President, Institute of the Americas and former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State

Ambassador Jeffrey Davidow

About the Speaker

Ambassador Jeffrey Davidow assumed the presidency of the Institute of the Americas on June 1, 2003, and was recently involved with coordinating the U.S. role in the Summit of the Americas for heads of state in the Western Hemisphere. Retiring with the personal rank of career ambassador after 34 years of service with the State Department, he served in critical leadership positions as Assistant Secretary of State for Latin America and ambassador to Venezuela and Mexico.

During his Foreign Service career, Davidow focused his efforts on improving relations between the United States and Latin America. While serving as a congressional staff aide, he organized the first congressional hearings to explore the feasibility of a North America free trade zone. He went on to hold senior positions in U.S. embassies in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Guatemala and Chile.

He was appointed ambassador to Venezuela in 1993 and in 1996 was named Assistant Secretary of State, acting as the State Department's chief policy maker for the Hemisphere. In 1998, President Bill Clinton named him ambassador to Mexico. President George W. Bush asked him to remain in that post until 2002.

After leaving Mexico in September 2002, Davidow went to Harvard University as a Visiting Fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government and the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies. He is the author of two books, A Peace in Southern Africa: The Lancaster Conference on Rhodesia and The U.S. and Mexico: The Bear and the Porcupine.