Ambassador Ayalde recently retired from the U.S. Foreign Service following a distinguished 38-year career with assignments in Washington, D.C., and abroad. She dedicated her diplomatic career to foreign affairs, development, defense and security in Latin America and the Caribbean. Until September 2019, Ambassador Ayalde served as the Civilian Deputy to the Commander and Foreign Policy Advisor at the United States Southern Command in Miami. She led the engagement with the Department of State and Embassies abroad, ensuring coordination between policy and Command-sponsored security cooperation programs.
Previously, she served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Federative Republic of Brazil (2013-16), overseeing a robust bilateral and global policy agenda which included political, economic and security issues. She led the U.S. support to the 2014 World Cup, the 2016 Summer Olympics, and the 2016 Para Olympic Games hosted by Brazil. Prior to this appointment she served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, overseeing bilateral relations with Central America, the Caribbean, and Cuba. She was also the Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Latin American and Caribbean Bureau for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), guiding high priority development assistance in Mexico, Haiti, and Central America. Following her assignment as USAID Mission Director in Colombia, where she had responsibility for the development assistance portfolio under Plan Colombia, she was confirmed as the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Paraguay. She also held assignments in Bangladesh, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Bolivia with USAID. Ambassador Ayalde earned her BA from the School of International Studies at American University in Washington, D.C. and a Master of Public Health from Tulane University in Louisiana. She is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese and has a working knowledge of French.