|Current Job:||Career Foreign Service Officer at the U.S. Department of State|
Johnny Jones is a career foreign service officer with the U.S. Department of State currently based in Washington, D.C., in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. Jones most recently served at the U.S. Embassy in Paris, France, from 2014 - 2016, after previous overseas assignments in Islamabad, Pakistan from 2012 - 2013, Cairo, Egypt, from 2010 - 2012, and Baghdad, Iraq, from 2008 - 2009. Before his first overseas posting, Jones worked on issues pertaining to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from 2006 - 2007. His diplomatic career has primarily focused on political developments and counterterrorism issues in the Middle East and North Africa. Jones is a 2002 graduate of the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at Georgia Tech and a 2005 graduate of the Georgia State University College of Law in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a member of the State Bar of Georgia, a term member at the Council on Foreign Relations, and is proficient in French.
How did Tech and the Nunn School help you get where you are?
Georgia Tech and the Sam Nunn School provided me with a solid theoretical and practical foundation so that I could continue to learn and adapt to foreign policy challenges related to my job as a foreign service officer. I think that the Nunn School provides the right balance so that students are challenged to focus on current political and economic issues without forgetting about the historical or cultural context of each issue. It is just as important to focus on international relations theory as it is to focus on, for example, practical applications of international security policy. The Sam Nunn School provides opportunities for students to be very good at the fundamentals of international affairs and to expand on individual student interests through additional courses in political philosophy, science and technology, and of course foreign languages.
What advice you would give current students at Tech as well as the Sam Nunn School specifically?
Tech and the Nunn School encouraged me to get involved in activities related to the things I was interested in doing in the future. I participated in the Brussels study abroad program, which was an excellent experience living and traveling in Europe while studying EU and NATO decisions that were being made from Brussels at that very moment. There are several organizations on campus that need your support and leadership to accomplish their objectives, particularly International Affairs-related activities like Model UN or other International Affairs student organizations. The Nunn School also encouraged me to pursue internships and fellowships that were interesting and provided opportunities to network with academics or think tanks that were already working on various foreign policy issues. Get to know the Nunn School faculty and find mentors that can advise you on some of your ideas. Stay in contact with your professors and tell them what you are interested in for the future. Read everything you can and arrive to class prepared to talk about the subject of the day. Participate in every team or group activity and constantly revise and edit the papers that you are working on for your courses. Show that you are detail-oriented and always cite your work so that you are giving proper credit for the information you gathered during your research. Although your own opinions are interesting, your greatest impact will be from the factual perspectives of experts you have gathered through empirical research.
What is something that you got from studying International Affairs at Tech?
Studying International Affairs at Tech provided me with an opportunity to refine my career ambitions and gave me a passion for the work I do now. Tech challenged me to work hard, to prepare and study the subject matter that I was working on, and to network and get involved to make a contribution to the field of international affairs. I received support from the Nunn School faculty long after graduation in the form of advice, letters of recommendation, and ideas for foreign policy goals and objectives. I have been fortunate enough to keep in touch with my professors and mentors and I look forward to interacting with fellow Nunn School alumni on a regular basis. Enjoy every day you have in the Sam Nunn School and take advantage of every opportunity. It won't be long before you look back at your experience and remember all of the tools that you were given to do your job well. People know that when they hire Georgia Tech International Affairs grads, that they are getting someone who understands theory and history, is factual and professional, is well-read, briefs well, writes clearly and concisely, has passion and enthusiasm for international affairs, and above all else, works hard and helps others.