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The Secretary’s Fireside Chat in Honor of Hispanic Heritage Month
Tuesday, October 18, 2022 – 11:00 a.m – 12:00 p.m.
October 5, 2022

The Secretary’s Fireside Chat in Honor of Hispanic Heritage Month

Tuesday, October 18 @ 11:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M. (EDT)
About the Event:

You’re invited to attend a fireside chat with Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month.  Joining in this conversation will be Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration Julieta Valls Noyes.  The Hispanic Employee Council of Foreign Affairs Agencies (HECFAA), which is celebrating its 40th anniversary, will also be participating in the event.  

Join us online via interactive live streaming for this hybrid fireside chat. Limited in-person seating is available in the Benjamin Franklin Room. 

Secretary of State Anthony J. Blinken

Antony J. Blinken is the 71st U.S. Secretary of State.

He was nominated by President Biden on November 23, 2020; confirmed by the U.S. Senate on January 26, 2021; and sworn in by Vice President Kamala Harris the following day.

Over three decades and three presidential administrations, Mr. Blinken has helped shape U.S. foreign policy to ensure it protects U.S. interests and delivers results for the American people. He served as deputy secretary of state for President Barack Obama from 2015 to 2017, and before that, as President Obama’s principal deputy national security advisor. In that role, Mr. Blinken chaired the interagency deputies committee, the main forum for hammering out the administration’s foreign policy.

During the first term of the Obama Administration, Mr. Blinken was national security advisor to then-Vice President Joe Biden. This was the continuation of a long professional relationship that stretched back to 2002, when Mr. Blinken began his six-year stint as Democratic staff director for the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Then-Senator Biden was the chair of that committee from 2001 to 2003 and 2007 to 2009.

During the Clinton Administration, Mr. Blinken served as a member of the National Security Council staff, including two years as the senior director for European affairs, the president’s principal advisor on the countries of Europe, the European Union, and NATO. He also spent four years as President Clinton’s chief foreign policy speechwriter, and he led the NSC’s strategic planning team.

Mr. Blinken’s public service began at the State Department. From 1993 to 1994, he was a special assistant in what was then called the Bureau of European and Canadian Affairs. Now he is proud to lead the department where he got his start in government nearly 30 years ago.

Outside of government, Mr. Blinken has worked in the private sector, civil society, and journalism. He was a founder of WestExec Advisors, an international strategic consulting firm focused on geopolitics and national security. He was a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies from 2001 and 2002. Before joining government, Mr. Blinken practiced law in New York and Paris. He was also a reporter for The New Republic magazine and is the author of Ally Versus Ally: America, Europe and the Siberian Pipeline Crisis (Praeger, 1987).

Mr. Blinken attended grade school and high school in Paris, where he received a French Baccalaureat degree with high honors. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Columbia Law School. He and his wife Evan Ryan have two children.



Photo of Julieta Valls Noyes
Julieta Valls Noyes
Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration

Julieta Valls Noyes, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, became Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration on March 31, 2022.

Previously, she served as Deputy Director and Acting Director of the Foreign Service Institute from 2018-2021. She was U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Croatia, a NATO Ally and member of the European Union, from 2015-2017. From 2013-2015, Ambassador Noyes served as Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, where she managed relations with twelve Western European countries and the European Union.

As Deputy Executive Secretary for the Department of State from 2011-2013, Ambassador Noyes managed trips and oversaw the preparation of briefing materials for two Secretaries of State. She was Chargé d’Affaires, a.i., and Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See from 2008-2011.

Ambassador Noyes has also served as Deputy Director of the Operations Center, the State Department’s 24-hour crisis management and communications center; Director of the Office of Multilateral and Global Affairs in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor; and in domestic and overseas positions in the Bureaus of European and Western Hemisphere Affairs.

A graduate of Wellesley College, Ambassador Noyes has a master’s degree from the National Defense University. Her foreign languages are Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and some French. She is the recipient of the Presidential Rank Award, the Distinguished Honor Award, and Superior and Meritorious Honor Awards.

Ambassador Noyes is a first-generation American whose parents entered the United States from Cuba as refugees. She is married to Nicholas Noyes, Jr., a retired Foreign Service Officer.


Isabel Romero  – President of the Hispanic Employees Council of Foreign Affairs Agencies (HECFAA)

Isabel Romero is the President of the Hispanic Employees Council of Foreign Affairs Agencies (HECFAA).  She works as a Security Program Officer in the Bureau of Diplomatic Security’s Office of Overseas Protective Operations.  Her portfolio covers Bolivia, Costa Rica, Argentina, Peru, Canada, Dominican Republic, Guyana, and Honduras.  She has worked in three functional bureaus: Diplomatic Security, Consular Affairs, and the Foreign Service Institute.  She holds a Masters in International Security and Bachelors in Global Affairs from George Mason University. Isabel is currently the Programs Chair for Executive Women at State and serves on the leadership team of the DS Council for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.



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.