Matthew Rooney joined the Bush Center in June 2015 following a career as a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State. He currently serves as Senior Advisor, where he leads work in the Americas with an emphasis on northern Central America and the issues of prosperity, transparency, and public integrity.
Previously, as head of the Bush Institute-SMU Economic Growth Initiative, Mr. Rooney focused on analyzing the impacts of NAFTA on the growth, job creation and competitiveness of the economies of the United States, Canada and Mexico. His work has also focused on building a network of thought leaders in Central America committed to promoting economic policy reforms to put that region on a sustained and broad-based growth track. The Bush Institute-SMU Economic Growth Initiative has produced a significant body of work analyzing the benefits of immigration for U.S. economic growth and promoted common-sense reform at the federal level. Under his leadership, the Bush Institute developed a partnership with the SMU Department of Economics to produce analysis and advocacy on domestic policy constraints on growth.
In his Foreign Service career at postings in Washington and abroad, Mr. Rooney focused on advocating market-driven solutions to economic policy challenges in both industrialized and developing countries, and on protecting the interests of U.S. companies abroad.
In Washington, Mr. Rooney was on loan to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to create a high-level private sector advisory body for the Summits of the Americas, working closely with the U.S. private sector and with companies and business associations from throughout the Americas to negotiate an agenda to promote economic integration in the region. Previously, he was Deputy Assistant Secretary responsible for relations with Canada and Mexico and for regional economic policy. In prior Washington assignments, Mr. Rooney worked for then-Senator Fred Thompson, and supported negotiations to open global markets to U.S. airline services.
Abroad, Mr. Rooney was Consul General in Munich, a Consulate General providing a full range of Consular and export promotion services, supporting a permanent presence of 30,000 U.S. forces in two major base complexes, and carrying out a media and public relations initiative in support of U.S. diplomatic objectives in Germany. As Counselor for Economic and Commercial Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in San Salvador, El Salvador, he laid the groundwork for free trade negotiations between the United States and the five countries of Central America, and promoted market-based reforms for electrical power. Prior to this, Mr. Rooney served in various posts in Germany, Gabon and Côte d’Ivoire.
Mr. Rooney studied Economics, German and French at the University of Texas at Austin and received his Master’s Degree in International Management at the University of Texas at Dallas.