Michael McClellan, Diplomat in Residence

michael mcclellan

Minister-Counselor of the U.S. Foreign Service (retired) & WKU Diplomat in Residence, Office of International Programs (OPI)

Career diplomat Michael McClellan has a wealth of experience and would love to work with you to explore and prepare for national and international opportunities. Contact him at the below email and follow him on Facebook and Twitter!

Office hours

Room: Mass Media & Technology Hall (MMTH) 229

  • Mon, 1-5pm
  • Wed, 1-5pm
  • Fri, 9am-12pm

Email & social media

Upcoming presentations

Diplomacy at WKU (new series on important international issues)

  1. Why Do Ukraine and Crimea Matter to Americans? (Apr 3, 2014)



My Role at WKU

Mentor students interested in international careers, especially in government and diplomacy, support their efforts to obtain internships in Washington and abroad with the federal government – especially the Department of State and other foreign affairs agencies – and to be a resource for the university and Kentucky high schools on foreign affairs issues and diplomacy.


Educational Background

I grew up in Bowling Green and Bardstown, attending the University of Louisville where I majored in Political Science and Journalism. Hoping to become an international photojournalist, I obtained my Master’s Degree at Syracuse University in Photojournalism with a minor in International Relations, where my interest in diplomacy and the Foreign Service were kindled. I then did doctoral studies at Indiana University in International Communications and Government/Press Relations. Upon completion of my orals, I entered the U.S. Foreign Service working first for the U.S. Information Agency and then with the U.S. Department of State as a Public Diplomacy Officer. During my thirty-year career in the Foreign Service, I served in Yemen, Egypt, Russia, Serbia, Germany, Kosovo, Ireland, Iraq (twice), Ethiopia, and South Sudan. I also served as Diplomat-in-Residence at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and serving universities throughout Michigan, Ohio, and Kentucky, and for the Rocky Mountain Region, which included Colorado, Wyoming, and New Mexico.

Academic Interests

From the beginning of my college studies, I was interested in Journalism and Political Science, especially Russian Studies. As a practitioner of Public Diplomacy, I am especially interested in how governments and organizations influence public opinion through press, cultural, and educational programs. Diplomatic history is also an area of great interest, particularly with how the practice of diplomacy has evolved to meet changing technologies over the past two centuries. Finally, as a small-scale farmer advocating sustainable and organic practices in the production of healthy food, I am interested in promoting such practices overseas as an element of American foreign policy.

What Brought Me to WKU

Having lived and worked overseas for almost all of the past thirty years, I decided it was finally time to “come home.” I want to give back to my community and help young people in Kentucky understand better the international world in which we now live and to see how they can better prepare themselves to be part of that. Office of International Programs (OIP) and the Potter College of Arts and Letters provided the ideal opportunity for me to give back to my community and to help young people in Kentucky better realize their potential in today’s world.

A Little About Myself

Photography and farming continue to be my strongest passions in life, along with writing and blogging. My career has been the ideal platform for both as the extensive travel it provided me allowed me to live and work overseas for extended periods in countries as diverse as Ireland and South Sudan. I especially love getting to know and understand other cultures and languages and hope that is reflected in the words and images I produce. With my wife, Tate, I have also developed a deep interest in food, nutrition, and how it’s produced – hence my becoming a small-scale organic farmer.

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