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ASU director nominated as new U.S. ambassador

December 01, 2009

The White House has announced the nomination of Raúl Yzaguirre, a Presidential Professor of Practice and the executive director of the Center for Community Development and Civil Rights at Arizona State University, as ambassador to the Dominican Republic.

Yzaguirre is best known as a veteran civil rights activist for the Hispanic community in the United States. He joined ASU in January 2005 and founded the Center for Community Development and Civil Rights in the College of Public Programs at the Downtown Phoenix campus.

Since then, Yzaguirre has helped implement a number of outreach programs that have advanced the university’s social mission, including a series of civil rights forums featuring national keynote speakers and the American Dream Academy, a program that helps parents in low-income, disadvantaged areas learn how to transform their children’s educational experience.

Since its inception three years ago, the American Dream Academy has graduated more than 8,700 parents of students attending 41 different schools, and indirectly impacted more than 24,000 youth of Title I schools throughout the greater Phoenix area. The program earned the prestigious 2009 C. Peter Magrath University Community Engagement Award from APLU in November.

Yzaguirre will be on leave from ASU if appointed to the position by the U.S. Senate after confirmation hearings.

Before joining ASU, Yzaguirre served as president and chief executive officer of the National Council of La Raza. Before that, he served as vice president at the Center for Community Change in Washington, D.C. From 1969 to 1973, he founded two sister management consulting organizations: Interstate Research Associates and InterAmerica Research Associates.

Yzaguirre served as a senior program analyst in the U.S. Office for Economic Opportunity (OEO) and as a special adviser to Sargent Shriver, the director of OEO, from 1966 to 1969.

He also has been appointed to the President’s Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. Yzaguirre monitored several presidential elections in Latin America as a board member of the National Democratic Institute.

Yzaguirre served in the U.S. Air Force Medical Corps for four years. He holds a bachelor’s degree from George Washington University and was a fellow at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics. He also studied at Universidad de las Americas in Puebla, Mexico.