Bureau of Public Affairs
Office of Public Liaison
Office of South African Affairs
Westchester High School, Los Angeles, CA: When the students of Westchester High School in Los Angeles were assembling to meet former alumnus Lois Aroian, they probably did not expect to hear that this petite woman has faced a coup d’etat, a civil war, the shooting of a U.S. Embassy employee, and been evacuated twice from posts overseas. She has braved adversity and danger -- all part of her job serving the United States as a Foreign Service Officer for the Department of State.
Now Ms. Aroian is stationed in Washington, DC where she is the State Department’s Deputy Director of the Office of South African Affairs. But since she joined the Foreign Service in 1984, her job has taken her to South Africa, Nairobi, Zambia, Malawi, Damascus, Beirut, Casablanca, Quebec City, and the Caribbean.
Ms. Aroian spent several hours with the students, taking questions and explaining the duties, training and education that goes into becoming a Foreign Service Officer. Her career has been one of international study and travel. She taught Middle East history at the University of Ilorin in Nigeria and is still a Research Associate at the Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies at the University of Michigan.
She studied at the National War College and worked for the U.S. House of Representataives as a Congressional Fellow of the American Historical Association.
Ms. Aroian is one Westchester High student who has gone the extra mile in understanding the complexities of international affairs for the United States. Perhaps one day, Westchester High will see more of its students embarking on their own careers of travel, intrigue and service to the United States.
Feature story from Westchester High School newspaper "The Comet" (above).
Collage of photos from Westchester High School students (below).
Released on October 18, 2002