Alumni Changemakers: Jeffery A. Salaiz

Alumni Changemakers: Jeffery A. Salaiz

Prioritizing and Strengthening International Relations

To honor our 40 years, we're celebrating our most valuable resource - our alumni - through 40 profiles highlighting their leadership. Alumnus Jeffery A. Salaiz completed the Junior Summer Institute at the University of Michigan in 1995.

Jeffery embodies the values of commitment, versatility, and leadership. Born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, he received a B.A in International Relations from St. Mary’s University. Jeffery went on to receive an M.A. in International Economics from The Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, and later an M.S. in National Security Strategy from the National War College.

Upon receiving his M.A. from SAIS, Jeff began his career as a Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. Department of State, and over two decades later, he remains committed to advancing U.S. national interests on behalf of the American people. His first tour took him to Swaziland in southern Africa as a Political/Economic/Consular Officer. Two years later, he moved to Latin America and became a Consular Officer in Costa Rica.

After that, Jeffery served as a Staff Assistant in the Bureau of Western Affairs in Washington, DC. He went on to become a Political/Military Officer in Haiti and later returned to Africa to serve as the Public Affairs Counselor in Tanzania. After spending three years in Dar-es-Salaam, he went on to become Political Counselor in Abuja, Nigeria for two years. From 2011-12, he served as Liaison Officer to ISAF Joint Command in Kabul, Afghanistan. He returned to DC to serve as Deputy Director in the Office of the Coordinator for Cuban Affairs.

“America’s partnerships are force multipliers in the world.”

Jeffery then became the NSC Director for Central America & the Caribbean in which he played a key role in President Obama’s Cuba policy shift, and led the President’s engagement in two regional Summits. Following his academic year at the National War College, Jeff served overseas as Deputy Chief of Mission in Bamako, Mali. He then served as the Foreign Policy Advisor to the Pentagon’s J5 (Strategy, Plans & Policy) before serving as Chairman Dunford’s last POLAD. Jeff then served as a Senior Advisor in the Bureau of International Security & Non-Proliferation, and later in the U.S. Mission to the Organization of American States.

Jeffery is currently leading the External Affairs portfolio in the political section at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq. Jeffery has remained committed to supporting international relations throughout both his educational and career journey. He has effectively integrated his leadership and policy expertise into bolstering U.S. interests in many regions of the world. As he merges strategy with diplomacy, Jeff nurtures positive connections and guides relationships to strengthen the ties between the United States and the countries in which he serves as an American diplomat.


Thank you, Jeffery, for spending over two decades of your life bringing people together in positive ways! You are not only willing to face challenging situations, but you are bringing forward solutions and unity where there was none. Your leadership and ability to bridge cultures is helping our nation to be more secure and serve as a model of a just and integrated society.



Read more Changemaker profiles here!