2024 Alumni Awards Profiles

Elizabeth Lee ’99Elizabeth “Liz” Lee ’99

Reunion: 25th
Residence: Washington, D.C.
Grinnell major: English with a concentration in gender and women’s studies
Other degrees: JD with emphasis on human rights and international law from University of Minnesota Law School (2003); Master of Public Policy from Princeton University (2018)
Profession: Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. State Department

3 ways Liz embodies Grinnell College’s mission of lifetime learning and service

  1. In her diplomatic roles, Liz has provided strategic recommendations to White House and State Department policy makers used to shape key decisions, with a focus on the United Nations, the Balkan region, Latin America, the Middle East, and East Asia. She has represented the U.S. on some of the world’s most complicated and challenging foreign policy issues. 
  2. Serving as Consul General to the U.S. Consulate in Thessaloniki, Greece, from 2020 to 2023, Liz served as the main U.S. representative in northern Greece. Among her many accomplishments promoting bilateral interests, Liz helped launch a tech network with large U.S. corporations like Pfizer and Deloitte to develop resources and pathways for Greek women pursuing management and leadership roles in their careers.
  3. As a student at Grinnell, Liz was a founding member of the student group Queer People of Color together with Gabe Rodriguez ’00. She also has been visible as a LGBTQIA+ leader during her tenure in the State Department, serving as the president of glifaa, the LGBTQIA+ pride organization of U.S. foreign affairs agencies in 2018-19.

Something you probably didn’t know about Liz

At Grinnell, Liz was one of the founders and editor-in-chief of Yellow Submarine, a self-funded zine created by Asian American female students who were members of Asian Students in Alliance (ASIA).

A collage of photos featuring Elizabeth “Liz” Lee ’99

Bonus Liz Fun Facts

  • Liz spearheaded the first ever Security Council meeting on LGBTQIA+ human rights, focused on ISIS attacks against the community in Syria and Iraq.
  • While in Greece, Liz worked closely with alumni of Anatolia College on the development of a documentary about the school’s one-time president George White, an 1882 Grinnell College graduate.
  • Liz wrote a children’s book set in Istanbul during the Ottoman Era.

A quote about Liz

“Liz Lee exemplifies exceptional leadership, dedication to public service, and devotion to lifelong learning. A firm commitment to making a difference in the world, including lifting minority voices, is a Liz Lee hallmark.”

Christopher Klein, senior fellow at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy.

Read more 2024 Alumni Award Recipient profiles.