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Joan Polaschik, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, is the Acting Director of the U.S. Department of State’s Foreign Service Institute (FSI). Prior to being named as the Institute’s Deputy Director in September 2021, she had served in that role on an acting basis for a year while working concurrently as FSI’s Dean of the School of Professional and Area Studies. Before joining the FSI team in February 2020, Ambassador Polaschik served as a Senior State Department Fellow at Georgetown University’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, where she taught courses on U.S. diplomatic statecraft and North Africa.

Ambassador Polaschik’s career has focused on the Middle East and North Africa, with assignments as Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs (2017-2019) and U.S. Ambassador to Algeria (2014-2017). She previously served as Director of the State Department’s Office of Egypt and Levant Affairs; Director of the Office of Israel and Palestinian Affairs; Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S Embassy in Tripoli, Libya; Regional Refugee Coordinator based at the U.S. Embassy in Amman, Jordan; Political Officer in Tunisia; and other staff-level assignments in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. She also has served in Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan.

Ambassador Polaschik earned a BA from the University of Virginia and an MSFS from Georgetown University. She speaks French and Arabic, and some Russian and Azerbaijani.

U.S. Department of State

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