Skip to content

At this panel event moderated by Public Diplomacy Fellow Emilia Puma (at right), Foreign Service Officers shared their experiences on maintaining a balance with work and life as they represent the United States in different parts of the world.

With varied experiences from length of service, to the regions served, job functions, personal and family needs – six Foreign Service Officers spoke on what they had to consider when making the choice to join, and continue, with a career that never “rests”. They shared how they surmounted those challenges and also enjoyed the benefits that came with the job.

The audience of students and a handful of former diplomats participated in the lively discussion.

Emilia Puma introduces the panel of foreign service officers speaking on how they balance their lives with the commitment to a  near-24/7 career.

 Emilia Puma (in yellow) with Rumsfeld Fellows visitng the U.S. State Department


Public Diplomacy Fellow, 2018-2019

Emilia A. Puma is the GW Visiting State Department Public Diplomacy Fellow for the 2019 – 20 academic year.

Ms. Puma is a 28-year veteran of the U.S. foreign service.  She holds the rank of Minister Counselor.  Ms. Puma began her career in the former United States Information Agency (USIA), where she held positions in Public Diplomacy offices in New Delhi, India; Tegucigalpa, Honduras; Calcutta, India; and Bridgetown, Barbados.

In 1999, USIA merged with the U.S. Department of State. Since then, Ms. Puma has held overseas positions as Olympics Coordinator in Turin, Italy; Cultural Affairs Officer in Ottawa, Canada; Public Affairs Officer in Pristina, Kosovo; Cultural Affairs Officer in Rome, Italy; Public Affairs Officer in Madrid, Spain.

Ms. Puma's domestic assignments include tours in International Narcotics & Law Enforcement Affairs; the Office of the Coordinator for Assistance to Europe in the Bureau of European Affairs; Office Director for Press & Public Diplomacy in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs; and Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Central Asian Affairs in the Bureau of South & Central Asian Affairs.  She also served as foreign policy advisor (POLAD) for the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force.

Ms. Puma holds a B.A. in English and French literature from the University of Pennsylvania; a M.A. in English literature from UCLA; and a M.A. in French Literature from Columbia University.  She is originally from Philadelphia, and remains a diehard fan of the Philadelphia Eagles!

Public Diplomacy Fellow, 2018-2019

Karl Stoltz is the GW Visiting State Department Public Diplomacy Fellow for the 2018 – 19 academic year. He joined the Foreign Service in 1986 and has served in Washington, D.C., Europe, Africa, East Asia and the Pacific.

Before joining GW's Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication, Karl served as director of the State Department Office of Citizen Exchanges, located in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs from 2016 to 2018. He led a 50-person team overseeing the State Department’s cultural and artistic, sports, professional fellow and high school youth exchanges worldwide, including major exchanges of young entrepreneurs from Latin America, the Caribbean and Southeast Asia.

Karl also served in Washington, D.C. as director for public diplomacy in the State Department Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs from 2008 to 2010 and as regional exchanges coordinator in the same region from 1995 to 1997.

Overseas, Karl was deputy chief of mission, the second-ranked position, at two U.S. embassies — in Copenhagen, Denmark from 2013 to 2016 and in Yangon, Myanmar from 2005 to 2008. In the former, he was also responsible for U.S. relations with Greenland and the Faroe Islands, two regions closely linked to global climate change issues today. In the latter, he helped guide the U.S. through a time of severe regime repression and fostered the democratic forces that are playing a greater role in the country today.

Karl served overseas as minister-counselor for public affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria, South Africa from 2010 – 2013 and the embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 2001 to 2005. In South Africa, he helped establish the African Regional Media Hub, engaging journalists across the continent, and several Young African Leaders programs. In Malaysia, he launched six American Corners in provincial centers and a new Fulbright English Teaching Assistant program that has brought hundreds of American college graduates to Malaysian schools to teach students in remote locations.

Karl was also cultural attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia from 1998 to 2001, during that country’s transition to democracy. He was a public affairs officer in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea from 1992 to 1995, where he helped manage U.S. relations with the nations of Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, and in Wellington and Christchurch, New Zealand from 1987 to 1989, where among other duties he served as the spokesperson for the U.S. Antarctic Program.

His first appointment as a Foreign Service officer was as an assistant press attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, Russia from 1990 to 1992, working primarily with Russian media during the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Karl will return to Moscow in summer 2019 to serve as minister-counselor for public affairs, working closely with the U.S. ambassador to Russia to manage media, educational and cultural relations with the government and people of Russia.

Karl has a B.A. in Russian Studies and History from the University of Virginia and has done graduate study at Middlebury University and the National Foreign Affairs Training Center. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Karl worked for Capital-Gazette Newspapers in Anne Arundel County, Maryland.

