Brian A. Nichols became assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs on September 15, 2021. Assistant Secretary Nichols previously served as the US Ambassador to the Republic of Zimbabwe from 2018 to 2021. In that role, he promoted democracy, rule of law and human rights in Zimbabwe while managing multi-dimensional humanitarian crises brought on by corruption, climate change, and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Previously, Assistant Secretary Nichols served as the US Ambassador to Peru from 2014 to 2017. He pioneered strategies against illegal gold mining, illegal logging, wildlife trafficking, and environmental degradation. He supported American trade and investment in Peru, increasing agricultural sales to over $1 billion annually, defending the rights of American investors, and building the Hemisphere’s largest public-private partnership—the US-Peru Cacao Alliance.
Assistant Secretary Nichols was principal deputy assistant secretary of state for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) from 2011 to 2013. In that capacity, he oversaw the full range of rule of law programs, counter-narcotics, and multilateral issues managed by the bureau. From 2007 to 2010, he served as the deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy in Colombia, where he managed day-to-day US diplomatic activities in Colombia including overseeing over $500 million in annual assistance. Assistant Secretary Nichols led the Office of Caribbean Affairs, coordinating US policy toward 14 Caribbean countries from 2004 to 2007. Prior to that, he served as political counselor in Indonesia, as well as tours in Mexico and El Salvador during major democratic transitions. He began his foreign service career as a consular officer in Peru in 1989.
A native of Providence, Rhode Island, Assistant Secretary Nichols has earned 24 awards during his diplomatic career, including two Presidential Meritorious Service Awards and the 2016 Charles E. Cobb, Jr. Award for Initiative and Success in Trade Development.
Assistant Secretary Nichols was an event speaker at the Dialogue.