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UNIDOS: Inclusivity For A Stronger Nation
Thursday, October 20, 2022 – 3:00 p.m – 5:00 p.m. (EDT)
October 17, 2022

Panel One

Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation through Hispanic Diplomacy

Panel Two

Racial Equity in Foreign Policy

About the Event:
Join the Hispanic Employee Council of Foreign Affairs Agencies (HECFAA) and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Global Public Affairs to close out Hispanic Heritage Month 2022 with its 2022 Virtual Student Foreign Policy Forum. Hear what it’s like serving as an American Diplomat and representing the United States at home and around the world. Learn about internships and fellowships and the different paths available to help you enter a career in foreign affairs. Participants will have an opportunity to ask your questions live from the panelists.

3:00 PM-4:00 PM (EDT): Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation through Hispanic Diplomacy

Panel One 

Opening Remarks:

Under Secretary José W. Fernández, Bureau of Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment

Jose W. Fernandez was confirmed by the Senate as Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment on August 6, 2021.  He leads the State Department’s bureaus and offices that stand at the center of the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts on climate change, clean energy, health, supply chain security, and other economic priorities. Under Secretary Fernandez is also the United States Alternate Governor to the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the Inter-American Development Bank.  From 2009 to 2013, he served as the Assistant Secretary of State for Economic, Energy, and Business Affairs, one of the bureaus he now oversees. More









Regina Navarro-Gomez, Program Coordinator, Office of International Visitors, Bureau of Educational & Cultural Affairs

Regina Navarro-Gomez is a Program Coordinator covering Europe and Africa for the Office of International Visitors with the Bureau of Educational & Cultural Affairs. Previously, she was a Program Assistant at the Department’s Foreign Service Institute, supporting the Digital Learning Division. She started her career at the Department through the Virtual Student Federal Services (VSFS) internship, where she interned for two consecutive academic years with ECA and the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs (WHA) Office of the Coordinator for Cuban Affairs. At WHA, Regina monitored and reported human rights violations; at ECA, she supported the International Visitor Leadership Program. Regina holds a B.A. in International Studies and B.A. in Political Science from Portland State University. She is currently pursuing her MAIA at George Washington University specializing in Latin America and Democracy. Regina is a board member for the Hispanic Employees Council in Foreign Agencies (HECFAA) where she is the Social Chair and mentors four interns.







Marcos Correa – Director, Career Development and Training Division, Bureau of Global Talent Management

Marcos Correa currently serves as Director for the Career Development and Training Division within the Office of Civil Service Talent Management in the Bureau of Global Talent Management. In this capacity, Marcos is responsible for a team of professionals that develop a range of programs and initiatives to facilitate career development and mobility for the Department’s 11,000 plus Civil Service employees. Marcos is a graduate of the Excellence in Government Fellowship Program, Executive Leadership Development Program, and a Positive Intelligence Program that fosters mental fitness and is grounded in neuroscience principles and applied practice. Marcos recently co-managed the development and implementation of the Secretary’s Leadership Seminar in partnership with the Harvard Business School.  Originally from San Antonio, TX, Marcos has lived in the Washington, DC area for the past 17 years and was introduced to the Department as one of the first interns State hosted through the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities back in 2001.  He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology of Organizations and a Master of Science in Organizational Management.





Antoinette Hurtado – Diplomat in Residence for the Southwest

Antoinette Hurtado is a career Foreign Service Officer at the U.S. Department of State with 18 years of service. She has served in a number of countries including Australia, Brazil, Afghanistan, and Italy, and has studied Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian. Antoinette joined the State Department after graduate school as a recipient of the Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship. She has a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and a Master in Public Policy from Harvard University. She currently serves as the Diplomat in Residence for the Southwest region. More You can learn more about her assignments and experiences here







Megan Lysaght, Management Analyst, Bureau of Global Talent Management

Megan Lysaght (she/hers) is a Management Analyst in the Global Talent Management Bureau’s Retention Unit.  Hailing from Ventura, CA, Ms. Lysaght is a Mexican-American and is a first generation college graduate.  She earned both her BA and MPPA from California Lutheran University, a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI). Ms. Lysaght started her public service as a Peace Corps Community Economic Development Volunteer in Azerbaijan, where she met her now-wife. 


4:00 PM-5:00 PM (EDT): Racial Equity in Foreign Policy

Panel Two

Opening Remarks

Moises Mendoza, HECFAA Vice President for Foreign Service

Moises Mendoza is Vice President, Foreign Service, for the Hispanic Employees Council for Foreign Affairs Agencies (HECFAA). He is a Foreign Service Officer currently working as a Watch Officer in the Department of State’s Operations Center in Washington D.C.  Moises previously served as a consular officer in Matamoros, Mexico, a political officer in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and as a desk officer responsible for the United States’ bilateral relationships with Belize and Panama. Moises was the 2019 winner of the W. Averell Harriman Award for Constructive Dissent by an Entry Level Officer and the 2020 Secretary of State Award for Outstanding Volunteerism Abroad. Before joining the Foreign Service, he was a journalist whose work appeared in publications ranging from Hemispheres Magazine to the Houston Chronicle and the Los Angeles Times. Moises speaks French, German and Spanish and holds a Bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and Master’s degrees from Columbia University and the Hertie School of Governance.








