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Arif Alikhan LLS ’93 Continues in the Tradition of Public Service


Arif Alikhan, LLS ’93, was appointed assistant secretary for the Office of Policy Department for Homeland Security earlier this year, making him the second Lion to be selected to serve in President Obama’s administration. The other alum is Gabriella Gomez ’95, assistant secretary in the Department of Education.

“I’m excited about the position,” Alikhan said. “I’ve always enjoyed public service, and it’s a wonderful feeling to contribute back to society.”

Alikhan will lead a team of policy analysts, scientists, and economists that is responsible for coordinating, analyzing, and developing policy issues for securing the United States against terrorists and natural threats. His team will also works with several governmental agencies to develop critical policy initiatives on issues ranging from counterterrorism to emergency management and cyber security.

“Compared to other agencies, DHS is fairly new and going through growing pains. I’m looking forward to helping it move through that process, and develop systems and applications that will make it the most effective department it can be,” Alikhan said.

Prior to his appointment, Alikhan served as Deputy Mayor for Homeland Security and Public Safety for the City of Los Angeles. He was the chief adviser to Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa on all public safety and homeland security initiatives and had oversight responsibilities for the Los Angeles Police, Fire, and Emergency Management Departments.

Alikhan credits Loyola Law School with providing him the background in legal theory and real-world, practical experience necessary to be successful. He said that Laurie Levenson’s subject criminal law course was the most influential course he took in law school.

“I consider Laurie a mentor,” Alikhan said. “She is a very enthusiastic public servant and I’m inspired to continue in that tradition.”   

Posted Nov. 16, 2009