Roberta S. Jacobson was sworn in as Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs on March 30, 2012. Previously Ms. Jacobson was the Acting Assistant Secretary since July 18, 2011. She served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs from December 2010 until July 2011, with responsibility for regional political and economic issues, management and personnel, and regional security issues. In addition to her role as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, she was the senior coordinator for the Citizen Security initiatives in the Western Hemisphere. From June 2007 until that date, she was Deputy Assistant Secretary for Canada, Mexico and NAFTA issues in the Bureau. She served as Director of the Office of Mexican Affairs from December 2002. From 2000-2002, she was Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Lima, Peru, and between 1996 and 2000, Ms. Jacobson was director of the Office of Policy Planning and Coordination in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, covering issues such as civil-military relations, human rights, foreign assistance, and counternarcotics throughout the hemisphere. Ms. Jacobson has also served as Coordinator for Cuban Affairs within the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, executive assistant to the Assistant Secretary (1993-94), special assistant to the Assistant Secretary (1989-1992), and at the National Security Council (1988).
Ms. Jacobson holds a Masters of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (1986) and a Bachelor of Arts from Brown University. She also worked for the United Nations from 1982-1984 in the Center for Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs. She is the author of articles on “The Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women” in The United Nations and Human Rights (Oxford University Press; 1990) and “Liberation Theology as a Revolutionary Ideology.”