June is Pride Month, which commemorates the anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising in New York City in 1969 and celebrates the contributions of LGBTQI+ people. This month, the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs will highlight LGBTQI+ Americans serving in our bureau and 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 continue to 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.
Originally from Eugene, Oregon, Nathan has been a Public Diplomacy-coned officer with the Department since 2010. Since 2018, Nathan has worked as the Special Assistant in the Executive Office of Embassy Paris, providing substantive support to the Ambassador and DCM and coordinating the work of Mission France’s 42 sections, offices, and constituent posts. Before Paris, he was a Press Officer at Embassy Kabul focused on social media and A/V content creation. Nathan also previously worked in the International Organizations Bureau’s Office of Specialized and Technical Agencies as a Desk Officer; in Beijing as a Consular Officer and as a Staff Assistant in the front office; and in Vienna as the Assistant Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Mission to International Organizations. After completing his assignment in Paris this summer, Nathan is headed to Berlin, where he will first work for a year on detail at the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs before joining the Culture and Exchanges team in the Embassy’s Public Diplomacy Section. A graduate of Columbia University, Nathan was a magazine editor and writer at Hearst and Conde Nast Publications before deciding to pursue his dream of a career in diplomacy. Outside of the office, Nathan is passionate about cooking, tennis, Welsh corgis, and exploring the world with his husband of 22 years.
Dick Custin is the Counselor for Public Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin. He previously served in Baghdad, Ottawa, Washington, Kabul, London – including a year at the UK Foreign Office – Warsaw, and Pretoria. He has been a member of the affinity group glifaa (LGBT+ pride in foreign affairs agencies) since joining State in 1998, and has often served as the organization’s representative at post. Before joining the State Department, Dick worked in television news as an anchor, Emmy-winning reporter, and producer.
Justin Dahse is an Assistant Community Liaison Officer (CLO) at U.S. Embassy Madrid. After serving six years in the U.S. Air Force, he returned to school and earned his bachelor’s degree in biomedical science. He is currently furthering his dream of pursuing a medical career by working on his master’s degree in public health. Justin is also a military spouse who is passionate about green initiatives and volunteering in community activities. As the assistant CLO he provides resources to transitioning families, listens to the needs of others with compassion, and understands the importance of morale building events. Justin has taken a special interest in communicating with the mission to help decipher its needs. In times of celebration or times of crisis, he has created an environment where each individual feels welcome and appreciated. In his free time, he enjoys hiking and traveling with his husband and their dog, Patton. He has a fascination with mycology and wild food foraging which he has effectively integrated into his job as the CLO.
Master Sergeant Richard G. Hiort is the Operations Noncommissioned Officer, United States Defense Attaché Office, Embassy of the United States, Madrid, Spain. As Operations Noncommissioned Officer, Sergeant Hiort provides technical, administration, and logistical support as well as coordinates diplomatic clearances for U.S. Air Force aircraft and U.S. Navy vessels with Spanish officials. He currently promotes community engagement within mission Spain as the co-chair for the Diversity and Inclusion Council. Sergeant Hiort entered the Air Force in September 2008. He began his career as an Avionics Technician and has served in various technical, management, and leadership positions including Electronic Warfare section chief. Additionally, Sergeant Hiort has served as an Honor Guard team leader at numerous bases ensuring proper funeral honors and military ceremonies were executed with integrity.
Chad Houghton is career Foreign Service Officer currently serving as the deputy press officer in Warsaw, Poland. Prior to his current assignment, he served as a staff assistant in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs and Cultural Affairs Officer in Rangoon, Burma. Chad’s first post in the Foreign Service was in Monterrey, Mexico where he met his husband and where they welcomed their dog, Prue, to the family. Before joining the Foreign Service, he worked in the private sector for over 15 years culminating in a job managing the digital and technology division for the world’s largest HR association. Chad is a graduate of the University of Florida.
Michael is a career U.S. Foreign Service Officer with over 20 years of experience at State. He is currently the Deputy Director of the Office of South Central European Affairs, the central policy office for the seven countries of the Western Balkans. Michael previously served as Counselor of Embassy for Management Affairs at U.S. Embassy Skopje, North Macedonia. Before joining the staff in Skopje, he was a Regional Management Officer for the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs. His previous assignments include a mix of management, economic, political, and consular assignments at U.S. Embassy Cotonou, Benin, the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv, Israel, U.S. Embassy Gaborone, Botswana, and U.S. Embassy Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Michael has twice served on the board of glifaa (previously, Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies), most recently in 2012-13 as the Vice President for the Department of State. He has been passionately involved in other Department Diversity & Inclusion and EEO initiatives. Michael graduated from Tulane University with a B.A. in Political Science and from the West Chester University of Pennsylvania with an M.B.A. and Certificate in Business Analytics. Before joining the Foreign Service, he worked in the fields of law, pharmaceutical marketing and healthcare. Michael is a native of Los Angeles, but now calls Washington, DC and New Orleans home. Michael is married.
