Ambassador Ayalde assumed duties as Civilian Deputy to the Commander and Foreign Policy Advisor, U.S. Southern Command, Miami, FL, in January 2017. As Civilian Deputy to the Commander, she is responsible for overseeing the development and refinement of USSOUTHCOM’s regional strategy and security cooperation plans as well as the Command’s strategic communication, public affairs and human rights initiatives. She also plays a key role in interagency and business engagement. As Foreign Policy Advisor, Ambassador Ayalde provides the Commander and other senior command staff with geo-political, political-military, and economic advice. She also supports the Command’s relationship with the Department of State and U.S. Embassies abroad.
Ambassador Ayalde came to USSOUTHCOM after serving as the U.S. Ambassador to the Federative Republic of Brazil (2013-2016). She has also served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs (Central America, the Caribbean, and Cuba), Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Latin American and Caribbean Bureau for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Paraguay (2008-2011). She has also been posted in Bangladesh, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Colombia, and Washington, D.C. with USAID.
Ambassador Ayalde is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service with the rank of Career Minister. She is the recipient of numerous honors and awards.
Before entering the U.S. Foreign Service in 1982, Ambassador Ayalde received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the School of International Studies at American University in Washington, D.C. She also received a Master of Public Health from Tulane University in Louisiana. She is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese and has a working knowledge of French.
Ambassador Ayalde is married and has two daughters.
(Current as of January 2017)