Diplomat-in-Residence (DIR) Program
Each year, the U.S. Department of State assigns Senior Foreign Service Officers to the position of Diplomat in Residence (DIR) at certain colleges and universities throughout the United States. The DIR program is central to the effort to recruit the best and brightest to represent America's rich diversity to the world.
Old Chemistry Building, Room 313
Jean Preston joined the State Department in 1986 and has worked overseas and in Washington, DC, with a focus on Latin America, Italy, and Environment, Science, Technology, and Health (ESTH) affairs. Her most recent assignment was as Counselor for Political and Economic Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala,
In Guatemala, she led initiatives to promote free and fair elections, advance respect for human rights, support the rule of law, combat human trafficking, and ensure fair implementation of the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement. Prior to her assignment in Guatemala, she served as ESTH Counselor in Rome, Italy. From 2003 to 2006 she served as Deputy ESTH Counselor in Mexico City, Mexico.
In Latin America, Ms. Preston also has served in Lima, Peru and Caracas, Venezuela. Her assignments in Washington, DC include as Alternate U.S. Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States, as the State Department desk officer for the Inter-American Development Bank, and as the Executive Secretary of the inter-agency Nuclear Export Violations Working Group. She also served as an ESTH and Economic Officer in Rome, Italy 1995-1998, and as a Career Development Officer in the Bureau of Human Resources, advising 250 other economic officers on their career choices. She has received Superior and Meritorious Honor Awards from the State Department and the Forrestal Award for Excellence in Strategy and Force Planning from the U.S. Naval War College.
Ms. Preston has an M.A. in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College, an M.A. in Economics and Latin American Studies and a B.A. in International Studies from Johns Hopkins University, and an M.Phil. in Quechua Studies from St. Andrews University in Scotland. She currently speaks Spanish and Italian, and has studied Portuguese and Russian in addition to Quechua.