Careers in Communications and Foreign Policy

A Panel Discussion

How does a recent graduate in communications with an interest in international affairs combine these two fields? Professionals from prominent national think tanks and non-profits who have worked for years in both areas shared their experiences and took questions from the audience on how to successfully navigate the two areas and find jobs in them. The panel was moderated by Sean Aday, director of the Global Communication M.A. program.

Some of the advice they gave to graduate and undergraduate students were:

  • Mentoring. Find a mentor early, and do whatever you can for them. They will open so many doors for you. 
  • Be willing to do anything and for cheap.
  • Experience on the Hill/policymaking world is a plus, but not essential to working in communications.
  • When interacting with journalists, know they have the power in the relationship. Provide all of the information you can and respect their deadlines.

 

Panelists:

Neal Urwitz is the Director of External Relations at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). At CNAS, Mr. Urwitz is responsible for the organization’s media relations, online and digital presence, events, Congressional outreach, and multimedia content. He works on a daily basis with a wide array of media outlets, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Associated Press, CBS, NBC, and NPR among many others. Prior to joining CNAS, Mr. Urwitz served as a director at LEVICK, a public relations firm specializing in policy-related work, where he represented numerous defense contractors and Fortune 500 companies working on international matters. Prior to working at LEVICK, Mr. Urwitz worked the Washington office of Grayling, a London-based public relations firm, where he focused on issue and policy-centric PR. Mr. Urwitz has spent the majority of his career at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a large, Washington-based international policy and defense think tank, where he ran the organization’s day-to-day media relations. In that capacity, he set up thousands of interviews and wrote most of CSIS’ press releases and media advisories. Mr. Urwitz began his career as an intern in the office of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA). He received his bachelor’s degree in Religion and Government from Bowdoin College.

Lynne Weil is Public Affairs Director for the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, where she leads the organization’s efforts to educate the public on the importance of America’s engagement in the world.  Before joining the senior leadership team at the USGLC, Ms. Weil spent four years in the Executive Branch: two years with the U.S. State Department – first as Press Director and Spokeswoman for the U.S. Agency for International Development, then as a Senior Advisor for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs – and two years as Director of Communications and External Affairs for the Broadcasting Board of Governors.  Previously, Ms. Weil worked for the U.S. Congress for nine years: as a legislative fellow for Senator Ted Kennedy, as Press Secretary for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during and after 9/11, and as Communications Director for the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Prior to entering public service, Ms. Weil was a journalist for domestic and international media, including National Public Radio, The New York Times and the BBC.  She spent nearly nine years as a foreign correspondent, living in Germany and Italy and traveling throughout Europe, then returned to the United States to earn a Master’s in Public Policy at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.  She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Communications Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).