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Robert Needham

'88 MAIR

Foreign Service Officer

U.S. Department of State


Robert Needham is a foreign service officer for the U.S. Department of State. Originally from Racine, Wisconsin, he is currently living in Brussels, Belgium. He holds a BA in Politics from Ripon College and an MAIR from Maxwell.

Needham is currently the Director of the Joint Administrative Services division at the Brussels Tri-Mission, which consists of the US Embassy to Belgium, the US Mission to the European Union, and the US Mission to NATO.  As such, he’s responsible for managing the day to day business activities of the Mission, liaising with various US Government agencies, and with host country authorities. Robert has served in eight countries over the past 25 years, including Poland, Oman, and Croatia, and is a member of the Senior Foreign Service. Most recently, he was promoted to the rank of Minister-Counselor. Later this year, he will begin a new assignment in Kabul, Afghanistan.

At Maxwell, “I was impressed with my classmates and all our professors,” he says. “They challenged me to consider things from different perspectives and this shaped the person I became. It is also how I ended up in the Foreign Service as it was Ambassador Cooke, who introduced us to the State Department. If you're interested in the State Department, take advantage of the internship program. It'll give you a good idea about the Department and whether a career there is for you.”