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From addressing the COVID-19 pandemic to building climate resiliency, mayors and governors are increasingly setting their own foreign policy agendas, reaching across national borders to build relationships to help solve local problems. Subnational diplomacy — which engages state and local officials on global issues — has the potential to be a new source of innovation and creativity in foreign policy, but only if the State Department will let it.
Join the World Affairs Council for a discussion on the growing role of subnational actors like governors and mayors and how they can enhance U.S. diplomacy with Ambassador Nina Hachigian, Deputy Mayor of International Affairs for the City of Los Angeles, and Maryum Saifee, a career U.S. diplomat. Ms. Saifee is participating in this panel in her personal capacity and her views do not necessarily represent the U.S. Department of State. Gael Tarleton, Director for the Office of Intergovernmental Relations for the City of Seattle, will moderate the conversation.
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About the Speakers:
Mayor Eric Garcetti appointed Ambassador Nina Hachigian to be the first Deputy Mayor of International Affairs for Los Angeles and the only one in the United States. Her office connects the world to L.A. and L.A. to the world. They build relationships with foreign partners to bring more jobs, opportunity, culture, ideas, and visitors to Los Angeles and to elevate L.A.’s international leadership, including on climate, inclusion, and innovation. They are also laying the foundations for Angelenos to welcome the world for the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games and to leave behind a great legacy for the City.
From 2014 to 2017, Ambassador Hachigian served as the second U.S. Ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). During her tenure, the United States established a strategic partnership with ASEAN, held the first Leaders’ Summit in the United States, launched a Presidential initiative on economic cooperation, established the U.S.-ASEAN Women’s Leadership Academy and grew the youth program to over 100,000 members. She was awarded the State Department’s Superior Honor Award for her service.
Earlier, Ambassador Hachigian was a Senior Fellow and a Senior Vice President at the Center for American Progress focused on Asia policy and U.S.-China relations. Prior to that, Ambassador Hachigian was the director of the RAND Center for Asia Pacific Policy for four years. Ambassador Hachigian served on the staff of the National Security Council in the Clinton White House from 1998- 1999. She is the editor of Debating China: The U.S. – China Relationship in Ten Conversations (Oxford University Press, 2014) and co-author of The Next American Century: How the U.S. Can Thrive as Other Powers Rise (Simon & Schuster, 2008).
Ambassador Hachigian was a founding Board member of the State Department’s International Security Advisory Board. She was also a founder and co-leader of Women Ambassadors Serving America (WASA), a group of some 200 current and former U.S. Ambassadors. She also co-founded and currently co-chairs the Leadership Council for Women in National Security (LCWINS).
She is an Advisory Board Member of the Pacific Council on International Policy, Foreign Policy for America and National Security Action, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Hachigian received her B.S. from Yale University, magna cum laude, and her J.D. from Stanford Law School, with distinction. She lives in the great City of Los Angeles with her husband and children.
About the Moderator
In January, the Harrell Administration appointed Gael Tarleton as Director for the Office of Intergovernmental Relations for the City of Seattle. The Intergovernmental Relations team represents Seattle’s Mayoral Office and the City Council in its official relationships with local, regional, state, federal, tribal, and international governments.
Gael likes to describe this job as the first time she is able to draw on experiences gained throughout her career working in government, industry, academia, non-profit organizations, and most recently in elected office. Gael served four terms in the State House of Representatives representing the 36th District in Seattle, holding various leadership positions including as House Finance Chair and member of the Appropriations Committee. She previously had been elected King County-wide twice to the Port of Seattle Commission, resigning her commission in 2013 to serve in the state legislature.
Before politics, Gael worked for years at the University of Washington as a research advisor and director of corporate and foundation relations. She also was the Vice President for International Business at a Fortune 300 science and technology company and a senior defense intelligence analyst at the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency. For more than 20 years, Gael has served as a volunteer board member for several national and local non-profit organizations. She holds an M.A. In Government and National Security from Georgetown University and a B.S. from Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service.