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Diplomacy in Action

Interview With Hometown Diplomat Robert Quiroz, II

Bureau of Public Affairs
September 30, 2006


Bureau of Public Affairs
Office of Public Liaison

Roberto Quiroz, II
Country Affairs officer for Central American and Panama
Office of Western Hemisphere Affairs

Mr. Quiroz speaks while standing in front of students seated in classroom.[Photo courtesy Mr. Quiroz]St. Monica's High School, Los Angeles, CA: Roberto Quiroz briefs a U.S. Government class at St. Monica's High School. Roberto Quiroz II is the Country Affairs Officer for Central America and Panama in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. He started at the Department of State in 2002 where he previously served as Staff Assistant in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, and as Vice Consul at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, Republic of Korea.

Q: How did your hometown prepare you to work with the State Department?

Los Angeles is so diverse--culturally, economically, and socially that it best reflects in many ways the nation and the world in which we live in. Just living in Los Angeles allows people to work with and relate everyday with people from other backgrounds in a more common way than possibly found in some other regions. In their daily interactions, they live and communicate with people that are different than they are. The world is literally represented in my hometown, and these citizens remain interested in our foreign policy with their countries of birth or origin. I was proud to represent the U. S. Department of State by engaging with these audiences and explaining transformational diplomacy.

Q: What groups did you address while visiting your hometown?

I met with several groups which included: ten classes of high school and university students from my alma maters; with Michael D. Antonovich of the L.A. County Board of Supervisors; officials from the office of L.A. City Mayor, Antonio Villarraigosa; former university professors (Dr. Antonia Hussey, Chair of the Geography department; Dr. Stella Theodoulou, Dean of the Political Science department); and with a former high school history teacher, Mr. Tony Rose.

Q: How do you think this program furthers the mission of the State Department?

The Hometown Diplomat Program links our Department with American communities who otherwise do not have any first hand contact with us through a local face. The students asked very good questions and participation was always lively, stimulating, and interesting. The same goes for the staff from Mayor Villarraigosa's office. Two officials were traveling to El Salvador that week to look into promoting California business investments in the country since the implementation of the Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR). They wanted to hear the State Department's views on Central America, understand our policy towards the region, and to discuss what opportunities CAFTA-DR presents to the region. Just last week, two officials from the Mayor's office met with U.S. Embassy officials in Mexico City and they reported they had a very productive meeting.

Students standing at front of classroom for group photo.

Roberto Quiroz with students from the Introduction to International Relations course at California State University, Northridge.

Mr. Quiroz and Dr. Matthew Cahn, Chair of the Political Science Department at California State University, Northridge pose for photo.  Photo courtesy Mr. Quiroz

Roberto Quiroz with Dr. Matthew Cahn, Chair of the Political Science Department at California State University, Northridge.

Released on September 30, 2006

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