Abelardo L. Valdez

Abelardo L. Valdez is President Emeritus of the Council of American Ambassadors. Previously he served as President and Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors from 2010 to 2012. He is also the Founder of the Council of American Ambassadors' Fellowship Program, which trains undergraduates for careers in diplomacy and international affairs. He practices international law in Washington, DC and San Antonio, TX.

He served as the United States Ambassador and Chief of Protocol for The White House from 1979-1981. Ambassador Valdez also was the Assistant Administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean of the US Agency for International Development from 1977-1979; General Counsel for the Inter-American Foundation from 1973-1975; and an attorney for the Overseas Private Investment Corporation from 1971-1973. During his military service, he served as a military aide to President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Ambassador Valdez received his LL.M. degree from Harvard Law School, J.D. degree from Baylor Law School and a B.S. degree in civil engineering from Texas A&M University. He also pursued graduate studies in international law at The Hague Academy of International Law in The Netherlands. He has lectured and written extensively on international trade and investment issues and US-Latin American relations and has been a Distinguished Visiting Lecturer or Distinguuished Visitng Professor at Harvard Kennedy School of Giovernment, Texas A&M University, Baylor University, Trinity University and the University of Santa Clara. He is recognized as one of the original proponents and architects of the North American Free Trade Agreement and of a Western Hemisphere Free Trade Area, and served as an advisor on the NAFTA negotiations.

He is a member of numerous professional and scholarly organizations, and has served, and continues to serve, on various corporate and philanthropic Boards, including the US Chamber of Commerce, the Council of American Ambassadors, the Hispanic Council on International Relations, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, The American University, the Center for International Business of Texas A&M University, the Association of Former Students of Texas A & M, and the Development Board of the University of Texas Health Science Center. He also served as the Chairman of the International Committee of the Greater Washington Board of Trade, a member of the Rivlin Commission on the Financial Priorities of the District of Columbia, and an honorary member of the US Christopher Columbus Quincentennial Jubilee Commission. He has served on the board of directors of the Hemispheric National Bank and Vista Magazine, and the International advisory Board of the National Bank of Washington. He is a member of the State Bar of Texas, the District of Columbia Bar Association and the Bar of the United States Supreme Court.

Ambassador Valdez has received numerous awards for his public service and has been decorated by King Juan Carlos of Spain with the Order of Isabel La Catolica. He has received the Presidential Service Award for his military service at the White House, Distinguished Alumnus Award from Baylor University, the Chairman's Award of the Council of American Ambassadors, and the Founder's Award of the American GI Forum. He resides in Washington, DC and San Antonio, TX.

Ambassadorial Post(s)

Chief of Protocol, (1979 - 1981)
Assistant Administrator for Latin America, USAID, (1977 - 1979)

Areas of Expertise

  • Economic - Trade