top of page


Building a Career in Diplomacy

Building a Career in Diplomacy

Building a Career in Diplomacy


Mr. Arreaga spoke on November 1.

Contributing Writer

November 15, 2023

Vincent Mase '25

On November 1, Mr. Luis Arreaga, former United States ambassador to Guatemala, visited the school as a part of the annual Ambassador Speaker Series. 

Mr. Arreaga’s visit was organized by Mr. Dave Thompson, director of international programs, as a part of the annual Ambassador Speaker Series, an initiative created in partnership with the American Academy of Diplomacy. 

The school’s association with the AAD, which brought Former Assistant Secretary of State Molly Williamson to campus last year, was created by former Ambassador Bob Beecroft ’58. 

Mr. Arreaga described his childhood in Guatemala in the 1950s as very modest. As a child, he wanted to study in America, and he soon found himself interested in American diplomacy. 

At 17, he attended a foreign exchange program that allowed him to spend the remainder of his teenage years in Pennsylvania. 

He later earned a Masters in Management and a PhD in Economics from the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee. 

Mr. Arreaga began his career in Honduras and went on to work in El Salvador and Peru for USAID. After serving in a variety of diplomatic posts in Europe, South America and Canada, Mr. Arreaga was given an usual assignment–he was posted to his country of birth, Guatemala. 

According to Mr. Arreaga, the State Department typically refrains from sending individuals with connections to a country to be ambassador to said country. In order to gain his position and security clearance, Mr. Arreaga went through stringent background checks and had to renounce his Guatemalan citizenship.

During his time as Ambassador to Guatemala, he was heavily scrutinized by both the American and Guatemalan governments. 

In his talk on November 1, Mr. Arreaga encouraged students of all backgrounds to consider a career in diplomacy and expressed pride that the U.S. asentative of America’s diversity. 

In particular, he highlighted the challenge of balancing personal convictions as an immigrant and national interests in his work. For example, when the Trump administration deported Guatemalan illegal immigrants infected with Covid-19, Mr. Arreaga’s personal convictions were strongly against the decision. 

However, as part of his work, he was tasked with defending the policy to the Guatemalan government. 

A clear theme of the talk was Mr. Arreaga’s joy in his work. Mr. Arreaga discussed the benefits of raising children around the world, saying that he believed exposure to various cultures made them more mature than others their age. 

Mr. Arreaga’s time as Ambassador was, according to him, shaped by the Trump Administration’s poor relations with Central American nations and the coronavirus pandemic. 

Despite the crises, however, Mr. Arreaga advocated for diplomatic careers and said that he was proud to represent America abroad.

Vincent Mase is a contributing writer for The Record.

November 16th

Read the latest issue of The Record as it appears in print.

The Latest

Our Picks

Debate Team Dominates Home Tournament in Historic Season

What Makes a Good All-School Speaker?

Where Does Our Trash Go?

There Ain’t No Such Thing as a Free Lunch

The Early Bird is Sleep Deprived

Conservation is Fashionable at Vintage Closet

Inside the College Recruitment Process with Committed Athletes

Renovations to Memorial Dorm Forces School to Adjust Rooming Plans

Courage Garden Unveiled During Emotional Ceremony

Editor's Note: This article was recovered from The Record's online archive. There may be stylistic and visual errors that interrupt the reading experience, as well as missing photos. To read this article as it appeared in print, view our print archives.

More reads


Editorials are written by members of The Record's Executive Board. They typically center on issues related to the school or student life on campus.

bottom of page