A Journey to Diplomacy

PRT student receives fellowship to pursue international affairs

Xavier Billingsley.Xavier Billingsley.

Xavier Billingsley, a Parks, Recreation and Tourism major at CAFNR, was awarded a 2013 Charles Rangel International Affairs Fellowship.

The fellowship, funded by the U.S. Department of State and managed by the Ralph J. Bunche International Affairs Center at Howard University, supports extraordinary individuals who want to pursue a career in the U.S. Foreign Service.

“We are thrilled to have Xavier as part of the program,” said Patricia Scroggs, director of the program. “Xavier has already demonstrated leadership and impressive academic achievements in his career at the University of Missouri, as well as a strong commitment to community service in his professional endeavors.   I have no doubt that he will excel in graduate school and make important contributions to promoting global peace and prosperity as a U.S. diplomat.”

Billingsley, previously was MU’s student body president and homecoming king, is from Blytheville, Ark. As student body president, he managed a budget of over one million dollars and helped start a food pantry, managed a safe rides program and advocated for a smoke free campus. Billingsley is also a former homecoming steering committee member, 2011 Summer Welcome leader, and teaching assistant for MU Assistant Athletic Director Bryan Maggard.

While at Mizzou, Xavier participated in a diplomatic trip to Russia where he was exposed to U.S. Foreign Service Officers who sparked his interest in International Affairs.  Currently, Billingsley is serving as an intern at the U.S. Embassy in Kingston, Jamaica.

Billingsley will attend the Cornell University Institute of Public Affairs this Fall. The fellowship will provide Billingsley approximately $90,000 in benefits over a two year period to pursue a master’s degree in international affairs.  As part of the program, Billingsley will work this summer for a Member of Congress on issues regarding foreign affairs. In the summer of 2014, the U.S. Department of State will send his overseas to work in a U.S. Embassy to get hands-on experience with U.S. foreign policy and the work of the Foreign Service. Upon graduation, he will become a U.S. diplomat, embarking on one of the most challenging and rewarding careers of service to his country.