GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. (February 14, 2014) – Career diplomat and think tank entrepreneur Todd Huizinga is joining the Acton Institute as Director of International Outreach. In his new role, Huizinga will work with established Acton partners around the world and develop relationships with new organizations that are building flourishing communities based on free enterprise, individual liberty and personal responsibility.
A key element in Acton’s international relations is Acton University, a four-day event in Grand Rapids that brings together attendees for courses on history, theology, and economics taught by dozens of scholars and experts in various disciplines. In 2013, Acton welcomed nearly 900 participants from 80 countries and provided some 385 travel scholarships for students from across the United States and overseas.
A U.S. diplomat from 1992-2012, Huizinga speaks German, Spanish, French and Dutch. He served as deputy chief of mission at the U.S. embassy in Luxembourg, political counselor at the U.S. Mission to the European Union in Brussels, consul for political and economic affairs at the U.S. consulates in Hamburg and Munich, and consul for public affairs at the U.S. consulate in Monterrey, Mexico. He has also served at embassies and consulates in Dublin, Frankfurt and Costa Rica, and in the European Affairs Bureau of the U.S. Department of State in Washington.
He has received seven Meritorious Honor Awards for his diplomatic work, including for his reporting on political affairs in Germany and Costa Rica, his contributions to the creation of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and his role in organizing visits of President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush to Europe and Latin America. He was also awarded for spearheading U.S. government participation in the 2011 Munich Security Conference, attended by the U.S. secretary of state, nineteen U.S. Senators and Representatives and other officials. While serving in Mexico, he helped institute the Binational Center of Texas A&M International University, an organization that serves civic organizations and promotes economic development in the U.S.-Mexico border region.
In 2013, Huizinga established with a Dutch associate the Transatlantic Christian Council, a non-profit corporation based in the Netherlands and the United States that promotes limited government, the free market, individual liberty and civic virtue. He is also a research fellow of the Paul B. Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity and Politics.
A native of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Huizinga is married and has three children. He holds a B.A. in Music and German from Calvin College and an M.A. in German Language and Literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.