First Geographic Bureau Resignation: WHA’s Arturo Valenzuela to Return to Georgetown

Arturo Valenzuela y la embajadora Vilma MartínezImage via WikipediaDuring the DPB today, the State Dept spokesman was asked about the resignation of Arturo Valenzuela, the Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs (WHA): 

QUESTION: Okay. (Inaudible) reports that Assistant Secretary Valenzuela is resigning. Is there a policy thing going on there?

MR. TONER: Is there a what?

QUESTION: Is it a policy matter or —

MR. TONER: Look, no, this is very straightforward. He did announce that he’ll return this summer to Georgetown University. And simply put, he was on a two-year leave of absence, and he’ll resume his duties there as a professor of government. We are certainly appreciative, deeply appreciative of Assistant Secretary Valenzuela’s service in two administrations, and he’s going to apply his four decades of academic experience and service to – back into higher education, but we’re certainly appreciative of all that he’s accomplished during his tenure here. And certainly, we’ll have more to say. I believe he’s going to – he’s obviously announced his resignation so that we can work on finding a successor, but I don’t believe he’s going to actually leave until sometime this summer.

It looks like Mr.Valenzuela is actually the first Assistant Secretary to tweet his leaving.

WHAAsstSecty Arturo A. Valenzuela
Announced this week my return to @Georgetown faculty sometime this summer. Have been delighted to serve.

Dr. Arturo Valenzuela assumed responsibilities as Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs on November 10, 2009. He was previously Professor of Government and Director of the Center for Latin American Studies in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. He is a specialist on the origins and consolidation of democracy, the institutional dimensions of democratic governance, Latin American politics, and U.S.-Latin American relations. Prior to joining the Georgetown faculty he was Professor of Political Science and Director of the Council on Latin American Studies at Duke University. He has been a Visiting Scholar at Oxford University, the University of Sussex, the University of Florence (Italy) and the Catholic University of Chile.

Dr. Valenzuela holds a Doctorate and a Master’s degree in Political Science from Columbia University, and a B.A. summa cum laude in Political Science and Religion from Drew University.

The Department has grouped countries of the world in areas of responsibility under six bureaus. With the  departure of Mr. Valenzuela, that leaves two career and three political appointees in the remaining five bureaus. If Mr. Valenzuela departs at the end of summer, his term served would be approximately 21 months, three months short of two years.  But this presumably would allow for the nomination and confirmation of a successor in the next 3-6 months; with still about 18 months of tenure for the incoming assistant secretary before the next administration is elected/reelected and takes office.    

Bureau of African Affairs (AF) | Carson (Career FSO recalled from retirement)

Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs (EAP) | Campbell (Non-career)

Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs (EUR) | Gordon (Non-career)

Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA)
| Feltman (Career FSO)

Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs (SCA) | Blake (Career FSO)

Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs (WHA) |