Martha Bárcena Coqui became the first woman ambassador of Mexico to the United States on Jan. 11, 2019. She joined the Mexican Foreign Service in 1979 and has served as the consul in Barcelona (1989-90); ambassador to Denmark with non-residency accreditation to Norway and Iceland (2004-13; Ambassador to Turkey, with non-residency accreditation to Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan (2013-17); and permanent representative of Mexico to the United Nations Agencies based in Rome (2017-18).
In the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Bárcena has been technical secretary of the III LAC-EU Summit (2003-04); adviser to the undersecretary for Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe and the United Nations, specializing in international security and peacekeeping operations (2000-03); deputy director of the Planning and Prospective Division (1998-2000); advisor to the executive director of the Mexican Institute of International Cooperation (1986-89). She was also head of the Department of Migrant Workers and Border Cooperation in the General Directorate for North America.
In the social sector, Ambassador Bárcena served as advisor to the director of the Regional Center for Cooperation in Adult Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (CREFAL) and general director of CELAG (Latin American Center for Globality), an NGO that promotes research on global governance and the impact of globalization in Latin America.
She has combined professional activity with academic work as a professor since 1981 at the Universidad Iberoamericana, where she has taught the subjects of international organizations and international trade negotiations. She was also a professor at the Matías Romero Institute in matters of security and diplomacy, in addition to teaching at the Naval Studies Center (CESNAV) on matters of national security in the United States and U.N. peacekeeping operations. She has also participated in several conferences at the National Defense College, the Diplomatic Academy of Argentina and the University of Växjö in Sweden, as well as at various universities in Turkey.
She is the author of several articles on the reconceptualization of security, globalization, U.N. peacekeeping, the role of civil society in international relations, culture and diplomacy, and Mexico-EU relations, as well as the Agenda 2030. Ambassador Bárcena has participated in seminars and workshops on the U.S.-Mexico security agenda and in the Commission of Studies for State Reform in Mexico, and she is a founding member of Desarmex, an NGO that promotes education for peace and disarmament.
Ambassador Bárcena has a degree in communication sciences from the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City and a degree in philosophy, summa cum laude, from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. She holds a master’s degree in international studies from the Diplomatic School in Spain and a master’s degree in philosophy specializing in political philosophy from the Universidad Iberoamericana. She speaks English, French and Italian and has knowledge of German, Danish and Mandarin.
Ambassador Bárcena was a professional ballet dancer at the Compañía Nacional de Danza. She is an avid reader and enjoys classical music, opera and ballet.
Born in Veracruz, Mexico, on March 2, 1957, she is married to Agustín Gutiérrez Canet (retired career diplomat), with whom she has two daughters: Mercedes and Martha.
Embassy of Mexico
1911 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20006
Phone: (202) 728-1600
Fax: (202) 728-1698