THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 6, 2009
President Obama Announces Key State Department Appointments
WASHINGTON – Today, President Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals for key State Department posts: Esther Brimmer, Assistant Secretary for International Organizations; Phil Gordon, Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs; and Melanne Verveer, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues.
President Obama said, "Each of these individuals brings a deep knowledge and expertise in their field, along with a commitment to strengthen American diplomacy to meet 21st century challenges. They will be joining a leadership team at the State Department which will be at the forefront of our effort to renew America’s security and standing in an uncertain world."
Secretary Clinton said, "In my testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I spoke about the use of smart power. At the heart of smart power are smart people, and these talented individuals are among the smartest I know. Along with the entire State Department team, I will count on and turn to these individuals for their expertise, experience, and creative vision to make good on the promises of this new Administration."
President Obama announced his intent to nominate the follow individuals today:
Dr. Esther Brimmer, Assistant Secretary for International Organizations
Dr. Esther Brimmer is the Deputy Director and Director of Research at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at The Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Brimmer specializes in transatlantic political and security affairs.
From 1999-2001, Dr. Brimmer was a Member of the Office of Policy Planning at the U.S. Department of State working on the European Union, Western Europe, the UN, and multilateral security issues. Dr. Brimmer also served on the United States delegation to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in Spring 2000 and from 1995-1999, Dr. Brimmer managed projects as a Senior Associate at the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict. From 1993-1995, Dr. Brimmer was a Special Assistant to the Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs. Dr. Brimmer is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and was formerly a member of the Executive Board of Women in International Security.
Dr. Philip (Phil) Gordon, Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs
Dr. Philip Gordon is Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution, in Washington, D.C., where he has worked since 2000. Prior to joining Brookings, Dr. Gordon was Director for European Affairs at the National Security Council under President Bill Clinton. At the NSC he played a key role in developing and coordinating NATO policy in the run-up to the Alliance's 50th Anniversary summit in Washington, D.C. He has held teaching and research posts at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC; INSEAD, in Fontainebleau, France and Singapore; and the German Society for Foreign Affairs in Bonn.
Dr. Gordon has a Ph.D. and M.A. in European Studies and International Economics from Johns Hopkins University (SAIS) and a B.A. in French and Philosophy from Ohio University. His working languages include French, German, Italian and some Spanish. He has published a number of books and articles on international relations and foreign policy and is a frequent contributor to major publications such as the New York Times, Washington Post, International Herald Tribune, and Financial Times. From 2007-08 he was a foreign policy advisor and leader of the Europe expert group for the Obama for America campaign.
Melanne Verveer, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues
Melanne Verveer is Co-Founder, Chair and Co-CEO of Vital Voices Global Partnership, an international nonprofit that invests in emerging women leaders – pioneers of economic, political and social progress in their countries. Prior to founding Vital Voices, Verveer served as Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to the First Lady in the Clinton Administration and was chief assistant to then First Lady Hillary Clinton in her international activities. Verveer also took the lead in establishing the President’s Interagency Council on Women, which serves as a model for governments to address issues of concern to women.
Previously, Verveer served as Executive Vice President of People for the American Way, a civil rights and constitutional liberties organization where she played a key role in the passage of several landmark civil rights bills. She was Coordinator for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs for the U.S. Catholic Conference, Field Manager of Common Cause and worked in the U.S. House and Senate as Legislative Director and Special Assistant respectively. Verveer is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Women’s Foreign Policy Group, the Washington Institute on Foreign Affairs and Women In International Security.
The President’s decision to nominate an Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues is unprecedented and reflects the elevated importance of global women’s issues to the President and his entire Administration.