Joan A. Polaschik, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, was appointed as Director of the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) in May 2022. In this capacity, she serves as the Chief Learning Officer for the Department of State and the federal foreign affairs community.
Ambassador Polaschik joined the FSI team in February 2020, serving as Dean of the School of Professional and Area Studies and the Institute’s Deputy Director prior to assuming her current role. She spent the 2019-2020 academic year as a Senior State Department Fellow at Georgetown University’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, teaching courses on U.S. diplomatic statecraft and North Africa.
Ambassador Polaschik’s career has focused on the Middle East and North Africa, with assignments as Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs (2017-2019) and U.S. Ambassador to Algeria (2014-2017). She previously served as Director of the State Department’s Office of Egypt and Levant Affairs; Director of the Office of Israel and Palestinian Affairs; Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S Embassy in Tripoli, Libya; Regional Refugee Coordinator based at the U.S. Embassy in Amman, Jordan; Political Officer in Tunisia; and other staff-level assignments in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. She also has served in Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan.
Ambassador Polaschik earned a BA from the University of Virginia and an MSFS from Georgetown University. Thanks to the talented language instructors at FSI, she speaks French, Arabic, and some Russian and Azerbaijani.