Thursday, 25 January 2024, Zagreb, Republic of Croatia: President of Croatia, Zoran Milanović received the US top diplomatic envoy Nathalie Rayes for a ceremony wherein the latter presented her letters of credence issued by US President Joe Biden accrediting her as ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of the United States in the Repubic of Croatia. She is seconded in the embassy by Deputy Chief of Mission Mark Fleming.
Ambassador Rayes had been confirmed by the US Senate back on 6 December 2023.
For the accreditation ceremony which transpired at Pantovčak (the Presidential Palace), Ambassador Rayes was accompanied by her husband Tarek Samad, the her sons Julian Samad and Alexander Samad, Deputy Ambassador Mark Fleming, the Military Envoy of Defense Brigadier Scott McLearn and the Press and Culture Adviser Danielle Harms.
President Milanović was accompanied by his advisor for Foreign and European policy Neven Pelicarić, the Director of the Directorate for Political Affairs from the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs Petar Mihatov and Secretary of the Cabinet for Foreign and European Policy of the Office of the President of the Republic Ivan Mutavdžić.
According to the US State Department, Nathalie Rayes holds a distinguished career in public service as a leader, consensus builder, and advocate. Rayes was president and CEO of Latino Victory. Before joining Latino Victory, Rayes served as vice president of public affairs for Grupo Salinas in the United States and executive director of Fundación Azteca America. Earlier in her career, she served as deputy chief of staff for Los Angeles Mayor James K. Hahn, where she managed the Office of Intergovernmental Relations, International Trade, and Protocol, established Los Angeles’ first Office of Immigrant Affairs, and formed sister cities partnerships with San Salvador, El Salvador, Beirut, Lebanon, as well as Ischia, Italy. In 1998, she was a State Department fellow in the U.S. Embassy in Cairo in the economic political section.
Rayes has served as President Biden’s appointee to the board of the United States Institute of Peace. She also served on the board of directors of the Hispanic Federation, chairs the Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE) Binational Advisory Group, and is an advisory board member of the Aspen Institute Latinos and Society Program. Rayes served as President Obama’s appointee to the board of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars from 2014-2020. In 2015 she was recognized in the Huffington Post’s “40 Under 40 Latinos in Foreign Policy.”
Rayes holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology cum laude and a Master’s in Public Policy with concentrations in International Relations and Education from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She is the author of numerous publications and speaks fluent English, Spanish and conversational Arabic.
For further information
US Embassy in Croatia: https://hr.usembassy.gov