Spring 2012

[Alumni News]

Jeffrey Levine:

Career Diplomat Gets Estonian Ambassadorship

Submitted Photo

Jeff Levine (‘76, Journalism) has been named the next U.S. Ambassador to Estonia by President Barack Obama.

Levine and has wife, Janie, will begin their three-year tour in the Estonian capital of Tallinn later this September. As ambassador, he will lead the embassy and represent the United States.

A career foreign service officer, Levine said he’s looking forward to living in Estonia. “It’s one of the most successful post-Soviet, post-Warsaw Pact states and a pioneer in e-governance, telecommunications and Internet freedom.”

Growing up in the Bay Area, Levine never considered a career as a diplomat.

He was the first person in his family to attend college. And when he visited Humboldt State, he fell in love.

“It was beautiful and just far enough away from home,” he says, adding jokingly. “I also had a natural prejudice against Southern California, being from the Bay Area.”

Levine majored in journalism at HSU and after graduating, worked as a reporter for seven years at various newspapers, including USA Today.

“Humboldt definitely gave me a solid foundation in reporting that helped me get my first job,” he says.

After several years in journalism, Levine decided to join the Foreign Service in 1985.

“I wanted to travel and interact with different cultures,” he says of the career switch.

In the years since, Levine’s job has taken him around the world. He’s held assignments in Malaysia, Egypt, Cyprus and Bulgaria, and was most recently Director of the State Department’s Office of Recruitment and Examination and Employment in Washington, D.C. From 2009 to 2010, he and fellow HSU alum Dan Travis (‘92, Theatre Arts) served together at the U.S. Embassy in Hungary.

“There’s a sense of uncertainty in what we do,” he says. “But there’s also a lot of adventure. I get to represent the United States and the people of California. I can’t imagine a better responsibility.”