After serving as the U.S. Ambassador to Yemen, Barbara Bodine decided to return to her alma mater to take the position of president of the UCSB Alumni Association at the beginning of this year.
Bodine began her ambassadorship under the Clinton administration in December 1997. Prior to this, she worked for the State Dept. for 30 years, serving as a strategic coordinator for counter-terrorism operations.
While in Yemen, Bodine said she worked with the Yemeni to establish a coastguard, created a two-million dollar scholarship for Yemeni students to study in the United States and helped establish a local government.
“The Yemeni are very warm, outgoing, gracious and hospitable,” she said. “I think we accomplished a lot of very important programs that we wanted to get started and that was very satisfying.”
As an ambassador, Bodine found she was often unable to work with people who were not immediately in a crisis situation. After four years, she asked the State Dept. to create a Diplomat in Residence program at UCSB for her, because she feels that as an alumnus, she would like to give something back to the university.
The State Dept. runs the Diplomat in Residence program, which is available to selected members of the Diplomatic Corps and runs in cooperation with universities such as UCSB, Alumni Association Assistant Vice Chancellor Peter Steiner said. Diplomats in the program are expected to represent the State Dept. and the Foreign Service at conferences and career fairs and support foreign affairs programs.
Most universities make use of a diplomats’ expertise by having them lead seminars and guest lectures on foreign policy issues. Bodine said she wants to serve as a resource to students who want to enter into a Foreign Service career and need help with the Foreign Service exam. She will also teach a course for global studies majors this winter.
“I hope,” she said, “I can serve as a resource for the university, bringing in a slightly different perspective.”