Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Meet the new Diplomat in Residence for Texas

Samuel Hayek
UT’s Clements Center for National Security hosted U.S. diplomat Daniel Stewart Nov. 9, 2023.

United States diplomat Daniel Stewart reflected on his time in foreign service and encouraged UT students to pursue jobs within the U.S. Department of State at an event hosted by the University’s Clements Center for National Security on Nov. 9. 

Stewart started his position as the Diplomat in Residence for Texas in September after over 20 years working in the U.S. Foreign Service, transitioning from representing the country abroad to training young, aspiring diplomats. As the Diplomat in Residence, Stewart connects higher education students and other young professionals across the state with internship and fellowship opportunities within the Department of State and helps them navigate the process of pursuing a career in diplomacy. Stewart is specifically affiliated with UT-Austin and UT-Dallas, but also connects with communities elsewhere in Texas. 

In his talk with the Clements Center, Stewart emphasized the importance of recruiting individuals from diverse backgrounds for the U.S. Foreign Service to best represent the country’s wide variety of perspectives. 

“We’re looking for people that reflect our diversity, that reflect our geographic diversity, professional diversity and what it means to be American — everybody,” Stewart said during his talk in the Flawn Academic Center. 

Stewart, who visited the University in October when Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke, said he’s excited to get to know Texas in this new position. He said as a Black man from a small town in Virginia, he knows he’s not always who people expect to see representing the country when he travels overseas. However, he said that’s one of his favorite parts of the job — demonstrating that U.S. citizens are “not one thing.” 

“I’m proud to say that as an institution, when people have challenges internally about policies we might have, there are roles within the Foreign Service to talk about that,” Stewart said. “We build policy in the Department of State by talking about it.” 

Stewart served many tours as a diplomat since starting his job with the foreign service in the year 2000, including South Africa, Belgium, Iraq and, most recently, Canada. He’s worked under five U.S. presidents and eight secretaries of state in that time. 

Stewart said he first became interested in foreign policy in his second year of undergraduate school, after focusing almost exclusively on a music career. He said one of the best parts about working for the Department of State is that there’s no ideal educational background; students interested in fields ranging from public policy to medicine to cybersecurity can find a good fit. 

“The good thing about so many of our careers is that what we need from you is to be good at what you do, no matter what you do,” Stewart said. 

Stewart said he encourages interested students to contact him for help navigating the different options. 

“We want to see first-generation Americans see themselves as representing the United States,” Stewart said. “We want naturalized citizens who have probably had contact with consular officers or other diplomats overseas when they were a national citizen of another country. …. That is critical.”

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About the Contributor
Sarah Brager, General News Reporter
Sarah is a journalism junior from Buda, Texas. She's currently a senior news reporter, and she previously worked as a life and arts reporter and an opinion columnist. When she's not reporting for the Texan, Sarah loves hiking, drinking outrageous amounts of coffee and doing crossword puzzles.