Ambassador Alexander Arvizu spent 36 years as a career Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State, achieving the rank of Minister-Counselor. He advanced American interests with multiple countries in various stages of political transition, often against the backdrop of complex security environments.
As the longest-serving U.S. Ambassador to Albania, from 2010 until 2015, Ambassador Arvizu championed initiatives designed to combat official corruption, promote media transparency and accountability, and strengthen grassroots participation in civil society. Earlier in his career, as the Deputy Chief of Mission in Thailand, Alex directed the multi-dimensional U.S. Government crisis response to the catastrophic Indian Ocean tsunami in late 2004.
Ambassador Arvizu held several challenging senior policymaking positions in Washington. While Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asia and the Pacific 2007-2009, he strengthened coordination with key American allies Japan and South Korea in the face of threatening behavior from North Korea. As Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement 2015-2017, he was responsible for overseeing multi-million dollar assistance programs for the Middle East and Africa focused on counterterrorism and criminal justice reform.
Previously, Ambassador Arvizu served as Director for Asian Affairs at the National Security Council, shepherding inputs from the Department of Treasury, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and other U.S. agencies in response to the Asian Financial Crisis in the late 1990s, which had devastated the economies of South Korea, Indonesia, and Thailand.
Ambassador Arvizu is a first-generation American. His mother was from Kyoto, Japan, and his father – an enlisted U.S Army infantryman with service spanning thirty years from the Second World War to Vietnam – was a native of Dolores Hidalgo, Mexico. The family settled in Colorado Springs, where he grew up. Through his studies, he earned a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University, where he has studied several languages, including Japanese, Korean, Thai, and Khmer. Later on, he served as a mentor to the State Department chapter of the Asian American Foreign Affairs Association. Currently, Ambassador Arvizu is married with one daughter and is a devoted Washington Nationals season ticket holder.