Alumni Profile – Ambassador Hugo Llorens

Ambassador Hugo Llorens will be at Kent on May 26 to deliver a talk titled ‘Ruminations on a Diplomatic Career: A Life and a Profession’ for our students, public and faculty.

Hugo Llorens, Chief of Mission of the US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan 2016-2017, utilises his 36 years of diplomatic experience, now providing advice to the US and international firms on political, trade and investment matters pertaining to markets in Canada, Latin America, Europe, South Asia and the Western Pacific.

Llorens has earned numerous awards for distinguished performance, including

  • 8 Superior Honor
  • 6 Meritorious Honor Awards
  • Cobb Award for excellence in the promotion of US business (Winner)
  • Saltzman Award for distinguished performance in advancing U.S. international economic interests (Runner-up)
  • James Baker Award for superior performance by a Deputy Chief of Mission (Nominee)


  • German President Frank-Walter Steinmeyer awarded Ambassador Llorens the Civilian Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for his pivotal role in supporting German diplomatic staff in Afghanistan following the bombing and destruction of the German Embassy in Kabul in May 2017.


  • Ambassador Llorens served as Chief of Mission of the US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. In Kabul he led the largest US Embassy in the world with a staff of 8,500 US, Afghan and Third Country National employees representing 22 US government agencies. During his tenure in Afghanistan, Llorens spearheaded the US diplomatic effort in a priority conflict-ridden nation in both the Obama and Trump Administrations. He worked closely with the incoming Trump national security team in developing a new strategic approach towards Afghanistan that encompasses governance, military and security, development and trade and investment components.

Prior to his tenure in Afghanistan (2013-2016)

  • Llorens was the principal officer in Sydney, Australia, the United States’ oldest diplomatic mission in the Asia Pacific region (established in 1836). In Sydney, he served as the lead US diplomat responsible for promoting trade and investment and managing US ties with the vast and resource-rich states of New South Wales and Queensland, which together account for over 50% of Australia’s GDP.

May 2012-June 2013

  • Ambassador Hugo Llorens was the Assistant Chief of Mission (an Ambassador-level position) at the US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan from May 2012 to June 2013. He served as the Chief Operating Officer of the largest Embassy in the world and played a prominent role in the successful negotiation of the Bilateral Security Agreement, which defines the long-term U.-Afghan relationship as the US presence transitioned from a direct combat role to more of an advisory role.
  • Previous to his first assignment in Afghanistan, Llorens was Ambassador-in-Residence and a faculty advisor for diplomatic statecraft at the National War College in Fort McNair Washington DC — the pre-eminent educational institution training senior military officers and diplomats on the art and science of grand strategy. At the War College, Llorens directed an effort to strengthen the strategic leadership components of the curriculum. He also provided substantive expertise on diplomatic statecraft, governance, rule of law, combatting organised crime, Western Hemisphere issues, and international trade/investment/energy issues.

September 2008 – July 2011

  • Llorens served as US Ambassador to Honduras from September 2008 to July 2011. In Tegucigalpa, he was a key Administration player in managing the Honduran coup crisis of 2009. His on the ground efforts resulted in the successful negotiation of the Tegucigalpa-San Jose Accord, the holding of free and fair elections, and the restoration of the democratic and constitutional order.
  • In Honduras, he led an Embassy team of 450 American and Honduran staff representing 12 US government agencies with a combined operating budget of $20 million, plus 175 Peace Corps volunteers. He also coordinated a combined USAID and MCC economic development portfolio totalling $150 million in annual disbursements, plus sizeable military and counter-narcotics assistance programs.

August 2003 – September 2006

  • Prior to his nomination and confirmation as Ambassador, he served for two years as the Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) at the American Embassy in Madrid, where he took up his duties on September 1, 2006. Ambassador Llorens was also DCM at the American Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he served for three years from August 2003 until July 2006.


  • Llorens was Director of Andean Affairs at the NSC, where he was the principal advisor to the President and National Security Advisor on issues pertaining to Colombia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador. Prior to the NSC, he served for three years as Principal Officer at the Consulate General in Vancouver. In Vancouver, he created a novel multi-agency “Law Enforcement Hub” that included the opening of FBI, ATF, US Customs, Secret Service, and Regional Security offices to work with Canadian counterparts on counterterrorism and international crime investigations.


  • Mr Llorens was Deputy Director of the Office of Economic Policy in the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs where he helped launch the FTAA negotiations in 1998.  As a veteran diplomat who began his career in 1981, he has served in economic, commercial, consular and counter drug positions in Tegucigalpa, La Paz, Asunción, San Salvador, and Manila.
  • Llorens received his Master of Science in National Security Studies, National War College (1997); Master of Arts in Economics, University of Kent (1980); and Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University, (1977).