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The Citizen

US Ambassador Alum Inspires at Event

By Tommy Tobin

Ever wonder what an Ambassador does? Over two dozen HKS students got the answer to this and other questions at a lunch event with former US Ambassador to Australia, Jeffrey Bleich.
Bleich, an MPP alumnus, spoke to students on March 13th about an array of topics concerning the US-Australia relationship, including the State Department’s rebalance regarding Asia and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The talk delivered more than a free lunch. Kyle Herman, MPP ‘15 and the event organizer, said that “Ambassador Bleich’s insights reinforced my intention to join the Foreign Service.” Ambassador Bleich related real-world examples that went from disaster relief to arranging for training missions for Mars landings. Ajay Bengale, MPA ‘14, remarked that “The event was rich in lively, practical content that stimulated student participation and engagement.”

Ambassador Bleich’s diverse background of professional experience made for a unique introduction. Before becoming Ambassador, Bleich served as a judicial clerk, a lawyer in a Big Law practice, and Special Counsel to President Obama. He also served as head of the California State Bar and the Chairman of the California State University Board of Trustees. He now works for a law firm in San Francisco, where he focuses on litigation and advising.

Australia may not be top of the mind for every HKS student seeking an international affairs career. After the Ambassador’s talk, more duties were exposed to the complex issues facing the US-Australia relationship. Perhaps, asking what you can do includes writing the new chapter on this geopolitical relationship.