Jessica Patterson

Jessica Patterson grew up moving around the world as the child of American diplomats. She graduated from Rice University with a B.A. in 1993. After six years in campus ministry at the University of Texas, she went to Covenant Seminary, where she received a Masters of Divinity in 2002.

During her time at seminary, professors observed Jessica’s love of justice and interest in global affairs and encouraged her to consider a career in that field. Jessica joined the Foreign Service in 2003, and since that time, she has served in Tel Aviv, Israel; Santiago, Chile; and in Washington as the Algeria Desk Officer at the State Department.

In Tel Aviv, Jessica spent a year adjudicating visa applications and a year as the Ambassador’s staff aide, where she got to watch the events surrounding Israel’s disengagement from Gaza in 2005 from the inside. In Chile, she covered the transnational crime portfolio, working on issues ranging from trafficking in persons, drugs, and money laundering, to terrorist finance and intellectual property rights. She served in Washington as the Algeria Desk Officer, covering the range of issues that are important in the U.S.-Algeria bilateral relationship: counterterrorism, energy, nonproliferation, educational exchanges, among others. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton once stopped Jessica to compliment her on her suit.

Jessica is now studying Pashtu, preparing for her next assignment in southeastern Afghanistan. She wrestles regularly with what it means to be full of faith and engaged in a world that could easily leave one cynical or apathetic.