Lauri Fitz-Pegado

Former Assistant Secretary and Director General of the US and Foreign Commercial Service, Diplomat, Public Affairs and Corporate Executive
  • Former U.S. Foreign Service Officer in the Dominican Republic and Mexico with extensive knowledge of cultural diplomacy
  • Insight into how culture shapes global relationships and foreign policy
  • Reflecting on her international career in diplomacy, policy, public affairs, communications and advocacy, Lauri captivates audiences with her life story.

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Cultural and commercial diplomacy are the hallmarks of Lauri Fitz-Pegado’s career. She has worked at the Voice of America and the U.S. Information Agency, Lauri served as a U.S. Foreign Service Officer in the Dominican Republic and Mexico. Appointed by President Clinton, she was Assistant Secretary and Director General of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service at the Department of Commerce led by Secretary Ronald H. Brown. She managed 130 global and 90 domestic offices engaged in supporting small and medium sized businesses expand into foreign markets and advocating for major American companies competing for projects abroad. In the private sector she advised countries, corporations, individuals, and non-profits as a senior executive at Hill and Knowlton and Gray and Company, and as a partner at The Livingston Group. Lauri also was an executive at Iridium, the global mobile satellite communications company.

With a history of ballet training and performing with the Capitol Ballet, Vassar Dance Theatre, and Ballet Santo Domingo, she now has returned to her passions by teaching ballet and mentoring. She applies her communications and public relations skills to promoting artists, and her business and leadership experience to advising dance institutions sharing her commitment to social change, empowerment, and inclusion. Her memoir, Dancing in the Dash: My Story of Empowerment, Diplomacy, and Resilience, was released in the fall of 2021.

Lauri received her B.A. cum laude from Vassar College, M.A from the Johns Hopkins University School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and speaks Spanish and Portuguese.

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An African American Woman’s Path to Empowerment, Diplomacy and Resilience

Focus: Lauri’s Memoir: Dancing in the Dash

The unique connection between life skills acquired through the rigors of dance and a career in the Foreign Service, communications, public affairs, international trade, telecommunications, and advocacy.

The Role of Cultural Diplomacy and Cultural Competence in U.S. Foreign Policy and National Security

Focus: Relevance to how U.S. policy, domestic and foreign, has undervalued cultural diplomacy; the importance of understanding the impact of culture and incorporating it into global relationships.

Debunking “Racialization” in the Creative Sector: Why Does is Matter?

Focus: Business, moral, and ethical imperatives

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