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The Scarlet & Black

Lomax ’05 to discuss diplomacy, post-grad life


Steve Yang, Features Editor

Wilson Program Graphic

From Grinnell to Saudi Arabia, Abel Lomax’s ’05 journey to becoming a diplomat involved many twists and turns. After spending time in a series of jobs that included serving as a paralegal, research assistant and consular assistant, Lomax will explain his path to foreign service and how Grinnell helped get him there in his upcoming talk, “The Unexpected Ways Grinnell Prepared Me for Diplomacy.” The talk will be open to the public and hosted today, March 4 at 4 p.m. in ARH 302. The talk is co-sponsored by the Donald L. Wilson Program in Entrepreneurship and Leadership and the Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations and Human Rights.

Lomax, who graduated from Grinnell with degrees in History and French and from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in 2011, is currently a U.S. diplomat in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. His return to campus is a chance for students to meet with Lomax and to hear about diplomacy from an alumni’s perspective.

Professor Sarah Purcell ’92, History, was instrumental in bringing Lomax back to Grinnell, as both the director of the Rosenfield Program and as Lomax’s former mentor.

“The Rosenfield Program focuses on both international relations and human rights, so Mr. Lomax’s work in the foreign service is directly relevant to our mandate,” Purcell wrote in an email to the S&B. “We bring experts from all over the globe to campus, and it’s a great opportunity to hear from one of our own.” 

According to Purcell, Lomax is close to the end of his current consular tour, where he works with immigration visa applicants and fraud prevention for the Foreign Agricultural Service. Lomax has lived in and traveled to numerous locations for his work such as Morocco and Algeria and he will soon be moving to Pristina, Kosovo as an economics officer.

“Abel Lomax is a dynamic and accomplished alum, and I think those who come to hear him speak and meet him will come away with great perspectives,” Purcell noted.

She added that Lomax’s speech would be of particular interest to students who are considering careers in foreign service or in the implementation of foreign policy, particularly to hear how Lomax has utilized his Grinnell education as a vice consul in the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh.

“Students can use this kind of event to hear about policies, to imagine a path for themselves in the future, and to hear about how Grinnellians thrive after graduation,” Purcell wrote.

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