Careers and Coffee: Women and Civil Service Careers in the U.S. State Department

Friday, November 18, 2011
12PM to 1PM
Ella Weed Room, Milbank Hall 2nd Floor

Are you interested in a career with the U.S. State Department? Do you want to learn more about women's issues in South and Central Asia?

Come for an informal discussion with:

Melanie J. Bixby
Senior Coordinator, Global Women's Issues Deputy Director Regional Affairs, South and Central Asian Affairs Bureau
U.S. State Department

(Please see Ms. Bixby's full biography below)

This event is co-sponsored by the Human Rights Program, Barnard Career Development, and the New York City Civic Engagement Program.

Pizza will be served!  RSVP to attend via NACElink.

Please contact Valerie Chow at or 212-854-2033 with any questions about this event.



Melanie J. Bixby’s career at the U.S. State Department has focused on political and economic development, strategic planning, foreign assistance, and regional cooperation in South and Central Asia and Africa.

As Senior Coordinator for Global Women’s Issues for the South and Central Asian Affairs Bureau since 2009, Ms. Bixby led State Department co-sponsorship of the 2010 Vital Voices of Asia Summit in New Delhi. She presented findings from Central Asia at the 2011 OSCE Women’s Entrepreneurship conference, and has designed a regional women’s economic empowerment initiative for Central Asia and Afghanistan. As Regional Affairs Deputy Director since January 2007, she also co-directs regional security, economic, political, strategic planning and foreign assistance matters, including a multi-million dollar regional grant fund, for South and Central Asia.

During 2006, Ms. Bixby was a Brookings Institution Legislative Fellow on the House Foreign Affairs Committee staff, and was responsible for U.S. foreign assistance oversight. She led staff delegations abroad to inform policy and legislation, including for foreign assistance reform and the Millennium Challenge and HIV/AIDS (PEPFAR) initiatives.

Following the September 11, 2001 attacks on U.S. soil, Ms. Bixby served in the State Department’s Bureau of South Asian Affairs as Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Strategic Planning, Foreign Assistance and Global Issues until 2004, then as Deputy Director of Regional Affairs until 2006.

As Senior Advisor in Secretary Albright’s Policy Office, Ms. Bixby helped design and launch the multilateral Community of Democracies initiative at Warsaw in 2000. As Acting Senior Coordinator for the Community of Democracies in the Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Bureau in 2001, she also oversaw the Strategic Planning Office and a $13 million Human Rights and Democracy Fund.

Ms. Bixby served as the Bureau of African Affairs’ Strategic Planning and Foreign Assistance Coordinator (1998-1999), and helped design a $5 million education initiative and a public-private partnership with the Ron Brown Foundation, both launched on President Clinton’s 1998 trip to Africa.

As a 1997 Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow, Ms. Bixby was an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service. She conducted research in Africa on semi-authoritarian democracies, presented her findings at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York and Washington D.C., and taught Georgetown University’s first “U.S. democracy policy in Africa” graduate course.

Ms. Bixby joined the State Department’s Bureau of African Affairs in 1991 as a Presidential Management Fellow. Until 1996, she coordinated U.S. democracy and human rights policy and programs for Africa, and managed a new $2 million democracy and human rights grants program and a $15 million regional electoral assistance program as elections swept the continent.

Prior to joining the State Department, Ms. Bixby conducted research in South Africa sponsored by the Columbia University Law School and Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs. She published a 1991 Human Rights Watch report documenting government fomented ANC-Inkatha violence, which brought South Africa’s Minister of Law and Order to a public debate held in New York.

Ms. Bixby grew up in Denver, Colorado. She holds a Master’s degree from Columbia University in International Affairs with a concentration on International Law. She and husband Robert Epstein have a daughter, Emily.