Carol Z. Perez
|Director General of the Foreign Service|
February 1, 2019
|Arnold A. Chacón|
|United States Ambassador to Chile|
October 13, 2016 - January 31, 2019
|Deputy||February 1, 2019|
|Michael A. Hammer|
|Baxter Hunt (acting)|
|Born||Cleveland, Ohio, United States|
|Alma mater||Hiram College|
George Washington University
Carol Zelis Perez is a career Foreign Service Officer, currently serving as the Director General of the Foreign Service. Previously, Perez served as the U.S. Ambassador to Chile from October 2016 to January 2019.
Perez was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and graduated from Marymount High School in nearby Garfield Heights in 1971. She earned a bachelor of arts in political science at Hiram College in 1975 and subsequently a master's degree in health care administration at George Washington University.
Perez joined the U.S. State Department in 1987. Most of her assignments have been administrative or consular in nature, with early postings as a special assistant in the office of the Under Secretary of State for Management, as operations officer in the State Department Operations Center, and as a consular officer in Madrid.
In 1994, Perez was made administrative and human relations officer at the U.S. Embassy in Rome. She returned to Washington in 1997 for a series of assignments, first as a supervisory general services officer, deputy executive director in the Executive Secretariat; then the following year as office director in the Secretariat staff office; and beginning in 1999 as deputy executive secretary. She was assigned overseas in 2001 as the Consul General in Barcelona.
Two years later, she was reassigned to Washington as Deputy Executive Secretary of the department. Part of her duties were organizing and staffing trips made by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. In 2009, Perez was named Consul General in Milan.
Perez returned to Washington in 2011 as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. The following year, she vouched for the department after auditors found the United States spent $200 million on a training program for Iraqi police. She was named Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the bureau in 2013 and helped coordinate anti-drug-trafficking efforts in Haiti, Ukraine and the South China Sea. In January 2015, Perez became Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Human Resources.
In May 10, 2016, Perez was nominated by President Barack Obama to be U.S. Ambassador to Chile. Perez testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on June 21, 2016, and was confirmed on July 14, 2016. Perez is the first ever woman ambassador accredited to Chile.
On July 31, 2018 President Donald Trump announced his intent to nominate Perez as the Director General of the Foreign Service. On August 1, 2018 her nomination was sent to the United States Senate. She was confirmed by the Senate on a voice vote on January 2, 2019, and sworn in on February 1, 2019.