Peter Brown ’01, J.D., recently began a two-year assignment abroad as an information officer for the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi Arabia. He has worked throughout the region in public diplomacy and public affairs since 2011, and is currently working in the press unit of the public diplomacy section overseeing the Embassy’s social media and traditional press team.
“The public diplomacy section handles press and public affairs and also administers the U.S. Government’s exchange and cultural programs,” explains Brown. “I spent the past year in Baghdad, where I oversaw a team that dealt with the U.S. Mission to Iraq’s social media presence – mainly on Facebook. Roughly 14 million Iraqis use Facebook so it is important for the U.S. Government to do outreach on that platform.”
Brown explains that he’s working in a similar capacity in Riyadh, but oversees both the social media team and the traditional press team. Brown has lived and studied abroad for the majority of his career, also serving as an assistant public affairs officer for the Department of Diplomacy at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon.
After graduating from HWS, he joined the Peace Corps and served in Romania, and later in Johannesburg, South Africa. Since then, he says he’s focused on learning about new places and peoples.
“Living and working in a foreign country is one of my favorite aspects of my career with the Department of State,” he adds. “Getting to learn about and experience foreign cultures while representing the U.S. is interesting, exciting and rewarding.”
Brown’s affinity for Foreign Service was nurtured throughout his time at HWS. An American history major with a minor in the public policy of development, Brown notes that his professors were influential “perhaps more than they know” in his career path.
“It really is amazing how interrelated their specific subjects and classes were and how each of them contributed to my understanding and navigation of the world,” says Brown, who dabbled in a number of subjects before deciding on his major.
Brown also notes that his activities outside the classroom were “seminal” in forging his career path. He was active with the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning, the community service theme house and the America Reads program. He also helped to plan the annual HWS Day of Service, and worked for President Emeritus Mark D. Gearan, L.H.D. ’17 – an experience he credits as a key factor behind his decision to join the Peace Corps.
“I really cannot stress enough what a unique and special place HWS is and what an exceptional opportunity it was – and still is – to be part of the HWS community,” Brown says. “I encourage all HWS students to take advantage of the opportunity to learn about something seemingly unrelated to their major or planned career.”