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
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
relations from American University in 2015, completing
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
“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