RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson spoke at RTI International about economic competitiveness and public-private partnerships in the Western Hemisphere.
She described the importance of free trade, small business exports, education and energy in the region.
"You can't have success with economic partnership unless it is accompanied by education partnership," Jacobson said. "Workforce development and building human capital are key to having inclusive and sustained economic growth."
She spoke to about 60 RTI staff members and members of the Triangle business community.
Aaron Williams, executive vice president of RTI's International Development Group, also provided remarks, describing RTI's work and commitment to Latin America and the Caribbean.
Jacobson was in the Triangle area to speak at the NAFTA @20: The Future of North American Competitiveness conference being held at Duke University.
Jacobson was sworn in as assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs on March 30, 2012. Previously, she was the acting assistant secretary and the principal deputy assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, with responsibility for regional political and economic issues, management and personnel, and regional security issues. In addition, she was the senior coordinator for the citizen security initiatives in the Western Hemisphere.
She also served as deputy assistant secretary for Canada, Mexico and North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) issues in the Bureau, director of the Office of Mexican Affairs, and deputy chief of Mission at the United States Embassy in Lima, Peru. As director of the Office of Policy Planning and Coordination in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, she covered issues such as civil-military relations, human rights, foreign assistance and counter-narcotics throughout the hemisphere.
Jacobson was also coordinator for Cuban Affairs within the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs and served on the National Security Council.
She holds a master's degree in law and diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and a bachelor's from Brown University. She also worked for the United Nations in the Center for Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs.
She is the author of the articles "The Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women" in The United Nations and Human Rights publication, and "Liberation Theology as a Revolutionary Ideology in Latin America."