Skip to Main Content

Notable: Policy Lead for the Western Hemisphere. And Buildings of the Earth.

A new role in the Americas for an experienced diplomat. And recognition for a veteran architect whose career has been devoted to changing the way we build — with the goal of making new buildings and renovations carbon neutral by 2030.


Photo: Architect Edward Mazria from ArchDaily



National Security Council Policy Lead for the Western Hemisphere

Juan Gonzalez (Guatemala 2001–04) has taken on responsibilities as Special Assistant to the President and NSC Senior Director for the Western Hemisphere. He served as deputy assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs during the Obama administration. 

A native of Cartagena, Colombia, he served with Peace Corps in the west-central Guatemalan city of Huehuetenango. In March he was back in Guatemala, and in Mexico, to meet with officials to discuss ways to stem the flow of migrants from the region to the United States. Bolstering opportunities in migrants’ home countries is crucial to that, as is holding accountable those Gonzalez described as “predatory elites.”


Juan Gonzalez in meeting

In the room: Juan Gonzalez, center with hands raised, in his previous role conferring with President Obama’s team.



Buildings of the Earth 

Edward Mazria (Peru 1964–66) is the recipient of the 2021 AIA Gold Medal—the highest honor presented by the American Institute of Architects. Mazria is a Santa Fe, New Mexico–based architect, the founder of the nonprofit Architecture 2030, and a researcher, educator, author, and environmental advocate. 

Honoring him with the medal sends a powerful signal: “We’re transitioning toward an ‘Architecture of the Earth,’” Mazria said in an interview recently, “not just as a style, but also as substance and actions—integrating existing and new architecture with the Earth’s systems, renewable resources, and energy, while protecting the planet’s ecosystems and biodiversity.” 



Architecture 2030 webpage

The 2030 Challenge: Read about it at Architecture 2030.


Mazria published The Passive Solar Energy Book in 1979. In the 1990s he helped found AIA’s Committee on the Environment. He has drawn attention to the carbon impact of building—and the enormous effect that the built environment has had in creating our current climate crisis. He issued the global 2030 Challenge; his work helped inform the 2015 Paris Agreement. 

Mazria also holds a rare distinction among architects and in Peace Corps annals: In the early 1960s he was drafted by the New York Knicks but turned down the offer to serve as a Volunteer in Peru.