Department of State

Council Member: John F. Kerry, Secretary of State


Council Designee: Catherine M. Russell, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues, U.S. Department of State

Cathy Russell currently serves as the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues. Prior to assuming this position in August 2013, she served as Deputy Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden focusing on military families and higher education. During her tenure at the White House, Ambassador Russell coordinated the development of the Administration’s strategy to prevent and respond to gender-based violence globally.

She previously served as a Senior Advisor to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on international women’s issues. During the Clinton Administration, Russell served as Associate Deputy Attorney General. She has also served as Staff Director of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Senior Counsel to Senator Patrick J. Leahy.

She received a B.A. in Philosophy from Boston College and a J.D. from George Washington University.

Council Designee: Mala Adiga, Senior Advisor to the Chief of Staff, the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues, U.S. Department of State

Mala Adiga joined the Secretary of State’s Office of Global Women’s Issues as a chief of staff and senior advisor to the Ambassador-at-Large.  Before this position she served as Director for Human Rights in the National Security Staff’s Multilateral and Human Rights Directorate. Prior to joining NSS, she was an attorney at the Department of Justice, where she served as Counsel to the Associate Attorney General.

Before entering government service, Mala volunteered and then worked for the Obama presidential campaign for nearly two years. Prior to the campaign, she worked as a litigation associate at Kirkland & Ellis LLP in Chicago and then clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Philip Simon in the Northern District of Indiana. 

Mala earned her J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School and her M.P.H. from the University of Minnesota. She graduated from Grinnell College in Iowa with a B.A. in Spanish.

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