September 29, 2021
Ambassador Mark L. Asquino
In January, President Biden pledged to reverse the disastrous mismanagement of the Department of State during the Trump Administration. He nominated as his secretary of state was Antony Blinken, a highly-experienced foreign policy expert. Blinken has brought to his job years of experience as a senior Congressional staffer, senior official at the National Security Council official and as a former deputy secretary of state in the Obama administration. Biden and Blinken have both pledged to restore the foreign policy preeminence of the Department of State, which has been in decline for decades.
Eight months into his tenure, Blinken has successfully lobbied for a significant increase in State’s budget, including funds to expand its staffing. To address the old refrain that the Foreign Service is “pale, male and Yale,” he’s appointed the Department’s first diversity and inclusion officer to attract more minorities and women to its ranks.
But Secretary Blinken has come under harsh criticism, including from some in the Democratic Party, for his handling of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and especially management of the Special Immigrant Program. Some Republicans have called for him to resign. Many in the media claim that military and security priorities continue to overshadow the traditional role of diplomacy in advancing U.S. foreign policy interests throughout the world.
Ambassador Asquino will evaluate how well Secretary Blinken has done during the first year of the Biden Administration in restoring the Department’s influence and mandate in foreign policy formulation and implementation.
Ambassador Mark L. Asquino is a retired, career Foreign Service Officer. His three decades plus career included postings in Latin America, Europe, Central Asia and Africa. During 2012-2015, he served as U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, Spain’s only former colony in sub-Saharan Africa. Mark is fluent in Spanish and
The Speaker Ambassador Mark L. Asquino is a retired, career Foreign Service Officer. His three decades plus career included postings in Latin America, Europe, Central Asia and Africa. During 2012-2015, he served as U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, Spain’s only former colony in sub-Saharan Africa. Mark is fluent in Spanish and has a working knowledge of French, Russian, Romanian and Italian.
In the Spring of 2016, the U.S. Department of State asked him to return temporarily to government service. Mark spent ten weeks as the Acting Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Port Louis, Mauritius. In recent years he’s accepted short-term assignments with State’s Office of Inspector General.
Prior to entering the Foreign Service, Mark was the Fulbright Lecturer in American Studies at the University of Oviedo in Asturias, Spain (1975-76). He earned a Ph.D. in American Studies from Brown University, where he also received his undergraduate degree.