Jaimee Macanas Neel was born in Kahuku, Hawaii, and is proud of her Hawaiian, Chinese, Filipino and Scottish heritage. She joined the Foreign Service in 2006 as a public diplomacy officer because she wanted to combine a career in public service with her love of global travel and language learning. Her overseas posts include Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Shanghai, China. After completing her Arabic language studies this summer, Ms. Neel’s next assignment is Cairo, Egypt.
Ms. Neel is the recipient of the 2005 Secretary of State Award for Outstanding Volunteerism Abroad, in recognition for her work with a Brazilian orphanage. She also received a Meritorious Service Award for her mentoring of local staff in Shanghai, China.
Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Ms. Neel was an inner-city school teacher with Teach for America. She taught in the Anacostia neighborhood of Southeast Washington, D.C. and in the South Bronx in New York City.
Ms. Neel holds a Juris Doctor and a Bachelor of Arts from Brigham Young University and speaks Mandarin Chinese, Arabic, and Portuguese. She also recently completed an ALM in History at Harvard University, where her thesis research focused on a Hawaiian immigrant community in Utah from 1889 to 1917, of which several residents were her Hawaiian ancestors.
Ms. Neel is married to a fellow Foreign Service Officer.