sarukana

Arturo Sarukhan

Nonresident Senior Fellow - Foreign Policy

Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan is an international strategic advisor and consultant based in Washington, D.C. He is a nonresident senior fellow at The Brookings Institution and a distinguished visiting professor at the Annenberg School of Public Diplomacy at University of Southern California. He is a digital diplomacy pioneer, the first ambassador accredited to Washington to use Twitter in an official capacity as a public diplomacy and outreach and engagement tool. He writes for Univision Noticias as well as a biweekly column on foreign policy issues in Mexico City’s El Universal newspaper. He frequently publishes op-ed’s in U.S. media outlets.

The grandson and son of Armenian and Catalan conflict refugees in Mexico, and multicultural (raised in the U.K. as a child) and multilingual in his upbringing and early education, he served as a career diplomat in the Mexican Foreign Service for 22 years and received the rank of career ambassador in 2006.

Ambassador Sarukhan held numerous positions in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He first served as deputy assistant secretary for inter-American affairs in 1991, and was responsible for Latin American regional coordination mechanisms (Rio Group, G-3, Ibero-American Summit). At that time he was also Mexico’s permanent representative to the Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (OPANAL). In 1993, he was posted to the U.S. Embassy of Mexico at the onset of negotiations with the U.S. Congress over the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), where he served first as chief of staff to the ambassador. In 1995, he was appointed as head of the Counternarcotics Office at the embassy. In 2000, he was designated by the foreign secretary chief of policy planning at the Foreign Ministry, and in 2003, was appointed by the president consul general of Mexico in New York City, working closely with Wall Street, the media, and the growing Mexican and Mexican diaspora in the tri-state area.

In 2006, after requesting a leave of absence from the Foreign Service, he joined the presidential campaign of Felipe Calderón as foreign policy advisor and international spokesperson. He then became coordinator of the foreign policy transition team for then President-elect Calderón. In February 2007, after senate confirmation, he was appointed ambassador of Mexico in the United States, where he served for half-a-dozen years until 2013. He was the youngest and longest serving Mexican ambassador in Washington in recent history, and led a team of 250 diplomats plus an additional 1,500-strong staff in Mexico’s 50 Consulates throughout the United States. He became the dean of the Group of Latin American Ambassadors (GRULA) to the United States during his tenure.

Ambassador Sarukhan has undertaken various activities beyond the scope of the Mexican Foreign Service. Before joining the diplomatic service, he served as executive assistant of the Ford Foundation-funded Bilateral Commission on the Future of U.S.-Mexico Relations, a non-governmental effort aimed at improving the Mexico-U.S. relationship and comprised of Mexican and U.S. commissioners from the private sector, academia, the legislative branch, NGOs, and former government high-level officials. Additionally, he has taught courses and has been a lecturer at several academic institutions, including the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico, the National Defense College, and the Center for Advanced Naval Studies in Mexico, as well as in the Inter-American College of Defense and National Defense University in the United States. He has also published numerous articles and essays on foreign policy issues. He has been a member of several organizations, including the Mexican Council on Foreign Relations, the Foreign Policy Association in New York City, the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, and most recently of the Transatlantic Task Force on Latin America of the Atlantic Council that resulted in the creation of the Arsht Center for Latin America at the Council.  He has also been a 2014 Pacific Leadership Fellow at the University of California, San Diego and a distinguished diplomat in residence at the Woodrow Wilson Center (2014).

He is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the Americas Society in New York City, of the Inter-American Dialogue, and of the National Immigration Forum. He also sits on the advisory boards of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center, of the Annenberg-Dreier Commission at Sunnylands, and the Kay Bailey Hutchison Center for Latin American Law at the University of Texas at Austin. During his tenure as ambassador to the United States, he also served as vice-chairman, and then chairman, of the Executive Council on Diplomacy Ambassadors Advisory Board, as part of the International Advisory Council of Worldfund, and as an ex oficio member of the U.S.-Mexico Foundation. Beyond his fields of expertise, he also serves on the Board of Directors of Washington Performing Arts and of Aid for Aids.

Ambassador Sarukhan read history at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), and has a bachelor’s in international relations from El Colegio de Mexico. In 1987, Ambassador Sarukhan participated in the first International Visitors Program of “Mexican Young Leaders” that travelled to the United States. He was also a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies "New Faces" Group for 1991. He earned a master’s in American foreign policy at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), where he was a Fulbright Scholar and Ford Foundation Fellow. In 2008, Marian College, in Indianapolis, conferred upon him a Honoris Causa Doctor of International Relations degree. He has been decorated by the governments of Spain and Sweden, and has received several awards in recognition for his diplomatic achievements. These include: the annual recognition of the National Democratic Network, for "his contribution to strengthening relations between the U.S. and Mexico;” the Distinguished Diplomatic Service Award of the World Affairs Council of Washington, D.C.; the annual recognition of the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute for his dedication to the U.S.-Hispanic community; the Vision, Innovation, Dedication, and Advocacy Award of the National Alliance of Hispanic Health; the Excellence in Diplomacy Award of B'nai B'rith International; and the annual Gesher Award of the American Jewish Committee.

In 2010, Ambassador Sarukhan was included in the List of Global Leaders of Monocle magazine, and, for six years in a row, has been on “The List of 300 Most Influential Mexican Leaders” by Líderes Mexicanos magazine.

Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan is an international strategic advisor and consultant based in Washington, D.C. He is a nonresident senior fellow at The Brookings Institution and a distinguished visiting professor at the Annenberg School of Public Diplomacy at University of Southern California. He is a digital diplomacy pioneer, the first ambassador accredited to Washington to use Twitter in an official capacity as a public diplomacy and outreach and engagement tool. He writes for Univision Noticias as well as a biweekly column on foreign policy issues in Mexico City’s El Universal newspaper. He frequently publishes op-ed’s in U.S. media outlets.

The grandson and son of Armenian and Catalan conflict refugees in Mexico, and multicultural (raised in the U.K. as a child) and multilingual in his upbringing and early education, he served as a career diplomat in the Mexican Foreign Service for 22 years and received the rank of career ambassador in 2006.

Ambassador Sarukhan held numerous positions in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He first served as deputy assistant secretary for inter-American affairs in 1991, and was responsible for Latin American regional coordination mechanisms (Rio Group, G-3, Ibero-American Summit). At that time he was also Mexico’s permanent representative to the Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (OPANAL). In 1993, he was posted to the U.S. Embassy of Mexico at the onset of negotiations with the U.S. Congress over the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), where he served first as chief of staff to the ambassador. In 1995, he was appointed as head of the Counternarcotics Office at the embassy. In 2000, he was designated by the foreign secretary chief of policy planning at the Foreign Ministry, and in 2003, was appointed by the president consul general of Mexico in New York City, working closely with Wall Street, the media, and the growing Mexican and Mexican diaspora in the tri-state area.

In 2006, after requesting a leave of absence from the Foreign Service, he joined the presidential campaign of Felipe Calderón as foreign policy advisor and international spokesperson. He then became coordinator of the foreign policy transition team for then President-elect Calderón. In February 2007, after senate confirmation, he was appointed ambassador of Mexico in the United States, where he served for half-a-dozen years until 2013. He was the youngest and longest serving Mexican ambassador in Washington in recent history, and led a team of 250 diplomats plus an additional 1,500-strong staff in Mexico’s 50 Consulates throughout the United States. He became the dean of the Group of Latin American Ambassadors (GRULA) to the United States during his tenure.

Ambassador Sarukhan has undertaken various activities beyond the scope of the Mexican Foreign Service. Before joining the diplomatic service, he served as executive assistant of the Ford Foundation-funded Bilateral Commission on the Future of U.S.-Mexico Relations, a non-governmental effort aimed at improving the Mexico-U.S. relationship and comprised of Mexican and U.S. commissioners from the private sector, academia, the legislative branch, NGOs, and former government high-level officials. Additionally, he has taught courses and has been a lecturer at several academic institutions, including the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico, the National Defense College, and the Center for Advanced Naval Studies in Mexico, as well as in the Inter-American College of Defense and National Defense University in the United States. He has also published numerous articles and essays on foreign policy issues. He has been a member of several organizations, including the Mexican Council on Foreign Relations, the Foreign Policy Association in New York City, the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, and most recently of the Transatlantic Task Force on Latin America of the Atlantic Council that resulted in the creation of the Arsht Center for Latin America at the Council.  He has also been a 2014 Pacific Leadership Fellow at the University of California, San Diego and a distinguished diplomat in residence at the Woodrow Wilson Center (2014).

He is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the Americas Society in New York City, of the Inter-American Dialogue, and of the National Immigration Forum. He also sits on the advisory boards of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center, of the Annenberg-Dreier Commission at Sunnylands, and the Kay Bailey Hutchison Center for Latin American Law at the University of Texas at Austin. During his tenure as ambassador to the United States, he also served as vice-chairman, and then chairman, of the Executive Council on Diplomacy Ambassadors Advisory Board, as part of the International Advisory Council of Worldfund, and as an ex oficio member of the U.S.-Mexico Foundation. Beyond his fields of expertise, he also serves on the Board of Directors of Washington Performing Arts and of Aid for Aids.

Ambassador Sarukhan read history at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), and has a bachelor’s in international relations from El Colegio de Mexico. In 1987, Ambassador Sarukhan participated in the first International Visitors Program of “Mexican Young Leaders” that travelled to the United States. He was also a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies “New Faces” Group for 1991. He earned a master’s in American foreign policy at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), where he was a Fulbright Scholar and Ford Foundation Fellow. In 2008, Marian College, in Indianapolis, conferred upon him a Honoris Causa Doctor of International Relations degree. He has been decorated by the governments of Spain and Sweden, and has received several awards in recognition for his diplomatic achievements. These include: the annual recognition of the National Democratic Network, for “his contribution to strengthening relations between the U.S. and Mexico;” the Distinguished Diplomatic Service Award of the World Affairs Council of Washington, D.C.; the annual recognition of the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute for his dedication to the U.S.-Hispanic community; the Vision, Innovation, Dedication, and Advocacy Award of the National Alliance of Hispanic Health; the Excellence in Diplomacy Award of B’nai B’rith International; and the annual Gesher Award of the American Jewish Committee.

In 2010, Ambassador Sarukhan was included in the List of Global Leaders of Monocle magazine, and, for six years in a row, has been on “The List of 300 Most Influential Mexican Leaders” by Líderes Mexicanos magazine.

Get daily updates from Brookings