Interview with Deputy Chief of Mission, Rebecca Neff

Interview with Deputy Chief of Mission, Rebecca Neff
Luca I. and Beatriz S.

On the first day of the conference, the IMUN Press Team was honored to interview the keynote speaker, Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) at the United States Embassy, Rebecca Neff. Holding a Master of Science in National Security Studies from the National War College and a Master of Arts in International Relations from George Washington University, DCM Neff is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service. Throughout her career, her focus has been on U.S. foreign policy in Europe and is specialized in issues such as energy security and women’s entrepreneurship. In 2021, DCM Neff worked as Director for Western Europe at the National Security Council, in charge of U.S. policy in nine countries, including Portugal. She has also worked in cities such as Paris, Moscow, and Ankara throughout her career (U.S. Embassy and Consulate in Portugal).  

The first question the Press Team asked DCM Neff was, as an experienced diplomat, whether she had any recommendations or suggestions for young adults present at the conference who might be interested in a similar career path. DCM Neff reminisced on her time as a young intern working at the UN headquarters in New York, shadowing the US ambassador to the UN. She recalled working on the Dayton Peace Accords and feeling immense accomplishment when she saw the work she had done on the newspaper's front page on her way back home. DCM Neff explained that there isn’t necessarily one degree that can help you in your career but that pursuing your passion and love for diplomacy is the most important thing.  

The second question asked was DCM Neff’s thoughts on the importance of organizations and conferences such as the Iberian Model United Nations (IMUN), which has an immense diversity of students, in producing new ideas which might benefit our society. DCM Neff brought up the idea of the dual meaning of “model,” mentioned in the previous speech by CAISL’s director, Nate Chapman. Mr. Chapman, who first heard of this idea from Blannie Curtis, CAISL’s former director, described how IMUN shouldn’t solely be a replica of what occurs in the United Nations but should also set an example of how things could potentially be done in a better way. IMUN provides a chance for reverse mentorship, DCM Neff said, for adults to learn how “young people attack problems fearlessly.” Furthermore, DCM Neff said that model conferences such as IMUN provide an invaluable opportunity to learn crucial skills in the world of diplomacy, such as how to defend your point and collaborate with others.  

The last question for DCM Neff was what steps she believed the UN could take to become more resilient and efficient at upholding the UN Charter and human rights, especially during turbulent events such as the Russia-Ukraine conflict. DCM Neff acknowledged the importance of the UN Security Council in preventing major global conflicts but also believes there should be some degree of reform. Most notably, the revision of veto power for its permanent members and whether the council should be enlarged to include emerging powerhouses, such as members of the G20.  

The IMUN Press Team extends its gratitude to DCM Neff for her time and availability to participate in this interview.  

Works Cited:  

 

"Deputy Chief of Mission Rebecca Neff." U.S. Embassy and Consulate in Portugal, 

     pt.usembassy.gov/our-relationship/dcm/. Accessed 11 Nov. 2022. 

 

Neff, Rebecca. Personal interview with the author. 11 Nov. 2022.