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Obama Appointee, Hillary Clinton Advisor to Head New Georgetown Institute

FEBRUARY 7, 2013 – MELANNE VERVEER (I’66, G’69), PRESIDENT Obama’s first ever ambassador-at-large and director of the State Department’s office for Global Women’s Issues, will become the university’s executive director for the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security (GIWPS).

Verveer, who will also serve as a senior advisor to Georgetown President John J. DeGioia, begins her new position at the university on Feb. 11.

"I am thrilled to be returning to my alma mater to lead this new, important enterprise to advance the role of women in peace and security," Verveer said. "Georgetown is globally renowned for its work in international affairs as well as for training diplomats. I can’t think of a better platform than Georgetown to bring together scholarship, research, public diplomacy and international collaboration on this topic."

Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the formation of GIWPS when she unveiled the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security during an address at Georgetown in December 2011.


“There couldn’t be a better institution to lead the way in the academic work that is necessary around these issues,” Clinton said at Georgetown in 2011.

“Melanne is most famous for the unwavering passion she brings to her causes,” she said during Verveer’s June 2009 swearing-in as Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues. “And for the last 15 years, that cause has been women and girls – their rights, their opportunities, their central importance to the future of our world’s progress and prosperity.”

Led by the School of Foreign Service (SFS), GIWPS will look at the impact of women's participation in resolving conflict, mitigating state failure and humanitarian disasters and shaping major political transitions.


Scheduled for an official launch on Feb. 20, the institute also will examine the role of women in peacemaking, post-conflict recovery and reconstruction, humanitarian relief and political transitions.

"We are deeply appreciative of Ambassador Verveer’s continuing service in our community and her transformational leadership on women’s issues globally," said Georgetown President John J. DeGioia. "Under her direction, this institute is positioned to engage the strengths and values of our community and to contribute leading research and dialogue on women’s participation in global affairs."

Verveer previously served in Clinton administration as assistant to the president and as chief of staff to Hillary Clinton, whom she later assisted with women’s rights, democracy and peacebuilding initiatives.

“The Institute for Women, Peace and Security is a vital addition to Georgetown, and I cannot think of anyone on this planet more suited to lead it than Melanne Verveer,” said SFS Dean Carol Lancaster. “As U.S. Ambassador for Global Women's issues during the past four years, Melanne has helped raise and energize the focus of U.S. foreign policy on women’s issues and, in particular, the role of women in peacemaking and security.”

“Her leadership of the new institute will ensure that its research and other activities help us better understand the role of women in peace and security and better enable all societies to ensure that women’s voices are heard, that women are engaged in these issues and the peace and security of all peoples is strengthened by women’s involvement,” Lancaster adds.  “And we are all eager to welcome Melanne back to her alma mater.”


Before being appointed to her position with the State Department in 2009, Verveer served as chair and co-CEO of Vital Voices Global Partnership, an international nonprofit that invests in emerging women leaders and promotes human rights.

Vital Voices grew out of a federal initiative established in 1997 by then-First Lady Clinton and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, now a professor at Georgetown, following a United Nations’ conference on women.

Verveer is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Women’s Foreign Policy Group and other organizations.

“The problem this institute is intended to address, the question it is supposed to ask is ‘What is the impact of women’s involvement in preventive, preventing conflict, peacemaking, peacekeeping, political transitions, and other aspects of conflict, throughout the world?’ ” said SFS Dean Carol Lancaster. “And we are testing the notion that the involvement of women, makes a difference, a positive difference and protects the rights of everybody, not just women.”