In 2009, Hillary Clinton established a new portfolio in the State Department: ambassador at large for global women’s issues.
I’ve blogged elsewhere on the issue of women and smart power, soft power and why this all is a really big deal.
The first one to take on the responsibility was Melanne Verveer. Read about some of her achievements in this Forbes piece from last year (Ambassador Melanne Verveer: Do Women Hinder Their Own Advancement?)
“Women’s political empowerment is, perhaps, the toughest nut to crack anywhere in the world,” admitted Ambassador Verveer. Yet as her past accomplishments and her current role reflect, barriers, whatever they may be, are never permanent.
So Obama has to appoint a new ambassador. The Daily Beast has some speculations/suggestions (read them here). As you can see, as much as I adore meryl Streep I don’t think it should be a celeb, no matter how smart she is. It needs to be a political mover and shaker:
Under Clinton’s tenure at State, Verveer’s post became central to America’s foreign-policy mission and a critical point of contact on such hot-button issues as post–Arab Spring elections, Burma’s democratic transition, and anti-human trafficking efforts. During her time in office, the ambassador traveled to more than 60 countries, including Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, to press the idea that the advancement of women and girls is a key component of more stable and prosperous societies. Verveer also exerted significant influence in D.C.’s power scene—as one observer wrote, her “tiny office wielded an extraordinary amount of power throughout the U.S. government, and even within the business community … [where] corporations and foundations practically lined up to form public-private partnerships.”
Stay tuned …