John Kirby, assistant secretary for the U.S. Bureau of Public Affairs, to speak at URI, June 13

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John Kirby
John Kirby, assistant secretary for the U.S. Bureau of Public Affairs. Photo courtesy of John Kirby.

NARRAGANSETT, R.I., June 7, 2016—John Kirby, assistant secretary for the U.S. Bureau of Public Affairs, will speak about international issues at the University of Rhode Island Monday, June 13.

His talk, free and open to the public, will start at noon in the lobby of the Alumni Center, 93 Upper College Road, on the Kingston campus.

Winifred Brownell, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said Kirby had planned a trip to the area and reached out to Adam Roth, interim director of the Harrington School of Communication and Media, to ask if he could talk to students and faculty after hearing “great things” about the school.

“Assistant Secretary Kirby has an important national leadership position in public affairs, which is a professional area of great interest to Harrington School students as well as to students interested in international relations and diplomacy,” said Brownell. “We are delighted to host him and provide our students with an opportunity to learn more from him about his leadership position in public affairs and his insight on international relations and global affairs.”

Kirby was appointed to his current position in 2015. Before that, he was a spokesman for the U.S. Department of State. He also was a press secretary at the Pentagon, working for more than a year as the chief spokesman for the Department of Defense and for former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. He retired from the Navy in May 2015 with the rank of rear admiral.

He was commissioned in September 1986 after completing Officer Candidate School in Newport. He qualified as a surface warfare officer aboard the guided-missile frigate USS Aubrey Fitch. As a public affairs officer, Kirby served at sea aboard the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal and on the staff of the Commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet, embarked aboard the command and control ship USS Mount Whitney.

While ashore, Kirby completed tours as an instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy; as public affairs officer with the Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron (Blue Angels); and as an editor-in-chief of the Navy’s Flagship monthly magazine, All Hands, among other positions.

Kirby also served as the U.S. Navy’s Chief of Information, working as the principal spokesman for the Department of the Navy and providing strategic communication counsel to the Secretary of the Navy and the Chief of Naval Operations.

He grew up in St. Petersburg, Fla., graduating from St. Petersburg Catholic High School in 1981. He is a 1985 graduate of the University of South Florida in Tampa, Fla., where he received a bachelor’s degree in history. He has a master of science degree in international relations from Troy State University and a master of arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College.

Pictured above: John Kirby, assistant secretary for the U.S. Bureau of Public Affairs. Photo courtesy of John Kirby.