Concentrating to catch the nuances of each side’s position, Trey Lyons (PolSci’00), pictured right, sits at the Geneva International Discussions on the conflict in Georgia. A foreign service officer stationed at the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Trey leads a unit focused on Georgia’s foreign policy and the Russian-occupied Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions.
“Usually we’re trained in the language of the country where we’re assigned,” Trey explains. “In my case, I learned Russian instead of Georgian,” noting his command of the language enables him to participate in the Geneva peace talks.
As the conflicts adviser at the U.S. Embassy, Trey’s job is to try to maintain contact with the people in Georgia’s breakaway regions occupied by Russian troops since the 2008 war.
“I try to find different ways we can decrease regional tensions and engage the people in conflict areas to get them to see what a future with the West could be like,” he continues. “Ultimately, I hope what we do leads to peaceful resolution of the conflicts and the de-occupation of Georgia.”
Trey’s previous diplomatic assignments include Saudi Arabia and Slovakia. Between overseas assignments, he also has worked in Washington, D.C., including a memorable tour at the State Department’s Operations Center where his team monitored breaking events and global crises. He was on duty when Georgia’s 2008 war with Russia began.
As a student at CU, he spent a summer in Strasbourg, France, working at the U.S. Consulate — a connection he made while serving with Ambassador Mary Ann Casey (IntlAf’70) as an organizer of CU-Boulder’s annual Conference on World Affairs.
“It was a life-changing experience,” Trey reflects.
In 2011 he won the Alumni Association’s Kalpana Chawla Outstanding Recent Alumni Award. Last spring Trey returned to CU as a CWA panelist speaking about diplomacy and life as an expatriate.
Even as the CWA matures as an institution, it still has an incredible mix of people allowing for discussions found no place else in the world,” he notes.
Two of his family members, pictured above, also are involved in international relations. His father Dick Lyons (PolSci’69) serves as an international election observer, and his sister, Annie Lyons Knapp (Comm’03) is works at the State Department.
After he leaves Tbilisi in 2014, Trey will return to the U.S. Embassy in Slovakia for a three-year assignment. What’s next for Trey?
“We’ll see what challenges there are in 2017,” he says.