Diplomat-in-Residence Jerry Gallucci

Jerry Gallucci

Last summer, Drake’s first-ever diplomat-in-residence packed his bags and made the trek from the nation’s capital to Des Moines. Pulling into town with District of Columbia license plates, Jerry Gallucci instantly stood out.

“I’ve been treated somewhat like an eccentric fish,” says Gallucci. “People are surprised that there is such a person in Des Moines and at Drake—also very interested in what this means.”

Jerry Gallucci, a New Jersey native, is a retired U.S. Foreign Service officer and a former United Nations peacekeeper with more than 30 years of experience in foreign affairs. With support from the R.W. and Mary Nelson Institute for Diplomacy and International Affairs, he’s now a part-time faculty member offering a breadth of international learning opportunities for Drake students and the Des Moines community.

Gallucci hit the ground running last summer, quickly becoming a popular resource for local media and a sought-after presenter for schools and community organizations. Within the first few months of being on campus, he was invited to speak to classes at Iowa State University and Des Moines Area Community College, started attending meetings with the Pow Wow Club (a Des Moines dinner group), and began participating in the Des Moines Committee on Foreign Relations.

“A lot of people have an interest in talking with me about issues of foreign affairs because they’ve never had the opportunity to meet with someone who’s actually lived it,” he explains.

Because the diplomat-in-residence is a new position at Drake, the job description was loosely scripted and remains so. Gallucci has had the freedom to shape his role and pursue his personal interests and passions along the way.

“I’m enjoying getting to know the town, the city, the people. I feel already at home in Des Moines. And the students here—I’ve been really pleased with them. They are bright and motivated,” says Gallucci. “I taught a similar U.N. peacekeeping course at the graduate level at another university, and I always felt like those students were just going through the motions. But here the students are genuinely interested in doing something positive in the world.”

During the spring semester, Gallucci is teaching a course on U.S. intelligence and national security, which is maxed out at 21 students. He’ll also be mentoring students in a Latin American independent study.

“My courses help students develop the ability to make reasoned judgments and express those judgments about issues pertaining to national security and foreign policy,” shares Gallucci. “I enjoy working through the material with students. It’s given me the chance to learn and relearn how I think of peacekeeping and foreign relations.”

Gallucci says his goals for the position are still evolving. Above all, he hopes his efforts can help Drake continue to be recognized as a leading institution in international education.

“Drake is a great place, and I’m doing what I like to do—talking with folks who are interested in foreign affairs,” says Gallucci. “But I look forward to taking that further—creating more awareness of Drake, the Nelson Institute, and this diplomat-in-residence position to an even wider audience. We’ve really only just begun.”

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