April is National Arab American Heritage Month (NAAHM) and celebrates the heritage, culture, and contributions of Arab Americans. This month, the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs will highlight Arab Americans in our bureau advancing U.S. foreign policy and national security efforts in the United States and across Europe. This effort is a part of a broader campaign celebrating diversity and inclusion as core American values.
Throughout 2021, EUR will highlight the diversity of Americans serving in the bureau. Please check back here throughout the month as we spotlight our outstanding colleagues in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs.
Jamal Al-Mussawi is the Chief of the External Affairs Unit in U.S. Embassy Berlin’s Political Section. Prior to his current assignment, Jamal was the Chief of Staff/Special Assistant to Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Wess Mitchell, and then to Acting Assistant Secretary Philip Reeker. Jamal also served as the Political-Economic Counselor in Muscat, Oman; a Political Officer in Bratislava, Slovakia; a Consular and Political-Economic Officer in Bridgetown, Barbados; and as a Political Officer in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Before joining the U.S. Foreign Service in 2005, Jamal worked for three years at the U.S. Department of State’s Foreign Service Institute, where he designed and implemented courses on human rights, counterterrorism, political-military affairs, and foreign policy for the institute’s Political Training Division. In 2014, Jamal founded the Arab Americans in Foreign Affairs Agencies (AAIFAA) Employee Affinity Group and served twice as AAIFAA’s chair. He is currently an adviser to AAIFAA as well as Mission Germany’s Diversity and Inclusion Council. Born in Basrah, Iraq, Jamal was raised and educated in the United States, Egypt, and the UK. A seemingly constant foreign language student, Jamal has studied (and speaks to varying degrees) Russian, Slovak, Arabic, and German.
Hazel Cipolle is the Desk Officer for Southern Europe in the Office of Press and Public Diplomacy. Hazel’s Lebanese and Syrian heritage sparked her love for the Arabic language and led her to study international culture and politics at Georgetown University, where she became interested in international education issues. She managed a non-profit workforce and higher education development program that bridged colleges in the United States and countries of the Middle East and North Africa for several years before joining the Department of State in 2014. Her Foreign Service postings include as Cultural Affairs Officer for the Tunis-based Libya External Office, Public Diplomacy Officer at U.S. Embassy Tunis, and at U.S. Embassy Cairo. Hazel is a native of New Hampshire and brings her love for language, dance, and the outdoors into her work.
Marlo Cross-Durrant joined the Foreign Service in 2012 and is a public diplomacy-coned officer. As the daughter of Jordanian immigrants, she grew up speaking Arabic and also speaks Spanish. Her first tour was at the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia as Deputy Cultural Attaché for the first year and Consular Officer the second year. In the Riyadh public affairs section, she led the Embassy’s youth outreach and women’s empowerment portfolios, including formulating a cultural exchange program to train Saudi female candidates to run for municipal elections for the first time in the history of the country. She served as a Policy Officer in the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, reporting on the opioid crisis. While in Mexico City, she also served as Special Assistant to the Ambassador on a temporary assignment. Currently, she is a Press Officer in the Bureau of Global Public Affairs – Office of Press Relations, responding to U.S. and international media queries on all foreign policy issues. She has undergraduate degrees from the University of Michigan and a Master’s degree from Georgetown University. Her next tour will be as a Desk Officer in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs.
Anissa joined the Foreign Service early in life. A happy Eligible Family Member with a newborn child, she had not planned on entering the career, but destiny decided otherwise. Her Foreign Service husband was killed while on assignment and Anissa was thrust into a new chapter of life. Since the early 80’s she has served in numerous posts, mainly in Europe and the Middle East. She and her son traveled the world together, learning so much about other civilizations, religions, languages, and cultures; she wouldn’t trade these experiences for anything in the world. Her son was educated in American schools all over the world and is now a practicing doctor who speaks multiple languages and who has an amazing open mind. Anissa tried to retire from the Foreign Service back in 2008, but she keeps coming back. She loves her life and wants to do nothing else.
Meghan Clare Marone Hawkins
Meghan Clare Marone Hawkins is an Assistant Community Liaison Officer at U.S. Embassy Tbilisi. After earning her Master’s degree in autism and developmental disabilities studies, she worked in the United States supporting children and their families through clinical and non-profit work. Meghan is a military spouse who is passionate about assisting service members and their families and has volunteered at every post where her husband has been stationed. She is a tired but proud mother of two toddlers and excited to travel the world with her family.
Rebecca Jabarov is a Foreign Service Specialist who joined the State Department in 2012. She is currently serving as the Office Management Specialist to the Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Lisbon. Prior to joining the Department, she lived in Los Angeles for ten years where she had a career in the Entertainment field, working behind the scenes to set up various television shows and films. Her Foreign Service sister convinced her to join, as she knew she’d love the fast-paced life of a diplomat. She has previously served in Turkey, Tanzania and Azerbaijan.
Kareem Jamjoom joined the Foreign Service in 2007 and currently serves as the Management Officer in Embassy Podgorica, Montenegro. Kareem speaks Montenegrin, French, Italian, and Arabic. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in international politics from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in Washington, DC and a Master of Arts degree from the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. Kareem loves cooking, traveling, and spending time with the amazing friends he has made around the world.
Adham Loutfi was born in Cairo, Egypt and moved with his family to California’s San Francisco Bay Area at a young age. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, and a Master’s Degree in International Administration from the School for International Training in Brattleboro, Vermont. He then spent 12 years directing semester abroad programs for U.S. university students in Africa, Asia, Australia, and Europe before joining the Foreign Service as a Management Officer in 2004. He has been posted in Bangladesh, France, Washington, Montenegro, Tokyo, Afghanistan, and Dublin, and currently serves as Management Officer for the U.S. Joint Mission to France. He feels fortunate that his wife and two sons are also enthusiastic participants in the Foreign Service lifestyle.