Arturo Valenzuela

Arturo A. Valenzuela

Senior Latin America Advisor
Download V-card

Covington & Burling LLP
One CityCenter
850 Tenth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001-4956
Tel: +1 202 662 5378




  • Columbia University, Ph.D., 1971
    • Political Science
  • Columbia University, M.A., 1967
    • Political Science
  • Drew University, B.A., 1965
    • American Politics; Religion
    • summa cum laude


  • Spanish
  • French

Arturo Valenzuela is Senior Advisor for Latin America based in Washington, DC.  Dr. Valenzuela, a non-lawyer, is a highly regarded diplomat, scholar, and international business consultant.  He provides strategic advice, risk assessment and consulting services to US and international clients with investments and operations in Latin America and Latin American clients interested in expanding their operations overseas.  His clients have included Fortune 500 firms and leading Latin American multinationals.  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.

Prior to his association with Covington, Dr. Valenzuela was Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs in the U.S. Department of State in the first Obama Administration.  In that position he was responsible for the formulation, execution and management of US policy towards the countries of the Americas.  During President Clinton's second term, he 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.  In President Clinton’s first term, Dr. Valenzuela was appointed by the White House as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs with primary responsibility for the implementation of US foreign policy toward Mexico, including the NAFTA side agreements.  He was also responsible for regional issues such as democracy, human rights, environment, and immigration for Latin America and the Caribbean.

A noted scholar, Dr. Valenzuela headed the Council of Latin American Studies at Duke University 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.  His academic work 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 has served as an advisor on political and constitutional reform in Brazil, Chile, Bolivia, Colombia and Mexico.  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.

Dr. Valenzuela has been an advisor to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and consultant to the Senate Democratic Policy Committee.  Throughout his career he has testified frequently 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.

Previous Experience

  • Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, U.S. Department of State (2009-2011)
  • Senior Advisor, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, U.S. Department of State (2009)
  • Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Inter-American Affairs, National Security Council, The White House (1999-2000)
  • Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, United States Department of State (1994-1996)
  • Professor of Government, Georgetown University (1987- )
  • Professor of Political Science, Duke University (1970-1987)

Honors and Rankings

  • Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa, Drew University
  • Who’s Who in America
  • Who’s Who in Higher Education
  • Visiting Scholar,  universities of Chile, Catholic of Chile, Oxford, Sussex, Florence (Italy)
  • Fellow Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
  • Hispanic Business “100 Most influential Hispanics in America”
  • Poder Magazine, “60 Most Influential Latinos in the United States”
  • Poder Magazine, “100 Most Influential Individuals in Latin America”
  • Awarded highest distinction by the countries of Central America (through SICA --Latin American Integration System) and by the governments of Brazil and Colombia

Memberships and Affiliations

  • Member Latin America Task Force, Atlantic Council (2013)
  • Member, Council on Foreign Relations (1992-present)
  • Membre du Conseil Scientifique, Institut des Amériques, Paris (2008-2009)
  • Board of Directors, National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (1997-1999; 2002-2009)
  • Board of Trustees, Drew University, Madison, New Jersey (2002-2009)
  • Board of Trustees, Santiago College, Santiago, Chile (1998-1999), (2001-2009)
  • Board of Directors, CORPBANCA, Chile (2007-2009)
  • Board of Directors, National Council of La Raza (NCLR), (2004-2009)
  • International Advisory Board, REPSOL (2007)
  • Board of Directors, Hispanic Council on International Relations, (1996-1999)

Publications and Speeches


  • Dr. Valenzuela is the author or co-author of nine books including The Breakdown of Democracy in Chile and, with Juan Linz, The Failure of Presidential Democracy.  His academic articles have appeared in edited collections and scholarly journals.  He has served on the editorial boards of Foreign Policy Bulletin, Journal of Democracy, Current History, Estudios Públicos, Revista de Ciencia Poltica, Amérique Latine, The Latin American Research Review and The Third World Quarterly.
  • "Régimen político y gobernabilidad: La reforma pendiente en América Latina,” in Felipe Gonzalez (ed.) Iberoamérica 2020: Retos ante la Crisis, Madrid: Fundación Carolina (2009), Co-Author 
  • "Los partidos politicos y los desafíos de la gobernabilidad democrática en América Latina,” in Arturo Fontaine, Christián Larroulet, Jorge Navarrete e Ignacio Walker (eds.) Reforma de los Partidos Políticos en Chile.  Santiago de Chile: Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo (PNUD) (2008), Co-Author
  • "A Left Turn in Latin America? Problems of Success in Chile,” The Journal of Democracy, Vol. 17, No. 4 (October 2006).  With Lucía Dammert.  Reprinted in Larry Diamond, Marc F. Plattner, and Diego Abente Brun (eds.), Latin America’s Struggle for Democracy, Baltimore, Md.: The Johns Hopkins University Press (2008), Co-Author
  • "Os Mitos de Pinochet,” Política Externa, Vol. 15, No. 4 (March-May 2007), Author
  • "El Desafío de la Democracia en América Latina,” Stromata, Vol. LXII, No. 1-2 (January-June 2006), Author
  • "Is Latin America Moving Left?” in Augusto López-Claros and Klaus Schwab (eds.)  The Latin America Competitiveness Review 2006: Paving the Way for Regional Prosperity.  Geneva, Switzerland: World Economic Forum (2006), Author
  • "The United States and Latin America: The Road Ahead,” Lasa Forum, 35:4 (Winter 2005), Author
  • "Beyond Benign Neglect: Washington and Latin America,” Current History, Vol. 104, (February 2005), Author
  • "Estados Unidos y el Hemisferio Occidental: Hacia Un Compromiso Efectivo,” Quórum Revista Iberoamericana (Spring 2005), Author
  • "Putting Latin America Back on the Map,” F&D Finance and Development: A quarterly Magazine of the IMF, Vol. 42, No. 4 (December 2005), Author
  • "Presidencies Interrupted,” The Journal of Democracy, Vol. 15, No. 4 (October 2004): 5-19, Author
  • "External Actors in the Transitions to Democracy in Latin America, " in James F. Hollifield and Calvin C. Jillson, eds. Pathways to Democracy: The Political Economy of Democratic Transitions.  London: Routledge (2000), Author

Presentations & Speeches

  • Dr. Valenzuela’s speaking engagements have included the IMF, World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank and trade associations such as CEAL (The Business Council of Latin America), ILAFA (Latin American Iron and Steel Association), banking associations in Colombia and Honduras, the Mexican Pharmaceutical Association, and the Mexican Business Summit.  He also served as a resource person for board of directors meetings in the United States, Latin America and Europe.
  • He has lectured at major universities throughout the world and presented scholarly papers and articles presented at academic association meetings including the International Studies Association, the International Sociological Association, the American Political Science Association, and the Latin American Studies Association.
  • Dr. Valenzuela has published commentaries in newspapers in the United States, Latin America, and Europe, including a regular column for El Universal in Mexico City.  His television appearances include ABC’s Nightline, NBC's Today Show, PBS News Hour, CNN, Fox News, Univisión, NPR, C-Span, BBC World Service, and others.
Print PDF Word Version Print this page