are classmates who didn’t know each other at UVA but connected while serving the U.S. Department of State abroad.
The panelists are:
Catalina Cecchi (CLAS ‘09, GSAS ’10): Catalina has more than 10 years of professional experience, Master in Sustainable Development Economics (Ecole Polytechnique of Paris) and a double major in Anthropology and Environmental Sciences at UVA. She recently worked in the teams of the UN Climate Conference (COP25) Presidency and the Climate Champions, managing climate action contents and raising ambition of various stakeholder groups, supporting discussion on the use of Article 6 in Chile and promoting the country's green hydrogen strategy. She has managed a range of portfolios in the energy industry including the Energy Commune Program at the Ministry of Energy of Chile, BHP (mining), and Deloitte in France.
H. Alexander Henegar (CLAS ’97): Alex was commissioned as a Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. Department of State in 2005. He has advanced U.S. political and economic interests on assignments in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Afghanistan, the Dominican Republic, and Croatia, where he currently serves as Chief of Political and Economic Affairs at U.S. Embassy Zagreb. In Washington D.C., he focused on conflict issues in the Middle East and North Africa and was a Senior Watch Officer in the State Department Operations Center. Alex began his public service as a Marine Corps Officer on active duty, and he remains a lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve. He has commanded up to the battalion level and has served in combat and on training and security cooperation missions in the Middle East, Africa, Southeast Asia, and throughout Europe. In addition to a B.A. from UVA, Alex has a M.A. from Georgetown University and speaks Croatian, Spanish, Dari, and limited French. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Marine Corps Association Foundation. A native of Tennessee, Alex is married with three daughters.
Jessica Housden (CLAS ‘09, MPP ’10): Jessica is currently Deputy Head of Unit for the Digital Strategy team in the United Kingdom government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, where she has also worked on digital trade and COVID-19 economic response policy. Prior to that, she served in the Department for Exiting the European Union for two and a half years to deliver on the UK’s Brexit referendum to leave the EU. She began her public service career in the Office for Gas and Electricity Markets working on European and renewable energy policy. Jessica is a proud graduate of UVA’s College of Arts and Sciences and a member of the second graduating class of the Batten School. She is a British citizen who attended UVA as an international student and is always delighted to reconnect with the UVA community.
Stephen Thompson (CLAS ’71): During his Foreign Service career of 30 years, Stephen focused primarily on international finance and trade issues at posts in South America and the Middle East. His other assignments included positions in the bureaus of Western Hemisphere Affairs (WHA) and Economic and Business Affairs (EB) as well as advisor to the Board of the Export – Import Bank of the United States. Following his State Department retirement in 2002, Stephen had a second career in financial services with firms in Washington, D.C. and Phoenix, Arizona. He serves on the Board of Governors of the DACOR Bacon House Foundation, an international affairs organization in Washington, D.C. He lives in Charlottesville, Virginia. He also has degrees in economics and finance from Stanford University, and Georgetown University.
Amb. Ashley Wills (CLAS ’71): Raised in Mississippi and Georgia, Ashley matriculated at UVa in 1967. He graduated in 1971 with a major in Government and Foreign Affairs, and joined the Foreign Service in 1972. He served successively in Romania, South Africa, Iran, Barbados, Yugoslavia, Belgium, India and Sri Lanka. In his last two posts, he was Deputy Chief of Mission in New Delhi and Ambassador in Sri Lanka and the Maldives. His Washington assignments included an academic year, studying economics at Johns Hopkins, three years as Officer-in-Charge of the South Africa Desk, and three years as Assistant USTR for South and Central Asia. He retired from State in 2006 and worked for several years for an international law firm, WilmerHale, and then as a business consultant. He was married for 46 years to Gina, a Sweet Briar grad, who passed away in 2019. They have two children, Zachary and Olivia.
This panel will be moderated by Ankita Satpathy (CLAS ’19), a Business Analyst at McKinsey & Company. She graduated from the University of Virginia's Politics Honors program in 2019 with a B.A. in Foreign Affairs and Government. She then completed an. M.A. in Global Affairs at Tsinghua University in Beijing, where she was a Schwarzman Scholar focused on U.S.-China relations. Ankita has interned with the U.S. Department of State, the Miller Center of Public Affairs, and IDInsight, a global development organization.
Sponsored by: University Advancement, UVA Global, and International Studies Office