Aleisha Woodward is a senior foreign service member and serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Throughout her career she has served in U.S. embassies in Japan, the United Kingdom, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Ireland, and Korea. She was Consul General in Perth, Australia, and worked in the Office of Australia, New Zealand, and Pacific Islands in Washington, D.C.
Woodward is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Brigham Young University. She earned a graduate degree in national security strategy from the National War College. She grew up on a potato farm in the southeast of Washington state. She always knew she wanted to be a diplomat, and took the exam while a graduate student at BYU. A BYU Magazine article on alumni diplomats shared some of her experiences:
- “You’re not supposed to have favorite assignments,” she says. “That being said, the years I lived in Moldova are some of the most incredible of my life because I felt I had an impact, from both a church and a professional perspective.” She tells of teaching a seminary class, a group of 25 ages 12–30—mostly converts—who spent their Saturday afternoons at the church. Half spoke Romanian; the other half, Russian. “We’d go around reading scriptures, one verse each, in English, Russian, Romanian, Romanian, Russian, English,” says Woodward. “Somehow, it worked.” She also tells of administering exchange programs that sent 3,000 Moldovans to America each year so they could see, firsthand, a market economy and a democracy. “When they came back, I would ask them, ‘What surprised you most about the United States?’” says Woodward. “Many told me it was the feeling of freedom.”