Category: Diverse Diplomacy, Event Announcements, Events, Featured News

Title: Event | A Conversation with Former Deputy Secretary Chief of Staff Mustafa M. Popal

Join us for a conversation with former Deputy Secretary Chief of Staff Mustafa M. Popal, who will share his insights on diversity at State and offer advice for a successful career in foreign policy.

The Diverse Diplomacy Leaders Speaker Series connects current and former career Foreign and Civil Service Officers with those considering or entering careers in foreign policy. This event is brought to you as part of an Una Chapman Cox Foundation project on American Diplomacy and the Foreign Service.

Learn more about Diverse Diplomacy at

This event will have live closed captioning.


Mustafa M. Popal most recently served as Chief of Staff to former Deputy Secretary of State Wendy R. Sherman. Previously, he served as Deputy Executive Secretary in the Office of the Secretary of State from 2020-2021 and as Minister-Counselor for Political Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo from 2017-2019. Since joining the Foreign Service in 2003, he has also served in Baghdad, Kabul, Kuwait, and Washington, D.C., including as Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of State and two separate details at the White House (NSC Staff and Office of the Vice President) covering the Middle East and Central/South Asia. In 2012, he served as the State Department’s first official Dari-language spokesperson.

Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Popal was Country Director for Afghanistan in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, where he was awarded the Secretary’s Medal for Exceptional Civilian Service for his work on Afghanistan policy in the aftermath of September 11, 2001. Born in Afghanistan and raised in Virginia, Popal and his family immigrated to the United States during the Soviet-Afghan war. He graduated from Georgetown University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. He speaks Farsi/Dari, Arabic, and Italian.