Matthew Walsh is a member of the U.S. Secretary of State's Policy Planning Staff in Washington, D.C., where he focuses on Africa and development.
Matt conducts policy research, makes policy recommendations on Africa and development strategy, and contributes to speech writing for the Secretary of State.
"One of our jobs is to provide the Secretary of State with second opinions on policy issues," says Matt. "It's an exciting job that goes to the heart of almost every foreign policy debate and can have a real influence on policy."
Matt previously served as the State Department's Somalia desk officer, coordinating policy discussions and serving as a liaison between the State Department and other U.S. government offices. Before working at the State Department, Matt worked for USAID in Washington, D.C., and in Nairobi, Kenya, helping with the U.S. government's response to drought in the Horn of Africa.
Matt graduated from Notre Dame in 2006 with degrees in political science and peace studies. As an undergraduate, he conducted research on economic sanctions with Kroc professors George A. Lopez and David Cortright and wrote an honors thesis on how to improve coordination of international peacebuilding efforts. He also holds a master's degree in conflict management and international economics from Johns Hopkins University.
"At Notre Dame I learned how to influence policy by working within the system," Matt says. "My peace studies education taught me how to advocate effectively."