Lunch Program: Drew Blakeney - Foreign Policy Advisor, US Army South - "Political and Economic Developments in Latin America and the Caribbean"
Drew G. Blakeney is a Career Member of the United States Senior Foreign Service, Class of Counselor. He currently serves as the Foreign Policy Adviser at Army South, the U.S. Army component command of U.S. Southern Command, in San Antonio, Texas. In this capacity, he provides foreign policy counsel regarding relations with 31 countries and 16 dependent territories of Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. Mr. Blakeney has a Bachelor’s Degree in Diplomacy and International Security from Georgetown University, and a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from Princeton University. He is a fluent Spanish speaker; his other foreign languages are Macedonian and German.
Mr. Blakeney has focused on the Western Hemisphere throughout most of his 25-year diplomatic career. Most recently, he served as Director for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs for the Eastern Caribbean, based at the U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown, Barbados. In that position, he provided assistance to regional militaries, police forces, prosecutors, and judges under the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative, and supported DEA’s cocaine interdiction efforts. Prior to that, he served as Political Counselor in Bogotá, Colombia, leading the Embassy’s political section and reporting on the Colombian Government’s peace process with FARC insurgents, and the process’s impact on U.S. interests. During 2010-2011 Mr. Blakeney led the hybrid, civilian and military Provincial Reconstruction Team in Karbala, Iraq. The team performed a wide variety of political, economic, and assistance functions, in close coordination with Embassy Baghdad and the U.S. Army’s 1st and 3rd Infantry Divisions.
As Political and Economic Counselor in Guatemala City during 2007-2010, Mr. Blakeney focused on judicial reform and anti-corruption efforts, in addition to promoting pro-business and pro-growth policies. As Public Affairs Officer in Havana, Cuba, during 2005-2006, he served as spokesman for the U.S. Interests Section, and programmed the Interests Section’s streaming, electronic billboard with pro-democracy and human rights messages, which received international media attention. He also supported Cuba’s political dissidents, and distributed “El Nuevo Herald” and other censored, international news. During 2001-2004, as Political and Economic Section Chief in Skopje, Macedonia, Mr. Blakeney was part of a U.S., E.U., OSCE, and NATO team that facilitated implementation of the Ohrid Peace Accord, thereby stopping a nascent Balkan conflict. Mr. Blakeney’s other assignments were as Argentina Desk Officer, where he worked closely with the Treasury Department on sovereign default issues; Nicaragua, where he served as liaison to the former Contra rebels and covered human rights and labor issues; Colombia, where he did human rights work in support of Plan Colombia, the major U.S. assistance package to combat narco-terrorism; and Mexico, where he covered the Chiapas rebellion, human rights, and interviewed approximately 50,000 applicants for non-immigrant visas.
Mr. Blakeney is the recipient of two Superior Honor Awards, two Meritorious Honor Awards, and the State Department’s Award for Heroism, which he received in Iraq. He also received certificates of appreciation for close cooperation from the FBI and DEA.
Lunch, Sides, and Salad bar. Catered by Circle G BBQ.
$10 - Member Price
$15 - Regular Price
Doors open - 11:00am
Lunch Buffet - 11:30am
Program - 12:00am - 1:00pm
Location: Aggie Park, 6205 West Ave. San Antonio TX 78213