Arturo Valenzuela retired in March 2020 from Covington & Burling LLP, where he was Senior International Advisor for Latin America. In that position, Dr. Valenzuela, provided strategic advise, risk assessment and consulting services to U.S. and international clients with investments and operations in Latin America and Latin American clients interested in expanding their operations overseas. His clients included Fortune 500 firms and leading Latin American multinationals.
Immediately prior to his association with Covington, Dr. Valenzuela served in the first Obama Administration as Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, responsible for the formulation, execution and management of US policy towards the countries of the Americas. During President Clinton’s second term in office, Dr. Valenzuela served at the White House as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Inter-American Affairs at the National Security Council. In that capacity, he advised the President and the National Security Advisor on foreign, defense, intelligence, economic, and other policy issues and helped to manage the formulation and implementation of multilateral and bilateral foreign policy initiatives in the Americas. He spearheaded and managed the assistance package to Colombia known as ¨Plan Colombia.” In President Clinton’s first term, he was Deputy Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs with primary responsibility for the management and implementation of US foreign policy toward Mexico, including the implementation of the NAFTA side-agreements. He was also responsible for regional issues such as democracy, human rights, environment, and indigenous issues, undertaking special missions to countries such as Haiti and Paraguay. For his diplomatic work he received the highest honors from the governments of Colombia and Brazil and the Central American Integration System.
A noted scholar, Dr. Valenzuela was Professor of Political Science at Duke University where he headed the Council of Latin American Studies before moving to Georgetown University where he founded and headed the Center for Latin American Studies and remains on the faculty of the Department of Government. The author or co-author of nine books and dozens of academic articles, his research has focused on the origins and consolidation of democracy, electoral systems, civil-military relations, political parties, regime transitions, constitutional reform, and US-Latin American relations. In his scholarly capacity he served as an advisor on political and constitutional reform in Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia and Mexico. He has lectured and participated in conferences worldwide and has been a Visiting Scholar at universities and research centers including Oxford, Sussex, Aix-en-Provence, University of Florence (Italy), the University of Chile and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. In his academic and governmental roles he interacted regularly with Latin American presidents, cabinet level officials, scholars and leaders in the private and non-governmental sector and served as a consultant on constitutional and electoral reform in Chile, Brazil, Colombia, Bolivia and Mexico. He earned his Ph.D. degree in Political Science from Columbia University and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Drew University, his alma mater. He has native level fluency in English, French and Spanish.
A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Dr. Valenzuela served as an advisor to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and as a consultant to the Senate Democratic Policy Committee. He has been a consultant to the Ford Foundation, the Inter-American Foundation, Freedom House, and other non-profit organizations. His non-profit board memberships have included Drew University, Santiago College (Chile), the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, and the National Council of La Raza. Until 2009, he served as a Member of the Board of Directors of CorpBanca in Santiago, Chile and on the International Advisory Board of Repsol in Madrid, Spain. Throughout his career he has frequently testified before congressional committees and has served as a keynote speaker or panelist at major foreign policy, business and trade association meetings and conferences throughout the world. His published commentary has appeared in leading newspapers in the United States, Latin America and Europe, including a regular column for El Universal in Mexico. His television appearances have included ABC’s Nightline, NBC’s The Today Show, the PBS Newshour, CNN, CNN Crossfire, Fox News, National Public Radio, C-Span, BBC World Service and major outlets in Latin America and Europe.