Carissa Gonzalez

Graduate Fellow
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Carissa GonzalezCarissa Gonzalez is a U.S. Foreign Service Officer with over a decade of service throughout the Middle East, Latin America, and Washington. Serving in Yemen during the Arab Spring as the Political-Military Affairs Officer, she analyzed security, terrorism, and tribal affairs, and was the primary U.S. Department of State liaison to all Yemeni and U.S. military, intelligence, and law enforcement agencies. Most recently, she served as the Chief of Public Affairs and U.S. Embassy Spokesperson (2016-2019) in Qatar, the epicenter of what analysts deemed the “worst crisis to hit the GCC since its founding.” During this unprecedented diplomatic standoff in the Gulf, she served as the U.S. Embassy’s principal interlocutor with the world’s largest Arabic media network Al Jazeera and oversaw public messaging for all seven U.S. federal agencies operating in Qatar.

Her research interests include the intersection between strategic communications and national security policy, organizational behavior, grey zone conflicts, the role of media and technology in identity and narrative formation, leadership theory, and national security decision-making.

She has received numerous U.S. State Department awards, including commendations for ensuring American citizens’ safety in the midst of the revolution in Yemen. The Council of American Ambassadors selected her as a Davis Fellow (2014-2015) for “demonstrated superior leadership, character, and potential to become a leading communicator for the U.S. government.” She is a graduate of the Summer Institute at University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Communications. The independent Public Diplomacy Council awarded her the “Best Public Diplomacy Article of the Year” for her original research on the “Evaluation Revolution in Public Diplomacy,” published in the Ambassador’s Review.

Her prior experience as a business strategy consultant has informed her interest in adapting best practices from the private sector to government agencies to better serve citizens’ interests and security.

She is a Master’s in Public Policy candidate at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School, where she also received her B.A. in Public and International Affairs. She speaks Arabic and Spanish, and in her spare time enjoys photography, travel, and running.