State Department Official Speaks on South and Central Asian Countries
Web Editor - Published: February 6, 2013
On Tuesday, February 5th, Heather Variava, who serves as the Director of the Office of Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Maldives, and Bhutan in the Bureau of South and Central Asia for the State Department, spoke to an audience of faculty, staff, and students on Widener Law’s Delaware campus.

Variava’s presented “Integration in South Asia: The Role of the ‘Small Countries’,” which examined the countries covered by her office and the vision that the State Department has for relations with those countries. In his brief introduction, Vice Dean J. Patrick Kelly thanked People to People’s Delaware Chapter, the state of Delaware, and World Trade Center Delaware for sponsoring Variava’s visit.

“The United States works to promote peace, prosperity, and democracy within these countries,” Variava said after providing a brief overview of the historical case for economic integration in the region highlighted by the idea of a new Silk Road.

Variava offered a brief overview of each country covered by her office and gave insights into how the United States relates to each country before closing her prepared remarks by saying, “We partner with all of them to support them in trying to provide a better life for their citizens.”

She then took questions from the audience on a range of topics, including the ecological situation threatening the Maldive Islands with flooding precipitated by climate change and career opportunities for lawyers with the State Department. Observing that the State Department hires many lawyers, Variava touched on two distinct ways to approach working for the State Department by either applying directly for a Civil Service legal position through the State Department’s website, or by seeking to enter the Foreign Service.

“I joined the Foreign Service sixteen years ago and it’s really been a great experience for me and my family,” Variava concluded.

A second State Department speaker, Deputy Director for Public Diplomacy Mario Crifo, will be speaking on the Delaware campus on February 14th.