Featured Alumni: Andrew & Erin Webster-Main
United States Foreign Service Officers Andrew Webster-Main and Erin Webster-Main have jointly engaged in international law and policy issues since they met in Mali, West Africa, as Peace Corps volunteers in 1996.
Currently, the 2002 King Hall alums are preparing for postings to the U.S. Embassy in Rangoon, Burma. As head of the Consular Section in Rangoon, Andrew will oversee consular services to Americans in Burma and immigration law matters regarding Burmese travel to the United States. Erin – who recently rejoined the Foreign Service after taking leave in 2008 to raise their two sons, now 4 and 3 years old –will assume responsibility for the Embassy’s reporting on Burmese human rights, political parties, and minorities. These issues are particularly sensitive following the highly contested November 2010 general elections in Burma and the subsequent release of Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi after over 15 years under house arrest.
The couple earlier was posted to The Hague, Netherlands, and Seoul, South Korea. They coauthored an article about the latter in the June 2008 issue of The State Magazine.
In Seoul, Andrew he served as Staff Aide to Ambassador Alexander Vershbow and as a Consular Officer responsible for American Citizen Services and visa fraud issues. In The Hague, he briefed Washington on political issues regarding the Dutch Presidency of the European Union. Andrew launched his Foreign Service career at the State Department’s Office of Stability and Reconstruction, working on postwar sovereignty issues in Sudan.
Erin helped to advance US interests on the Justice and Home Affairs portfolio while at The Hague, working with an interagency team that included representatives from the Drug Enforcement Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigations. In Seoul, she adjudicated thousands of immigrant and nonimmigrant visas, and spoke to women’s groups about the experiences of U.S. women workers. In addition, she briefed Washington on Presidential candidates in South Korean elections and on organizations working with North Korean defectors.
Before joining the diplomatic corps, Andrew practiced law as an associate at Holme Roberts & Owen LLP in San Francisco and as a Staff Attorney at the Hague-based International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Erin worked for the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office.
At King Hall, Erin served as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of International Law and Policy. The law school’s environmental law and policy journal, Environs, published Andrew’s article “Keeping Africa Out of the Global Backyard” in 2003. Erin had earned her B.A. as a dual major in International Relations and French from UC Davis in 1994, and Andrew his B.A. in Religious Studies from Minnesota’s Macalester College in 1993.
The Webster-Mains write:
‘King Hall provided us the opportunities and intellectual tools we needed to explore the field of international law and politics. The school’s generous Public Interest Grant allowed us to take part in summer internships at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania. King Hall’s excellent faculty, including Professors Diane Marie Amann, Madhavi Sunder, Floyd Feeney, and Lisa Pruitt, inspired us to pursue our present careers in international public service. We owe them an enormous debt of gratitude.’