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Senior State Department Official With Expertise in Latin America Joins Covington

November 8, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC, November 8, 2011 — Dr. Arturo Valenzuela, a former senior State Department official who held key positions in formulating and executing U.S. foreign policy towards the Americas, is joining Covington & Burling, strengthening the firm’s ability to assist Latin American and U.S.-based corporations expand their global presence.

Dr. Valenzuela joins the firm’s Washington office as a senior adviser for Latin America. In that role, he will build on his deep experience with the governmental and private sectors in the region to bolster the firm’s presence in Latin America.

In 2009, President Obama appointed Dr. Valenzuela to serve as the Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, a position requiring Senate confirmation that he held until August 31, 2011. In that role, Dr. Valenzuela developed and executed U.S. policy toward the nations of the Americas, from Canada to Argentina and Chile. As the country’s chief diplomat for the Western Hemisphere, he managed the second largest geographic bureau at the State Department.

A professor of government, and founding director of the Center for Latin American Studies at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Dr. Valenzuela served as special assistant to the president and senior director for Inter-American Affairs at the National Security Council during President Clinton's second term in office. During President Clinton’s first term, he served as deputy assistant secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, with primary responsibility for the implementation of U.S. foreign policy toward Mexico.

In addition to his academic expertise as an author and leading scholar focusing on Latin American politics and U.S.-Latin American relations, Dr. Valenzuela has extensive experience advising Fortune 500 corporations with investments in the region and is a frequent speaker at events organized by Latin American private sector groups.

Timothy Hester, chair of Covington’s management committee, said Dr. Valenzuela would be a vital resource for clients.

“We are very focused on assisting our clients with their critical legal, strategic and policy matters in Latin America, and on working with companies in Latin America that have aspirations for expanding their businesses in the U.S., Europe, China, India, or other areas of the world where we’re active,” Mr. Hester said. “We expect that Dr. Valenzuela will be a powerful resource for clients navigating these complex intersections of law and public policy.”

Prior to returning to government service, Dr. Valenzuela served as a member of the executive committee of the board of directors of the National Council of La Raza and a board member of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs. He was also a member of the International Advisory Board of REPSOL/YPF in Madrid and a board member of Corpbanca, a leading Chilean commercial bank.

“I am delighted to be associated with a firm with the prestige and depth of Covington & Burling as it expands its capacity to serve companies with a global reach,” Dr. Valenzuela said.

Dr. Valenzuela has been an adviser to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and served as a consultant to the Senate Democratic Policy Committee. As part of his scholarly work, he has served as an advisor on political and constitutional reform in Bolivia, Chile, Brazil, Mexico and Colombia. He has been a consultant to the Ford Foundation, the Inter-American Foundation, Freedom House and other non-profit organizations.

For his diplomatic contributions, he has been honored with the National Order of the Southern Cross by the government of Brazil and the Order of Boyacá by the government of Colombia. He is listed in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in American Higher Education. A special 2008 edition of Poder Magazine listed him as one of the 59 most influential Hispanics in the United States.

Rubén Kraiem, Covington’s leading corporate partner for business interests in Latin America, said Mr. Valenzuela will play a crucial role in the firm’s ability to serve both U.S. and Latin American clients.

“Dr. Valenzuela brings so much to the table with his government service, his academic knowledge and keen business sense,” Mr. Kraiem said. “He will play a unique role in assisting our Latin American clients as they move into the United States, Europe and Asia.”

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