Learning While Serving: Reflections on Five Years Working International Development and Diplomacy in the Obama Administration

Wednesday, May 3, 2017
Marshall D. Shulman Seminar Room (1219 International Affairs Building)

Please join us for a talk with Dr. Sarah E. Mendelson, former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.'s Economic and Social Council, and Harriman Institute alumna.

This event is supported by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. It is part of our Russian Studies & Policy event series.

Dr. Sarah E. Mendelson discusses her experience serving in both the U.S. Mission to the U.N. and the U.S. Agency for International Development during the Obama years. She had a front row seat to a wide array of issues including pushing back on closing space for civil society and foreign assistance, combating human trafficking, and responding to the largest crisis in forced displacement since World War II. She reflects on what worked in policy entrepreneurship and what did not.

Ambassador Sarah E. Mendelson served as the U.S. Representative to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations until January 20, 2017. Confirmed by the Senate in October 2015, she was the USUN lead on international development, human rights, and humanitarian affairs. There she oversaw campaigns to get numerous country-specific resolutions passed in the General Assembly, including the first one on the human rights situation in Crimea, and to get NGOs including the Committee to Protect Journalists accredited to the U.N. despite objections of Russia and many other member states. She led efforts to elevate the issue of combating human trafficking and was senior lead for the President’s Summit on Refugees. She has spent over two decades working on development and human rights as a scholar and practitioner. Prior to her appointment as Ambassador, she served as a Deputy Assistant Administrator at USAID from 2010-2014 where she was the Agency lead on democracy, human rights, and governance. The author of over seventy scholarly and public policy publications, Ambassador Mendelson received her BA from Yale University and her PhD (and Harriman Institute Certificate) from Columbia University.