Get to Know… David Jacobson

June 13, 2011

David Jacobson is the United States Ambassador to Canada.

He was sworn in as ambassador on September 25, 2009, and presented his credentials to the Governor General of Canada on October 2, 2009.

You can contact Ambassador Jacobson through the US Embassy website.


What do you actually do in your job? The job description says I am the personal representative of the President of the United States to the people and the Government of Canada.  In practice that means that I wake up in the morning thinking about the breadth of the relationship between our two countries and go to sleep at night thinking about the same thing.  I meet with Canadians from all walks of life from the Prime Minister to citizens on the street.  I try to understand as much as I can about Canada so I can explain it to my government back in Washington.  And I explain United States policies to the Government of Canada and to the Canadian people.


What is the hardest thing about your job? This may sound disingenuous.  But every day is great.  I suppose if I had to say something I’d say the pace can be grueling.  But it’s self imposed.  I try to take advantage of the limited time I have here to make the strongest relationship in the world even stronger.

What do you most enjoy about it? I meet so many interesting people.

Where were you born and raised? Chicago, Illinois

What did you study? Law

What was your first job and what path led you to your work today? Growing up I had many jobs.  Caddie (which gave me my love of golf), lifeguard at a beach near Chicago, car parking attendant.  But as an adult I was always a lawyer.

What is the best advice you received in the course of your career? Everyone has luck.  Successful people are the ones who recognize it and take advantage of it.

Looking back, what are you most proud of? Having raised — with my wife — two wonderful children.  And having had a small hand in electing Barack Obama President of the United States.

When and how do you start your day? I try to exercise each morning.  I read several Canadian newspapers over breakfast.  I arrive at the Embassy around 8.  The first meeting most days is a briefing on press coverage in Canada and the United States.  Then we review my schedule for the day.

Blogs or websites you find interesting or useful: Because I am in Canada I follow United States news on line.  I try to go to the New York Times and the Washington Post websites several times during the day.  I also check out Politico, and of course the Bilateralist.

Where are you most likely to be found when you’re not working? Lots of receptions and dinners.  Or – if I’m really not working – on the golf course.

If you had an alternative career, what would it be? I would have loved to have been a newspaper reporter or a University professor.  I guess there’s still hope.

Favorite sports team? Easy.  The Chicago Cubs.  I’m a long suffering fan.  But this is our year!!

Who is your hero or heroine? Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill.

Drink of choice? Diet Coke.

Hobbies? Golf.  Reading.

What is one worthwhile book you read in the past year? David Kennedy’s history of the Roosevelt Years, “Freedom From Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945.”

What is one thing you’d like to learn more about? Shakespeare

What is your favorite place in Canada and your favorite place in the US? I’m a diplomat.  So I can’t pick a favorite place in Canada. In the United States it’s my home town of Chicago.

What is one thing you’d like to tell Canadians about the U.S., and/or one thing you’d tell Americans about Canada? Canadians should understand how fond Americans are of Canada.   Americans should understand that Canada is not the same as the United States.  While we have much in common, there are political, cultural, and historic differences.


Also Get to Know… Julie Jacobson, David Archibald, Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, Connect2Canada, Perrin Beatty, David Biette, John ParisellaSheldon AlbertsDanielle DroitschLee-Anne GoodmanDavid Wilkins, Christy Cox, Chris Sands, Birgit Matthiesen,  Scotty Greenwood, Luiza Ch. Savage


On Twitter at luizachsavage