Hermes Grullon, Political Officer, U.S. Mission to the Organization of American States

Hermes Grullon, a Foreign Service Officer since June 2015, and currently serves as Political Officer at the U.S. Mission to the Organization of American States.  He previously served as a Watch Officer in the Department of State’s 24/7 Operations Center from 2020 to 2021; as a Consular Officer/Acting Deputy Consul General in U.S. Embassy Managua from 2018 to 2020; and as the Political Section Chief in U.S. Embassy Djibouti from 2016 and 2018.  He is an alumnus of the International Career Advancement Program; Pickering Fellowship; Rangel Scholars Program; Gilman Scholarship; and Institute for International Public Policy Fellowship.  He currently serves as the VP of the Pickering and Rangel Fellowship Association and as an adviser to the Hispanic Employee Council of Foreign Affairs Agencies. As a first-generation college student, he completed his B.A. at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, and his MA in International Relations at Johns Hopkins SAIS, while also completing coursework at Howard University. He is originally from Brooklyn, New York, born to Dominican parents.  He is married and has two children.







Jessica Huber, Senior Policy Advisor to the Special Representative for Racial Equity and Justice

Jessica Huber is a human rights expert with 20 years’ experience designing and implementing programming and policy in conflict and post-conflict transition settings around the world. Currently, she is the senior policy advisor to the Special Representative for Racial Equity and Justice, Desiree Cormier Smith, at the U.S. Department of State. Previously, she led the Marginalized Populations team in the Office of Global Programming in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, which focuses on support for underserved communities including LGBTQI+ people, persons with disabilities, racial and ethnic marginalized populations, and women and girls. She managed the Global Equality Fund, a multi-donor public-private partnership fund that advances the human rights of LGBTI individuals and organizations. Prior to joining the State Department, Jessica worked for human rights non-governmental organizations, including four years in Gulu, Uganda on humanitarian crisis and post-conflict peace building programming. She has a Masters of Philosophy in Peace Studies from Trinity College Dublin.





Laura Jimenez, Senior Advisor, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs

Laura Jimenez serves as Senior Advisor for the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs. Prior to this role, she served on the Biden-Harris Presidential Transition working to engage stakeholders with the Agency Review team. Laura previously served on the Biden For President campaign for nearly two years as the campaign’s National Latino Engagement Director. In this role, Laura worked with national Latino organizations, elected officials, stakeholders and allies to build a coalition across the country. Before joining the Biden for President campaign, Laura served as the Chief of Staff for Florida State Senator José Javier Rodríguez. Previously, she worked on the Andrew Gillum for Governor and Hillary for America campaigns in Florida during the 2018 and 2016 election cycles, respectively. Her roots in Florida politics date back to 2012, when she began her work in the Florida Legislature and on state legislative races.









Rocio Mercado-Garcia, Program Policy Coordinator, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs

Rocio Mercado-Garcia serves as Policy Program Coordinator in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs’ Office of Policy, Planning, and Coordination. Rocio has served at Embassy Mexico City, Embassy Bogota, and Embassy Paris as well as domestically in the Office of the Spokesperson, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs and as Multilateral Affairs Officer in the Bureau of International Organizations. Before joining the Department, Rocio interned for Congresswoman Hilda Solis in California’s 32nd congressional district. Rocio studied International Relations and Public Policy at the University of California Los Angeles and earned a Master of Arts degree in International Relations specializing in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution in Non-Proliferation from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. Rocio is a 2020-2021 Excellence in Government Fellow and recently completed the Women’s Leadership program at Yale School of Management. Rocio joined the Department of State family in 2007 as a Thomas R. Pickering Fellow. She is active in her community and enjoys spending time in the great outdoors with her family.





Natalia Molano, Spokesperson, U.S. Consulate in Sao Paulo, Brazil

Natalia Molano is a Foreign Service Officer currently serving as the spokesperson at the U.S. Consulate in Sao Paulo, Brazil. She joined the Foreign Service in 2009 as a Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellow and worked in Washington, Guatemala City, Port Moresby, Kabul, and Lima. She earned a B.A. in International Affairs and a M.P.A. from The George Washington University.  Natalia is a Floridian with Colombian roots. 







Closing Remarks

Ambassador Rebecca E. Gonzales, Director, Office of Foreign Missions

Ambassador Rebecca E. Gonzales is the Director of the Department of State’s Office of Foreign Missions (OFM), a position which is the equivalent of an Assistant Secretary of State.  Ambassador Gonzales is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor. From 2018 to 2022 she served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Lesotho.  During this period, the United States and the Kingdom of Lesotho achieved significant gains in the areas of health and HIV/AIDS control/prevention, human rights, and combatting human trafficking. Prior to assuming her current role, Ambassador Gonzales’ enjoyed a wide-ranging career with the Department of State. Ambassador Gonzales earned a B.A. in International Affairs and an M.B.A. from George Washington University.  She received an M.A. in National Resource Strategy from the Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy at Fort McNair, Washington, DC.  A native of Texas, she speaks fluent Spanish and professional-level Greek. More


Founded in 1982, the Hispanic Employee Council of Foreign Affairs Agencies (HECFAA) is a non-profit organization supporting employees affiliated with the U.S. Department of State.  HECFAA works to promote the recruitment, retention, and career advancement of Hispanics and promote a foreign affairs workforce that reflects the diversity of the United States.