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Ariel Eckblad Named Deputy Assistant Secretary in Biden Administration

March 2021

Spelman Alumna Ariel Eckblad Named Deputy Assistant SecretaryAriel P. Eckblad, C'2010, was recently appointed deputy assistant secretary in the Department of State’s Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations. The California native leads the Bureau’s efforts to anticipate, prevent, and respond to conflict and instability in Africa and Asia. She also oversees the Bureau’s office of program design, monitoring, and evaluation.

Most recently chief-of-staff in the Office of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Eckblad (who beat out 5,500 applicants to land that role) had been the National Security Legislative Counsel in the former Senate office of Vice President Kamala Harris. Outside of government, she was the visiting Mullen Seminar of Law professor at Georgetown University.  She has taught negotiation and dispute resolution at the American University Washington College of Law, Georgetown University Law Center, Harvard Graduate School of Education, and Harvard Law School.

Making a Choice to Change the World Comes to Fruition

A double major in political science and comparative women's studies, Eckblad spent her undergraduate career passionate about understanding the intersection of race, class, and gender and how it impacts women in western political systems.

The opportunity to attend Spelman College on full academic scholarship as a Presidential Scholar provided Eckblad the prospect to pursue a liberal arts education while further developing her global leadership skills. She graduated as the valedictorian of the Spelman College Class of 2010.

As an Arthur Liman Public Interest Fellow at Yale University, she conducted legal research focusing on the disproportionate incarceration rates of people of color. Additionally, she served as a legislative intern at the US Human Rights Network where she focused her efforts on research and analysis of internal displacement policies post Hurricane Katrina. Her discipline and academic efforts over the years have been recognized in a number of ways.

Eckblad's 2010 Class Day Address at Spelman

Upon completing her undergraduate studies, Eckblad became particularly interested in international affairs and the peaceable resolution of international political conflict. This passion led her to receive a Master of Science in Global Governance and Diplomacy at the University of London and a Master of Science in International Relations at the University of Oxford as a recipient of the prestigious Marshall scholarship.

Eckblad holds a Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law, and Masters of Science degrees from the University of Oxford and the University of London in diplomacy and international relations, respectively. She has been both a Marshall Scholar in the United Kingdom and a Fulbright Scholar in India.

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