The University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy invited Lou Finter, a U.S. Department of State diplomatic mission alumnus, to a hybrid information session held Tuesday afternoon at Weill Hall to discuss student careers and internship opportunities. bottom.
Fintor joined the Department of Foreign Affairs, the branch of the US Department of State responsible for foreign policy, in 2002, serving as spokesperson for US embassies in the Middle East, South Asia, and Europe. Fintor currently serves as the diplomatic mission for the North Central Region, which consists of Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky.
During the session, Fintor explained the process of joining the State Department and introduced opportunities to students interested in the field. Fintor highlighted internships at embassies around the world, including the U.S. Department of State Student Internships, Pathways Program, and Virtual Student Federal Service Internships.
“[A virtual Federal Service internship]allows you to do projects like English training at an embassy, where you can work with a group of students from that particular country in human rights monitoring (and) free speech monitoring. You can meet (and do the curriculum) really, the sky is the limit,” said Fintor.
Fintor then discussed the many steps to becoming a Foreign Service Officer, including the annual Foreign Service Officer Examination (FSOT), which covers topics ranging from international economics to U.S. history. If you pass the exam, you will become an incoming officer and you will be invited to an event called Flag Day, where you will learn about your assigned country by receiving that country’s flag.
In an interview with The Michigan Daily, Fintor said he was happy to be back in college.
“I was away for about 30 years after graduating from undergraduate school,” says Fintor. “I’m really happy to be home again. I’m happy to be back.”
To succeed at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Finter said it was important to draw from one’s own life experience and to be intellectually curious. The experience left an impression on him, he said, which led him to success.
“[The impression]has guided my career,” Finter said. “Indeed, what I learned, something I never forgot here, continues to guide my life.”
He also said that since he graduated, the university has taken an interest in international affairs and expanded opportunities for students to participate in programs abroad.
“Since I was a student, the university has done a great job expanding opportunities for students, especially in areas such as international affairs,” said Fintor. “I think this is a really exciting time for students.”
Eddie Weber, a public policy graduate student, told The Daily in an interview that he attended the information session because he wanted to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the public policy school.
“When I saw this[event]… I was very excited to talk to him to get to know the more personal side of being a diplomat and working for the State Department and federal agencies,” Weber said. I got
Weber said the briefing sparked his interest in working as a diplomat.
“I loved[the briefing],” Weber said. “I was lucky enough to get office hours with Diplomat Lou, so at 1:40 he would meet with him for 20 minutes and just ask him questions about what he had written down[in the session].”
Sheriff Almacchi, a public policy graduate student who also participated in the information session, said in an interview with The Daily that he was interested in meeting Fintor because he wanted to work in the fields of human rights and immigration. Almacchi said his job as an intern at the State Department over the summer also interested him in the briefings.
“I thought it would be very beneficial to attend this conference to see the long term perspective, how this structure works and what a career in this life might look like. said Almacchi.
Almacchi also said he appreciates that the School of Public Policy accepts individuals who draw from their own experiences to illustrate what a career in international affairs is like.
“It’s one thing to look at the State Department website and think, ‘Well, there’s this test and these evaluations and these examinations,'” Almakki said. “But you don’t always know what that means until you try it, or hear someone say it to you.”
Daily News reporter Ji Hung Che can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.