HPU alumnus to receive posting as U.S. diplomat

November 13, 2013

By Jesand Amodo

Hawai‘i Pacific University alumnus Andrew Kekoa Abordonado recently got word of his first posting as a U.S diplomat. Abordonado, who earned a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies, will be assigned to work for the U.S. Foreign Service in El Salvador. The Foreign Service is a component of the federal government under the U.S. Department of State.

Andrew Abordonado
Andrew Abordonado

Professor Carlos Juarez, Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Social Sciences, has kept in touch with Abordonado over the years. He said he is not surprised of Abordonado’s continuing success, given his long interest in diplomacy and his experiences at HPU.

“Because HPU's student population is so diverse, and many faculty members have strong international experience and expertise, our students learn to be open-minded, empathetic, and have a strong and deep understanding of other cultures,” Juarez said.

This environment helped shape Abordonado — a 2009 HPU valedictory speaker — into the professional he is today, he said.

Having an early interest in international affairs, Abordonado pursued his aspiration to work in foreign affairs, taking advantage of HPU’s connections to the world. Through HPU’s Study Abroad program, he was able to study in Japan where he acquired a strong grasp of the Japanese language and culture.

Because of these experiences, Abordonado was able to “gain valuable cultural competency skills, which are needed in the new competitive, more global and more diverse workforce,” Juarez said.

Abordonado was awarded a prestigious Fulbright scholarship after leaving HPU and spent a year in Japan as a visiting scholar at the University of Hokkaido. "Fulbright is the most prestigious international education program and he is the first, and to date only, HPU student to get (this scholarship)," Juarez added.

In 2011, Abordonado was named a Thomas R. Pickering Graduate Foreign Affairs Fellow and awarded a grant for his graduate studies. With that, he obtained an Masters Degree in Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. He is a graduate of Roosevelt High School and attended HPU on a President's Scholarship.

Previously, Abordonado interned at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York City and at the U.S Embassy in Australia. He continues training in Washington D.C. and is scheduled to report to El Salvador in early to middle 2014 as a U.S. Foreign Service Officer.