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|Education||Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies
Johns Hopkins University
|Occupation||consultant, author, goat farmer, think tank executive|
|Title||Director of The Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center at The Atlantic Council|
Peter Schechter currently serves as the first director of the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center. The Washington-based think tank launched its new Latin America effort in October 2013 to study, educate, and strengthen the trends transforming Latin America into a strong Western partner.
Born in 1959 in Rome, Schechter was raised in Italy, Bolivia, and Venezuela. He has a Master’s from the Johns Hopkins’ Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies. He is fluent in six languages: English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, French, and German.
From 1987 to 1992, Schechter worked as a political consultant for the Sawyer Miller Group. In 1993, he became a founding partner of Chlopak, Leonard, Schechter and Associates, a Washington, DC-based company which advises politicians, companies, non-profits, and international organizations. He created the public relations firm with colleagues Bob Chlopak and Charlie Leonard. His clients were wide-ranging: from presidential elections to wine-making regions like Champagne, Porto, and Jerez (sherry) seeking protection from name infringement; or major credit cards fighting regulatory encroachment in Latin America to Hunt Oil's Camisea project in Peru. The bulk of his work was serving as an election advisor in nearly every country in Latin America, including work for a number of current presidents. Past clients included Henrique Capriles, Venezuela’s opposition leader; President Alvaro Uribe (his fourth presidential client in Colombia); and President Fernando Henrique Cardoso in Brazil. His expertise in the region has made him a sought-out voice on Latin American political issues and regional reputational risks. He is a frequent guest as political analyst for television shows around the region as well as US-based Spanish language networks Univision and Telemundo.
In September 2009, Schechter's firm signed a four-month contract with the interim Honduran government of Roberto Micheletti to provide public relations services following the June 28, 2009 coup d'état in this country. According to Foreign Agents Registration filings with the US Department of Justice, the firm received over $292,000 to boost the interim regime's image in the US. The contract put Schechter's firm in the spotlight and sparked letters of condemnation. On October 19, 2009 a protest took place in front of the firm's Washington, DC office in response to its work on behalf of the interim Honduran government.
Schechter is also a Virginia goat farmer, a co-owner and board member with superstar chef José Andrés of five successful Washington restaurants (including prize-winning Jaleo and Zaytinya), a co-proprietor of Agur Winery in Israel, and a critically acclaimed author. Schechter published his first novel, Point of Entry, in 2006. The Washington Post called it “fast moving.” The Chicago Tribune said it is “as good as this kind of writing gets.” The St. Louis Post Dispatch said the plot is “why-didn’t I think-of-that-clever.” Newsweek called it “a rip-roaring novel about terrorism, nuclear plots and presidential dating.” The Boston Globe declared it “entertaining.” His second book, Pipeline, was published in 2009.
In addition to his work at the Atlantic Council, Schechter is an adjunct professor at George Washington University in DC and a visiting professor at Ben Gurion University’s Faculty of Business and Management. He also serves on BGU’s Board of Governors. Peter Schechter lives in Washington, DC with his Spanish wife Rosa and two daughters Alia and Marina.
- "Honduran government hires fiction writer to hawk coup regime", Narcosphere, 28 September 2009; retrieved November 2009.
- "Honduran government hires PR shop", The Hill, 27 September 2009; retrieved November 2009.
- Contract filing for Chlopak, Leonard, Schechter and Associates, Inc., Foreign Agent Registration Unit, 21 October 2009; retrieved November 2009.
- Letters to Chlopak, Leonard, Schechter and Associates, 17 October 2009; retrieved January 2010.
- "Lobbyists for Honduras coup plotter gets office protest", DC Indymedia, 19 October 2009; retrieved November 2009.