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Representing America around the world

Jack Bisase standing on a balcony on campus

Jack Bisase, ’11, loves helping others, and as a diplomat in the U.S. Department of State, he gets to do it every day. 


The international studies graduate found his niche in the Foreign Service and is passionate about representing American interests around the globe. Currently assigned to the American Embassy in the Dominican Republic, Bisase has done everything from securing visas and reuniting family members to assisting Americans abroad who have lost passports or even been arrested. Some of what he does is routine; much of it is life-changing. 


Bisase is the son of Ugandan refugees. His parents left their homeland under the reign of dictator Idi Amin. “The fact that the U.S. was willing to take in and house refugees and take care of people who are in difficult situations around the world was critical to my path,” said Bisase. “It is why I’m here and a big motivating factor in what I do every day. In a sense, my life has come full circle.”


His path became clear after taking a “Global Issues” course taught by Nancy Soderberg, a distinguished visiting scholar at UNF and former American ambassador to the United Nations. Just prior, he had worked in the consumer travel division at American Express, where he was exposed to international travel and global matters. At the same time, I was discovering an interest in public service and politics,” Bisase said. “The combination of the two was an awakening of sorts.”


Soderberg told Bisase he had the talent to do whatever he wanted, but suggested that he move to D.C. and get a graduate degree. It was researching how to pay for his graduate degree that ultimately led him to his current job.


Bisase was awarded the prestigious Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship, an award from the U.S. Department of State, which funds graduate school while preparing recipients for the Foreign Service. He ultimately earned a master’s degree in international relations from American University in 2015, completing two internships in the State Department prior to graduation.


Bisase will soon begin preparations for his next journey. His duty in Santa Domingo ends in August, and he will return to D.C. to prepare for his new assignment in Laos. He’ll spend a year learning the language and preparing to serve as the deputy public affairs officer in Embassy Vientiane working in public relations and promoting educational and cultural exchanges.


“We want people to experience American culture, and Americans to experience different cultures when they are traveling abroad. It builds mutual respect,” said Bisase, who pointed out the critical role the Foreign Service plays in the nation’s security.  


“The better we understand each other, the better we all get along.”