A career member of the United States Foreign Service, Laura Hochla arrived as Deputy Chief of Mission at Embassy Vatican City in July 2023. Previously, she was Director of the Office of Caucasus Affairs and Regional Conflicts in Washington, leading U.S. relations with Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. As Director for European Affairs at the National Security Council at the White House from February 2021 to February 2022, she advised President Biden on U.S. relations with the European Union, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and the Holy See. She traveled with President Biden to Rome for his audience with Pope Francis in 2021 and was the recipient of the State Department’s Rockwell Anthony Schnabel Award for advancing U.S.-EU relations. Laura has also served in Spain, Georgia, Colombia, and Kosovo. Originally from the state of New Mexico, Laura holds degrees from Wellesley College and Harvard University, and speaks Spanish, Russian, Italian, and Albanian. The daughter and granddaughter of refugees who fled Czechoslovakia after WWII, she still understands some Slovak. She is married with two children.