On Friday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton swore in Melanne Verveer, a longtime friend and former chief of staff to First Lady Hillary Clinton, to be Ambassador at Large for Global Women’s Issues. I’ve known people who have worked with Verveer and they have nothing but great things to say about her. But I find this Daily Beast profile of Verveer deeply unsatisfying for the fact that it never actually describes what it is she will be doing at the state department.
Ambassador at Large for Global Women’s Issues is a brand-new position. The first person to hold this office will necessarily shape its agenda and its role in American diplomacy. To that end, I think it’s fairly significant that the position went to someone who built a career as a confidante to the Clintons. (This is opposed to, say, the Ambassadors at Large for War Crimes Issues, who have all been more-or-less technical experts.) The fact that someone who is so close to the Secretary of State is heading this new office suggests that it will not languish in the backwaters of Foggy Bottom. But what it is this office will actually do is still very much in the air.