Go Back

Sonnet Frisbie

1st-Year MPP

Sonnet Frisbie is a career member of the Foreign Service in the U.S. Department of State, specializing in Economic Policy. Over the last 10 years, Frisbie’s assignments have included Mexico, the Czech Republic, Iraq, and Poland.  Her roles have ranged from immigration work in Mexico to anti-corruption policy in the Czech Republic. Most recently, Sonnet spent three years as the Trade and Investment officer at the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw, Poland. In this role, she coordinated strategy on commercial diplomacy for U.S. investors and covered a wide-ranging subject portfolio including macroeconomic policy, digital economy and privacy, and third country investment. Frisbie’s work has garnered multiple accolades, including a department-wide award for exceptional language acquisition and use in the field, global runner up for best interagency team working to promote U.S. business, and a Superior Honor Award for policy formulation and economic reporting on Chinese investment in Central and Eastern Europe. She speaks Czech, Spanish, German, and Polish.    

In each of her overseas assignments, Frisbie saw first-hand how policies either facilitating or hindering economic activity made enormous differences in people’s lives, and in the situation in the country at large. Living in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, the year it was dubbed the murder capital of the world, she saw a city torn apart by violence with an economy in tailspin separated by only a dry riverbed from what was that same year the safest city in America. In Iraq in 2014, she watched ISIL move into a power vacuum, seize territory from a sovereign state, and quickly set up a pseudo-government to extract funding in the areas it controlled. And in Poland and the Czech Republic a mere 30 years after the end of communism, she saw what a transformation countries can undergo in a single generation.    

In each of these locations, Sonnet Frisbie found herself wanting a more robust quantitative toolkit to answer questions about how to improve institutions and outcomes. At The Pearson Institute, she seeks to investigate questions related to foreign direct investment as a diplomatic and development tool. She is also interested in digital economic policy, both as an engine for economic growth, and as it relates to international disputes over standards-setting and privacy.   

Baidoa, Somalia

Makeshift, temporary shelter made of plastic and clothing at a refugee center in Baidoa, Somalia.