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Alumna Spotlight: Jacqueline Halbig von Schleppenbach, Government Relations Expert and Religious Freedom Advocate

Jacqueline Halbig von Schleppenbach

Above: Jacqueline Halbig von Schleppenbach at IWP Commencement in 2015. From left to right: Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University; Owen Smith, Chairman of the IWP Board of Trustees; Jacqueline; John Lenczowski, Founder and President of IWP.

“IWP really instructs on the dignity of the human person, and if that’s not foundational in your policy, your policy is flawed from the get-go.”
– Jacqueline Halbig von Schleppenbach, ‘15

Jacqueline Halbig von Schleppenbach (’15) had nearly 20 years of experience when she began studying at IWP, including senior executive positions at the White House, the Department of Labor, and the Office of the Governor of Virginia.

With her background in public policy and an already-successful career, why did Jacqueline choose to pursue a degree from The Institute of World Politics? 

She was initially drawn to IWP after meeting some of its alumni, who encouraged her to start taking a few classes. Her first class at IWP was with now-Professor Emeritus Amb. Alberto Piedra, whom Jacqueline recalls was “inspirational” in his Western Moral Tradition and World Politics course.

Jacqueline credits Amb. Piedra and IWP Founder and President Dr. John Lenczowski with her decision to commit to the Institute for a full Master’s degree. “I thought, ‘This feels like home to me,'” Jacqueline recalls about her initial time at IWP. Course teachings resonated with her strong belief in having a “good philosophical foundation” when creating, implementing, and supporting policies.

“For me,” Jaqueline states, “…at your core, if you know who you are and what you believe, [it] becomes easier to discern what you’re doing, where you’re going, and what makes the most sense. IWP really instructs on the dignity of the human person, and if that’s not foundational in your policy, your policy is flawed from the get-go. That’s really why IWP was attractive to me. I’m a person of faith, but, even if I weren’t, I hope I could be intellectually honest enough to see what is good for the common good.”

Today, Jacqueline is using her M.A. in Statecraft and International Affairs to represent corporate and non-profit clients in domestic and international markets via Sovereign Global Solutions, LLC.

In this role, she continues to use what she learned in Dr. Lenczowski’s courses at IWP. “All of my classes at IWP with Dr. Lenczowski in which he talked about how subversive Communist policies were and how they get played out in the world are coming back to me.” Although the Iron Curtain lifted over 20 years ago, due to her international government relations client work, Jacqueline sees countries in Eastern Europe – continuing to abuse power and manipulate their peoples. “I wouldn’t recognize it if I hadn’t gone through IWP,” she commented. “IWP really trained us on recognizing Communist tactics.”

Since attending IWP, Jacqueline has become increasingly involved in global health diplomacy. She has also been working closely with one particularly pro-American, pro-democracy, pro-business ethics client to build transatlantic alliances. “I really enjoy that work because it is precisely in the realm of what I studied,” she said.

Jacqueline has been very involved in promoting religious freedom around the world. She has taken on the role of Executive Director at the International Catholic Legislators Network (ICLN)-Western Hemisphere, where she focuses, primarily, on building up Catholic legislators in the Western Hemisphere. She recently spearheaded a briefing on religious freedom on Capitol Hill with Sam Brownback, Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, and Ján Figel’, the Special Envoy for the promotion of freedom of religion or belief outside the EU for the European Commission on International Cooperation and Development.

“ICLN Members in the U.S. Congress, who were inspired by our discussions, were moved to pass the Genocide Resolution, which was a critical step in ending genocide in the Middle East,” said Jacqueline. “It was a critical first step, but there is still a lot of work to be done.”

Jacqueline names attending IWP as one of the most impactful decisions in her career because it “shifted [her] mind and interests toward international affairs.” Jacqueline recognizes that “there are various ways in which the United States can do such great diplomatic work,” and, while she was earning her Master’s degree, she learned “that there’s a chance to influence the world in various ways to be like us and to be a good friend and ally to us.”

As she looks to the future, Jacqueline has great hopes for IWP graduates: “I would love to see more IWP-trained people move into long-term government careers.  One of the reasons why these dangerous philosophies, which undermine human dignity, take over is because, often times, principled people simply do not want to work in government under leaders they disagree with, but it’s critical that they and their perspective are present. If we want to see government change for the better, we need good people in there.

“It’s easier to do evil than it is to do good. President Reagan said: ‘Freedom is just one generation away from extinction.’ If you think about it, that is chilling. We also know that ‘personnel is policy,’ and my concern is that, if good people are not trained and well educated, and working where it matters in government, we will not be able to hold onto it [Freedom].”

Jacqueline Halbig von Schleppenbach is the Founder and Principal partner of Sovereign Global Solutions, LLC. She has 25 years of professional experience in Government Relations, Public Policy, Public Relations, Communications, and Management. Jacqueline has served in senior executive positions at the White House, the U.S. Department of Labor, the Office of the Governor for the Commonwealth of Virginia and other high-profile positions, including as Senior Policy Advisor and Director of External Relations with the Office of Public Health and Science at the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Prior to her work in the Federal Government, Jacqueline worked with several non-profit organizations as a public policy advocate for regulations and statutes that protect human life, the rights of medical providers, families, small-business, and taxpayers.

After leaving the Federal government in 2009, Jacqueline launched her own firm and helping public and private sector clients to penetrate markets at home and abroad in the field of public health, medicine, and food safety.

Jacqueline manages corporate and federal business development, partner development, client services, strategic communications as well as government and public relations in federal, state and corporate markets. Sovereign Global Solutions represents corporate and non-profit clients in domestic and international healthcare markets. Current clients include non-profit and for-profit medical schools, technology and health IT firms, health care consulting, and health and science companies of all sizes.

Jacqueline speaks to audiences about the effects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) on private business and employers.

Jacqueline is a founding member of the Board of the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast and a Board member of Voices for Sudan. She is conversant with German and Spanish and has an M.A. in Statecraft and International Affairs.