CaribWorldNews, WASHINGTON, D.C., Weds. Mar. 18, 2009: A career diplomat and former U.S. ambassador to Zambia, Venezuela, and Mexico has been named the White House adviser on the Summit of the Americas.
President Barack Obama recently announced the appointment of Ambassador Jeffrey Davidow to the position, weeks ahead of the April 17-19 summit in Trinidad and Tobago.
Davidow is slated to oversee preparations for the President’s participation in the summit and in conjunction with the department of state will help manage summit related diplomacy in the region. He has taken a leave of absence from his post as president of the Institute of the Americas.
Obama is set to lead a 1,000-strong delegation to the summit.
Davidow was born in Boston, Massachusetts. He received a B.A. from the University of Massachusetts in 1965 and an MA from the University of Minnesota in 1967. He also did postgraduate work in India in 1968 on a Fulbright travel grant. He holds an honorary doctor of laws from the University of Massachusetts granted in 2002.
Davidow joined the U.S. Foreign Service in 1969 and began his career as a junior officer at the American Embassy in Guatemala City, Guatemala, from 1970 to 1972. From 1972 to 1974, he was a U.S. political observer in Santiago, Chile, and held the same position in Cape Town, South Africa, from 1974 to 1976. He returned to Washington, D.C. in 1976 to take a position as a desk officer in the Office of Southern African Affairs, and he went on to be a Congressional fellow from 1978 to 1979.
He later became the head of the liaison office at the U.S. Embassy in Harare, Zimbabwe, from 1979 to 1982. He returned shortly thereafter to pursue a fellowship at Harvard University, as well as to take-over as Director of the Office of Southern African Affairs in 1985. On May 5, 1988, President Ronald Reagan nominated Davidow to be U.S. Ambassador to Zambia, a position he held until 1990.
In 1991, President Bill Clinton nominated Davidow to be U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela. Davidow remained ambassador until 1996. From 1996 to 1998, he was the State Department’s chief policy maker for the Western Hemisphere, serving in the position of Assistant Secretary of State.
Clinton again nominated Davidow in 1998, this time as U.S. Ambassador to Mexico. Davidow held this post from August 5, 1998 until September 14, 2002.
After leaving Mexico in September 2002, he returned to Harvard to become a Visiting Fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government and the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies. During the 2002-03 academic year, he worked extensively with undergraduate and graduate students and wrote a book on U.S.-Mexican relations. The US and Mexico: The Bear and the Porcupine was first published in Spanish in Mexico by Casa Editorial Grijalbo and in English by Markus Weiner Publishers in April 2004.
Davidow assumed the presidency of the Institute of the Americas on June 1, 2003. The Institute of the Americas, was founded in 1983.
The Summit of the Americas will bring together all of the 34 democratically elected heads of state in the Western Hemisphere.