Andy Masloski received a B.S. in Foreign Service and an M.A. in Arab Studies with a focus in Culture and Society from Georgetown University. He currently works at the State Department as a Foreign Affairs Officer with the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor and serves as policy lead for Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan. Andy previously worked at a think tank and a media outlet.
What’s a typical day for you?
Most of my days revolve around communicating with civil society organizations and NGOs focused on human rights issues in the Middle East and in Syria specifically. When I am not engaging with such groups, I am working with my colleagues throughout the Department of State, the Department of Defense, and the National Security Council to ensure that the voices of civilians — their concerns, their worries, their priorities — are heard and factored into policy-making conversations.
How did you get involved in the State Department and human rights?
I have always been focused on international affairs since my first day as an undergraduate at Georgetown. While it was never my one and only goal to join the Department of State, when the opportunity presented itself, I grabbed it. I’ve had the privilege of working on a number of issues during my seven years at the Department, from educational diplomacy to foreign assistance and human rights in the Middle East.
How did you become interested in the MENA region?
My first class on my first day of my freshman year at Georgetown was Arabic. I had wanted to study a language I knew nothing about and had flipped a coin to decide between Arabic and Chinese. My Arabic class inspired me to take courses on the region of the world in which Arabic is spoken, and so I began to learn as much as I could about politics, history, religions, and cultures in the region.
Does your work grant you the opportunity to go and work abroad in the region?
I travel to the region at least once a year for consultations with civil society organizations and other governmental colleagues.
What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job?
The most challenging aspect of my job is how to reconcile the gap between what I want to see happen with respect to U.S. policy about the issues I focus on and the reality of how difficult and slow it can be to affect those same policies. The most rewarding aspect of my job is the privilege I enjoy of knowing and interacting with a number of incredibly brave and dedicated human rights activists – especially those focused on Syria.
Brittni Foster is a sophomore at Tufts University majoring in Arabic/Middle Eastern Studies/International Relations. She wrote this Q&A while interning at CCAS during the summer of 2017.