Ambassador Paul Simons assumed the position of Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) of the Organization of American States on September 1, 2011, following a distinguished 30-year career in the U.S. diplomatic service. At the State Department, Ambassador Simons held a series of senior positions in Latin American affairs, international narcotics and law enforcement policy, and international energy and economic policy. He also served as a faculty advisor at the National Defense University and a senior fellow at Yale University's Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, teaching seminars in Latin American studies, diplomatic tradecraft, and strategic leadership.
As U.S. Ambassador to Chile from 2007 to 2010, Ambassador Simons managed one of the most active bilateral relationships in the hemisphere. Highlights of his tour in Chile include managing the U.S. response to the February 2010 Chilean earthquake, strengthening bilateral institutional ties with a focus on energy and the environment, and launching a multisectoral partnership between Chile and the State of California.
Before being posted to Chile, Ambassador Simons served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Energy and Sanctions, where he led energy diplomacy initiatives worldwide and served on the Governing Board of the International Energy Agency. Previously, as Acting Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, he managed more than $1 billion in annual resources supporting U.S. drug control and police training programs worldwide. During this period, Ambassador Simons secured supplementary funding to support Colombia’s democratic security initiative (under Plan Colombia), to relaunch the Colombia aerial interdiction program, and to initiate a border security program with Mexico. During this period, Ambassador Simons served as U.S. Commissioner to CICAD, testified regularly before Congress on U.S. drug programs in the hemisphere, and maintained close contact with media and civil society groups.
Ambassador Simons previously served as economic counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Quito, Ecuador. His first foreign service posting was at the U.S. Embassy in Bogota.
Outside of Latin America, Ambassador Simons was Deputy Chief of Mission and Charge d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Israel, after leading Arab/Israeli negotiations on water and economic development issues. His previous postings include a tour on the State Department’s policy planning staff and an assignment as international economist at the Treasury Department during the debt crisis of the 1980s. Before joining the Foreign Service, Ambassador Simons worked in international corporate lending at a New York-based commercial bank.
Ambassador Simons holds a B.A. degree from Yale University and a M.B.A. in
Finance from New York University. His wife Victoria, a native of Colombia, is a
human resources executive at the World Bank. Their two teenage daughters were
both born in Ecuador. Ambassador Simons, who grew up in Argentina, enjoys
cycling, music and cooking. A member of the President's Council on International
Activities at Yale University, he speaks Spanish and French.
updated on 12/13/2012 10:23:22 AM