Maria Alexandra (Alex) Arriaga (she/her)
Founder & Partner
Washington DC, USA

Maria Alexandra (Alex) Arriaga has served in leadership positions at the White House, the U.S. Department of State, in the U.S. Congress, at major non-profit organizations, and now in the private sector. She has more than 30 years experience working at the global and national level crafting policies, bridging communities, and achieving priorities to advance human rights. At the state and local level, she is known for working to enable education for all.

Alex is Founder and Partner at Strategy for Humanity, a consulting firm that works with mission-driven organizations and those who fund them to develop effective strategies, conduct smart advocacy and analysis, and achieve meaningful results. The firm embraces diversity as an asset for success and the leadership team is woman, minority, LGBTQI+, survivor, and person with disabilities – led.  Grounded in the belief that how you do business is as important as what you achieve, the firm creates conditions that enable individuals to fulfill their potential and sectors to bridge their differences in order to craft and advance a common agenda on critical issues. At Strategy for Humanity, Alex leads a team of highly experienced leaders with deep expertise, creative problem-solving, and effective leadership.

Prior to launching Strategy for Humanity, Alex was active in the public and nonprofit sector. During her tenure leading government relations, policy and advocacy for Amnesty International USA, The Hill recognized AIUSA as a top human rights lobby in Washington, and Alex was featured in A Pragmatic Idealist Pursues Justice for All (The Washington Post). At the White House, Alex was appointed as Special Assistant to President and chief of staff to the President’s Special Envoy for the Americas. There she influenced U.S. policy towards countries throughout Latin America. Alex previously served as senior adviser in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor at the U.S. Department of State where she was U.S. Delegate to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (twice), a member of the Department’s Bosnia Task Force, and Executive Director of the Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad. Alex began her career in the U.S. House of Representatives as director of the bipartisan Congressional Human Rights Caucus where she increased participation to involve a majority of the U.S. Congress (across party lines) and focused on over 100 countries and myriad issues.

At the local level, Alex is active on education issues. In recognition of her strategic and impactful thought leadership, Governor Ralph Northam appointed Alex to serve on the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV). The Arlington School Board recognized Alex as an Honored Citizen for her extraordinary and multi-year contributions to improve the education experience for students with disabilities. Alex’s work was showcased in More Autism Training for Teachers (The Washington Post). She also co-created and appears in “La Sopa de La Abuela,” an innovative TeleNovela-style series to support Latino families navigating the special education system.  In recent years, Alex also engaged in a national task force to address college sexual assault and create a model approach to pilot across the country.

Alex has written numerous published articles and reports, is a bilingual spokesperson in English and Spanish, and serves on a variety of nonprofit Boards. She is the recipient of many awards for her leadership and service, including the University of Virginia’s Distinguished Alumna Award, the U.S. Secretary of State’s Superior Honor Award, and the Minority Business & Professionals Network Award for Outstanding Leadership, Service and Achievement. For her alma mater, the University of Virginia, Alex currently serves as a Vice Chair of The Jefferson Trust and previously was on the Advisory Board of the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, President and on the Board of Directors for the Bolivar Network, the Board of Managers for the UVA Alumni Association, member of the president’s task force to address campus sexual assault. She also currently serves as Co-Chair of the Women’s Refugee Commission, Secretary of the Institute for International Law and Human Rights, and Board of the World Learning Global Advisory Council.  She is first generation American of Spanish and Chilean descent.

“Past, Present and Future In the White House and beyond”