Ambassador Abelardo L. Valdez, a Baylor Law alumnus, has been elected President of the Council of American Ambassadors (CAA). Ambassador Valdez practices international law in Washington, D.C., and San Antonio.
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 ('74), J.D. degree from Baylor Law School ('70) and a B.S. degree in civil engineering from Texas A&M University ('64). 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 visiting lecturer or visiting professor at Harvard University, 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.
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 Distinguished Alumnus Award from Baylor University and the Founder's Award of the American GI Forum.
He resides in Washington, D.C., and San Antonio.
The Council of American Ambassadors, a nonprofit, nonpartisan association, is comprised of more than 200 former and incumbent non-career US ambassadors who have served presidents of both political parties. The Council endeavors to educate the public on international issues and to prepare the next generation of young leaders for careers in diplomacy and international affairs. The organization holds conferences, conducts overseas fact-finding missions, and publishes a bi-annual journal, The Ambassadors REVIEW.