Jake Nelson is a political officer currently serving as the desk officer for the European Union. In this role, he supports U.S. engagement with the EU and advises senior officials in Washington and at U.S. embassies across Europe on EU institutional affairs and EU foreign policy. Most recently, he was a political officer at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, where he focused on Germany-China relations and covered Germany’s 2019-2020 term on the UN Security Council. Previously, he was vice consul at the U.S. Embassy in Algiers, where he was also the glifaa post representative and was selected as a finalist for the Department’s Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Award for his work training the embassy community on equal employment law and developing new EEO outreach materials in French and Arabic. He received an MA in European studies from Yale University and a BA in French studies from the College of William & Mary. He is a 2020-2021 Atlantic Council LGBTI in Foreign Affairs Fellow and a recipient of the Thomas R. Pickering Graduate Foreign Affairs Fellowship. He speaks French, German, and some Arabic.
Ms. Lee is the Consul General in Thessaloniki, Greece. She is a career member of the Foreign Service with fourteen years’ experience as a foreign policy leader, manager, and negotiator. Previous assignments include the U.S. Embassies in Seoul and Baghdad, the former U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem, the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York City, and the Israel and Palestinian Affairs Desk at the State Department in Washington DC. She is proficient in Greek, Korean, and Hebrew, and has studied Arabic and Spanish. She is from California and is accompanied by her Golden Retriever, Pumpkin, aka Kolokithoula. She was the President of glifaa (LGBT+ Pride in Foreign Affairs Agencies) from 2018-2019.
Joe Mellott is the Counselor for Public Diplomacy at U.S. Embassy Madrid, currently serving as the Acting Deputy Chief of Mission, and has also served in Serbia, Libya, Afghanistan, at NATO in Belgium, Bangladesh, Australia, Albania, and Mongolia. He’s also had several tours in Washington and studied at National Defense University’s Eisenhower School. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, he worked for the Civil Service at USIA, and in the private sector, including managing his own internet consulting firm in Australia. Joe has a Master’s degree in National Security and Resource Strategy from National Defense University, an MA in German and European Studies and a BS in Foreign Service from Georgetown University, and a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. He speaks German, Russian, French, Serbian, Albanian, Spanish, and Bengali. Joe has two adult sons and is also an Ironman triathlete and a lifelong motorcycling enthusiast.
Kevin Rosier is a Foreign Service Officer currently serving as the Macroeconomic and Finance Advisor at the U.S. Mission to the Organization of Economic and Development Cooperation (OECD) in Paris, France. Kevin joined the Foreign Service as a Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellow in 2006 and has served previously in Chiang Mai, Thailand; Taipei, Taiwan; Beijing, China; and Washington, DC. He has also worked previously at the Harvard Business School and the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. Kevin received a B.S. in international economics at Georgetown University and has masters degrees from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (Tufts University) and Johns Hopkins University. Kevin speaks French and Mandarin. He serves as the Paris Post Representative for Glifaa, the Department’s LGBTQI+ employee affinity group. Kevin hails from New Orleans, Louisiana and is joined in Paris by his husband.
Emily Teickenson is the Consular Chief in Bratislava, Slovakia. She joined the Foreign Service in May 2013 and has also served in Sao Paulo, Brazil and Kyiv, Ukraine. She learned to love consular work as an intern at the Embassy in Kyiv during graduate school. Emily is in Slovakia with her wife, who teleworks to her job at USAID in Washington, and their 7 year-old daughter. Prior to joining the Dept. of State, Emily worked as a management consultant, TV producer, and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ukraine. She has a bachelor’s degree in Russian and Film Studies from Smith College, and a master’s degree in International Security Policy and Eastern European Studies from the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Columbia University. Emily is originally from Boulder, Colorado and loves alpine skiing, Slavic language linguistics, the Green Bay Packers, and the Washington Nationals.
Patrick R. Wingate is a U.S. diplomat working on consular and refugee/migration issues. Patrick’s husband and their two children proudly serve the American people and represent the LGBTQI+ community every day.
Luke joined the State Department Foreign Service in 2005, at the same time his partner (and now spouse) Chris joined the USAID Foreign Service. They served together as a tandem in numerous posts overseas, including Tel Aviv/Jerusalem, Bangkok and Skopje. Their son, who is being raised bilingual English and French, was born in 2013 and has lived in four countries in his seven years. Luke also served on the board of GLIFAA from 2005-2006, advocating for greater inter-agency coordination for tandems as well as greater Department support for foreign accreditation of same-sex spouses. Although it has been tricky at times, they have managed to make their inter-agency tandem work. Chris, a native of Louisiana and Georgetown grad, worked as an international consultant before joining USAID. Luke, a proud SAIS grad, is from Connecticut and before joining State worked for many years in the Balkans.