He is married to Tania Garry, originally of Wellington, New Zealand. They have one son, Ryan, who is an undergraduate at Wake Forest University, and a 15-year-old cat who has a Ph.D. in human psychology and a M.Sc. in litter box management.

Public Diplomacy Fellow, 2017-2018

Robert Ogburn has held the title of Minister-Counselor for Public Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul since September 2014.  He joined the U.S. Foreign Service in 1987 and has served in Iraq, Korea, Vietnam, Washington and Egypt.

Prior to Seoul, Robert was Deputy Consul General at the U.S. Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City from 2011-2014.  In 2009-2010, Robert was the State Department’s senior advisor for rule of law at the US Embassy in Baghdad, where he focused on inter-agency and provincial coordination of the Mission’s rule of law efforts.  Robert has held five previous jobs in Korea, including Spokesman and Counselor for Public Affairs.

Robert was also press and cultural attaché in Ho Chi Minh City (2001-2005); briefing coordinator and Middle East/South Asia program officer for the Foreign Press Center in Washington, D.C.; and Deputy Embassy Spokesman in Cairo.  In addition to serving in Iraq, he considers his career highlights to be re-opening the USG’s diplomatic post in Busan, Korea in 2007; running White House Press Filing Centers during Presidential visits to various countries; and, from 2001-5 bringing some of the first cultural and performing arts programs to southern Vietnam since the end of the War.  In Seoul he has been the chairman of one of the world’s largest binational Fulbright Commissions, and he also introduced the State Department’s first-ever FabLab Fellow and other innovative sports and cultural diplomacy programs.

Robert has an MA in East Asian Studies from the George Washington University (’85) and an MBA from Johns Hopkins University (’04).  Raised in Anne Arundel and Prince George’s Counties MD, he graduated with honors from the University of Maryland Baltimore County’s Interdisciplinary Studies Program (’82).  Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Robert worked in broadcasting, investment banking, and law enforcement.  Robert was adopted from Korea to American parents and is married to Thu-hang Ogburn (CCAS ’83); they have two children, Calvin (CCAS ’12) and Calista (high school senior).

Public Diplomacy Fellow, 2015-2016

Thomas Miller is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service. Until recently, he served as Minister-Counselor for Public Affairs at the U.S. Embassy Berlin, a position he has held since November 2012. Previously, he was the Mission Director for Strategic Communications at the American Embassy Islamabad. Before that, Mr. Miller served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Athens as well as Chairman of the Fulbright Board.

Mr. Miller served as Counselor for Public Affairs in Athens, Greece, as well as in Nicosia, Cyprus (2005-2008), Assistant Cultural Affairs Officer in Ankara, Turkey (2001-2005), Office Director for English Language Programs (1999-2000), Chief of the English Language Programs Division (1997-1998), Chief of Materials Division (1996-1997), Assistant Cultural Affairs Officer Paris, France (1992-1996) and in Islamabad, Pakistan (1995-1998) and was Regional English Language Officer in Rabat, Morocco (1998-1992).

He received an M.A. in English as a Second Language and a B.A. in German and Anthropology from the University of Minnesota. Mr. Miller was a Fulbright Scholar in Karachi, Pakistan, where he launched a Master's Degree in English as a Second Language. His foreign languages are German, Hindi, Urdu, Greek, French, and Turkish.


Public Diplomacy Fellow, 2014-2015

Patricia Kabra is a career member of the senior Foreign Service with the rank of minister-counselor and the Public Diplomacy diplomatic fellow at the Institute of Public Diplomacy and Global Communications. Ms. Kabra has over twenty years of diplomatic service in the Middle East and at the Department of State in Washington, DC. She has been posted overseas as a Public Diplomacy Officer in Damascus, Jerusalem, Doha, Tunis and Cairo. In Washington, she served as Deputy Director for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs in the Near Eastern Affairs Bureau at the Department of State. Throughout her career, she has managed strategy for public diplomacy and public affairs, including press activities; strategic messaging; cultural and educational exchanges; projects and grants. Her most recent position before joining IPDGC for the 2014-15 academic year was at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo where she served as the Public Affairs Counselor.

In addition to government service, Dr. Kabra previously taught History, Philosophy, Humanities, Sociology, English, and Islamic Studies to undergraduate students at Woodbury University in Burbank, Calif. and the Los Angeles Community College system.

Patricia Kabra received a Ph.D from the University of California Los Angeles in the History of the Middle East; an M.A. from Pennsylvania State University in the History of the Middle East and Africa; and B.A. from Penn State in Philosophy and Fine Arts. She has received numerous awards over her career, including State Department awards for superior and meritorious service, as well as a civilian Department of Defense award. She speaks fluent Arabic and French. 


GW is committed to digital accessibility. If you experience a barrier that affects your ability to access content on this page, let us know via the Accessibility Feedback Form.