Roger F. Noriega is a visiting fellow coordinating the American Enterprise Institute’s program on Western Hemisphere issues. Twice appointed by President George W. Bush (and confirmed by the U.S. Senate) and with 10-year career on Capitol Hill, Ambassador Noriega’s breadth of experience and contacts offers strategic vision and practical insight on the Americas.
As Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs (July 2003 to October 2005), Ambassador Noriega managed a 3,000-person team of professionals in Washington and 50 diplomatic posts to design and implement political and economic strategies in Canada, Latin America, and the Caribbean. He was a leader in an inter-agency team that actively expanded trade and investment opportunities to spur economic growth and to create opportunities for U.S. companies and consumers. He also helped design and execute an annual plan for the effective use of $1.7 billion in U.S. economic assistance in two dozen countries.
As U.S. Ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS) (August 2001 to July 2003), Noriega coordinated complex and sensitive multilateral diplomacy in a 34-member international organization to bolster OAS efforts to promote trade, fight illicit drugs, and defend democracy.
On Capitol Hill, Noriega counseled powerful Congressional leaders on all aspects of U.S. interests in the Americas, drafted historic legislation, and oversaw U.S. aid programs, the Peace Corps, and international narcotics affairs. From July 1997 to August 2001, he was a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff of Chairman Jesse A. Helms (R-NC) and from July 1994 to July 1997, he served on the House International Relations Committee staff of Chairman Benjamin A. Gilman (R-NY).
Other experiences include: senior advisor, OAS (July 1993 to July 1994); senior policy advisor, U.S. Mission to the OAS (August 1990 to January 1993); various program management and public affairs positions, U.S. Agency for International Development and U.S. Department of State (November 1986 to July 1990); press secretary and foreign policy advisor, U.S. Representative Robert Whittaker (R-KS) (May 1983 to October 1986); and research assistant, Kansas Secretary of State (December 1981 to April 1983).
He has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Washburn University of Topeka, Kansas. Ambassador Noriega has been decorated by Governments of Nicaragua and of Peru and has received numerous awards for public service from organizations committed to the promotion of democracy in the Americas.