Dr. Edward Mienie, the Executive Director and Associate Professor of Strategic and Security Studies, was featured in an interview with the Association of Former Intelligence Officers NOW, which is a program of recorded presentations with former U.S. Intelligence Officers and the academics and scholars who write and teach about them. Dr. Mienie was featured on the program alongside former CIA officer Renee Priess.

A question that Dr. Mienie was asked, was how he ended up at North Georgia. Dr. Edward Mienie was born in Cape Town, South Africa and lived there for 28 years. He studied law and then joined the State Department, with his first posting being in Washington D.C. in the Department of Foreign Affairs. “My responsibility there was liaising with the U.S. Congress and State Department, a number of NGOs, the Organization of American States, IMG, and The World Bank,” said Dr. Mienie. After that posting, he was appointed as the Chief of Staff
to the Secretary of State, Minister Pik Brotha, for 2 years. “Thereafter, I was appointed Deputy Ambassador for South Africa to Switzerland, representing the new South African Government,” Dr. Mienie said.

Dr. Mienie found his way to the United States and pivoted to a different career as an SAP Functional Consultant. “Within that industry, I gravitated towards my core skill set which is public relations,” Dr. Mienie explained. Once he received his Ph.D. in International Conflict Management, Dr. Mienie applied for a position here at UNG and served as the Assistant Vice President for Economic Development and Community Engagement. Once the new program of Strategic and Security Studies was introduced in 2016, he was asked to lead the program as the Executive Director. “I believe my background matched up very nicely with the mission and objectives of this interdisciplinary degree program…because of my exposure being in a combat zone, having studied law, completing my studies in International Conflict Management, and being a former diplomat,” said Dr. Mienie.

Over a year ago, Dr. Mienie was approached by an Associate Superintendent from the Georgia Department of Education and was asked if he was interested in co-developing a syllabus to be introduced to Georgia high schoolers as an elective course. The title of the course is “Introduction to the U.S. Intelligence and National Security Studies. “It provides a basic and broad overview of the career field of intelligence,” Dr. Mienie explained. “The course is designed to apply critical analysis to the field of intelligence.”

CIA Officer Renee Priess asked Dr. Mienie what skillsets or career paths he saw as being necessary for our intelligence infrastructure to be more robust. He described several agencies, departments and pathways that one can become a part of the Intelligence Community. Being able to offer students several pathways allows all types of students and their aspirations to lead them to a career in the Intelligence Community – whether it be in the military, State Department, NSA, CIA, FBI, Department of Defense, Homeland Security, Department of Justice, and many others.

CIA Officer Renee Priess wrapped up the interview with Dr. Mienie asking what advice he had for future students
and current students looking at programs for intelligence. “Obviously, I am partial our degree program as the University of North Georgia,” he said. “I would like to see George high school students strongly consider UNG and in particular, the Strategic and Security Studies program. But of course, there are a number of universities throughout the U.S. that have great programs, like Georgetown, Coastal University, and others. To my knowledge, the universities that offer intelligence education are all top-notch, and it’s a matter of personal choice.”