UCLA International Institute, June 3, 2019 — Noah Mamet, a UCLA alumnus and former U.S. ambassador to Argentina, will deliver the UCLA International Institute commencement address at a ceremony in Royce Hall on Saturday, June 15, at 6:30 p.m.*
The commencement ceremony will celebrate the graduation of International Institute undergraduates who majored in Global Studies, International Development Studies and International & Area Studies, as well as graduate students in African Studies, East Asian Studies and Latin American Studies.
Born in Manhattan Beach, Mamet earned a B.A. in political science from UCLA in 1992 with an emphasis on international relations. He went on to spend roughly the first decade of his career in politics. After working on Senate and presidential campaigns in California, he served as a senior advisor and national finance director for U.S. Representative Dick Gephardt (D-MO, 1977–2005), when the latter was House minority leader from 1995 to 2003.
The UCLA connection
Mamet says his studies at UCLA broadened his historical knowledge of both the U.S. and the world. “I took amazing classes like Communication Studies 10 with legendary Professor Jeff Cowen, as well as public speaking classes. And as a freshman, I got heavily involved as a student leader for Governor Dukakis’ 1988 presidential campaign.
“The various English classes and creative writing classes I took at UCLA definitely aided me throughout my career,” he adds, “including when I worked with my staff to write speeches when I served as Ambassador or submit articles to the Argentine national press.”
Mamet has remained a committed supporter of UCLA, founding an educational program while ambassador to Argentina that has brought over 400 Argentine educators to campus for professional development programs hosted by the School of Education and Information Studies. In the past year and a half, he has spoken about his career and public service at the Anderson School of Management and participated in a question-and-answer session with a Global Studies class.
Consulting, diplomacy and public service
In 2004, Mamet created the consulting firm NMA Consulting Partners LLC, with offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco. The company offered business, philanthropic and political consulting services to a wide range of organizations and companies, including the Wasserman Foundation, City National Bank, Space X and the National Democratic Institute. Over the course of his career, Mamet has served as a key advisor to numerous Democratic politicians, including candidates for the presidency, House and Senate. In the 2012 election, he served on President Barack Obama’s National Finance Committee.
Named ambassador by President Obama, Mamet served as the top U.S. diplomat in Argentina from 2014 to 2017. Known as a passionate champion of the United States and California (and Los Angeles) in Argentina, Ambassador Mamet helped rapidly improve and expand bilateral relations between the two countries in the fields of technology, entrepreneurship, renewable energy, educational exchange, security, trade and climate change.
While in Argentina, Ambassador Mamet created the Friends of Fulbright Scholarship Program — the first educational exchange program in the country entirely funded by the private sector. The program, which enables Argentine undergraduate students to travel and study at leading universities in the U.S. for short-term exchanges, was a milestone within the U.S. State Department. In addition, he initiated the first-ever U.S.-Argentina Entrepreneur of the Year Award, partnering with the Argentine public and private sectors, religious organizations and unions to recognize the next generation of Argentine entrepreneurs.
In March 2016, Ambassador Mamet hosted President Obama’s historic visit to Buenos Aires, the first U.S. presidential visit to Argentina in 20 years. That same year, he hosted a reception at the ambassador’s residence for UCLA Chancellor Gene Block and a UCLA delegation to Latin America, introducing the delegation to many high-ranking Argentine officials during their stay.
Also in 2016, Mamet led a delegation of 30 top Argentine government and business leaders (including ministers and ambassadors) for a weeklong visit to California, including a half-day at UCLA. The unprecedented trip jump-started over 75 initiatives in technology, innovation and clean energy, significantly strengthening U.S.-Argentine economic and diplomatic ties.
Ambassador Mamet’s work in Argentina has been described by Argentines as a breath of fresh air that shone a positive light on the U.S. The value of his diplomacy for the country was widely recognized, leading him to receive two prestigious awards.
The Republic of Argentina awarded him the Medal of San Martín at the rank of Great Cross, making Mamet only the third American in over 200 years to receive the distinction. And the Centro de Estudios Americanos conferred the “Bridges of the Americas” award on him for his promotion of bilateral educational, cultural and professional exchanges. Mamet was also the first foreign diplomat ever to be featured on the cover of La Nación magazine (the Argentine equivalent of Time Magazine; see translation here).
A resident of Marina del Rey, Ambassador Mamet is now a senior advisor for Latin America to DLA Piper, one of the largest corporate law firms in the world. He also continues to advise companies and investors interested in expanding into Latin America and currently sits on the boards of directors of the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars and the Center for Strategic Studies, both located in Washington, D.C. In addition, the UCLA alumnus is a partner in a solar and battery storage company based in Brazil and the owner of vineyard in Mendoza, Argentina, which bottles “Diplomático” wine.
*Attendance at the ceremony is by ticket only; tickets are available solely through graduating students.
Originally published June 2, 2019; updated June 12, 2019.