Office of Civil Rights
May 1, 2011

Date: 08/05/2010 Description: Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month 2011: James Shea - State Dept Image

I'm what you can call a "third generation" diplomat. My grandfather was in the Foreign Service and served in Spain, Australia, Israel, Brazil, Ecuador, and Argentina, among other places. My Irish-Italian father worked for over 20 years in the AFL-CIO's International Affairs division and his travels and work took him to Bangladesh, Panama, Peru, and Indonesia, among other places. My father’s work brought him to Embassy Jakarta where he met my Indonesian mother.

I was born in Jakarta. After I was born, my father received a new assignment and I spent the first two years of my life in Bangladesh. After Bangladesh, my family returned to Jakarta and then moved (over the following years) to Panama, Peru, and back to Panama, before my parents decided to move to Maryland so that I could attend high school in the United States. I obtained my B.A. in international relations and economics from The Johns Hopkins University in 2002 and my M.A. in international relations and economics from The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in 2005 (spending the first year in Bologna, Italy and the second year in Washington, D.C.). Prior to joining the Foreign Service, I worked at White & Case, an international law firm. I worked within the International Trade Group for five years and served as the director of US Trade Services.

I am a member of the 156th A-100 class (September 2010) and I arrived to my first post – Monterrey, Mexico - in January 2011 for a two-year tour.