NAFSA Lauds Ambassador Jacobs, a Stalwart Leader in International Education

Statement by Marlene Johnson, executive director and CEO of NAFSA


Media Contact: Rebecca Morgan, 202.495.2553,
Katie O'Connell, 202.495.2559,

WASHINGTON, April 3, 2014 – Ambassador Janice L. Jacobs, Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs officially retired today, after 34 years of service at the U.S. State Department. The following is a statement by Marlene Johnson, executive director and CEO of NAFSA:

Ambassador Janice L. Jacobs has been a stalwart champion of international education and exchange, and a great friend to NAFSA, the association of international educators. She has been a model of public service at all levels of the bureau, from consular officer through to her current position as Assistant Secretary. She understands both the importance of everyday consular decisions to our nation's image around the world, and the vital role the Bureau of Consular Affairs plays in ensuring that Americans can travel abroad as efficiently and safely as possible. Throughout her career, she has worked tirelessly to strengthen the integrity of the visa issuance process while striving to maintain our nation's openness to the outside world.

NAFSA and the field have benefited greatly from her service and her leadership, helping us survive the terrible visa processing crisis we faced following 9/11. She has always been accessible to NAFSA, and has been instrumental in all of the good things that have happened in visa policy during this time. The continual increase in the numbers of visas issued to international student applicants with fewer delays in processing are a clear testament to that fact. She has been an outstanding public servant and we are deeply grateful for her service to the country.

About Ambassador Janice L. Jacobs

Ambassador Jacobs began her career at the U.S. State Department as a Foreign Service officer, and spent 28 years in ten different countries across Africa, Latin America, and Europe. She served as U.S. Ambassador to Senegal and Guinea-Bissau prior to being named Assistant Secretary by President George W. Bush, a position in which she has continued to serve under President Barack Obama. As the daughter of a USAID international education officer, Ambassador Jacobs strongly believes in the power of international education to prepare future world leaders to communicate, function, and adapt on local, national and global levels. She has advanced foreign policy interests throughout her career across a broad range of issues including democratization and human rights, trade and investment liberalization, counter-terrorism, increasing mutual understanding through educational exchange, and immigration.