Today's Woman of Courage is Melanee Verveer, our nation's Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues.
Her experience and courage have created a Social Biography that is truly phenomenal:
Melanne Verveer is Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board of the Vital Voices Global Partnership, an international nonprofit that supports emerging women leaders in building vibrant democracies and strong economies. Vital Voices focuses on expanding women’s participation in politics and civil society; increasing women’s entrepreneurship and fighting human rights abuses, particularly the trafficking of women and children. Vital Voices provides international leadership training through a collaborative with Georgetown University that enables women leaders from around the globe to more effectively contribute to advancing progress in their societies. The Vital Voices Global Leadership Network connects thousands of women leaders who have participated in Vital Voices conferences or the Global Leadership Institute training programs. Verveer served as Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to the First Lady in the Clinton Administration. As a member of the White House senior staff, she advised the President and implemented a wide range of substantive policies, budget priorities and communications strategies. She was the First Lady’s chief assistant in her international activities. In that role, her responsibilities included overseeing Hillary Clinton’s global initiatives on women’s rights as human rights, democracy building, micro-enterprise development, and the education of women and girls. She organized the First Lady’s historic trips overseas, including her travels to Central and South Asia, Russia, Northern Ireland, Central Europe and Africa. She helped to create the US government’s Vital Voices Democracy Initiative to promote women’s economic and political progress globally. The initiative was an outgrowth of the U.S. response to the UN 4th World Conference on Women in Beijing in l995. 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. She was instrumental in coordinating the US response to the growing global problem of the trafficking of human beings and represented the US government at various international conferences. Verveer has over twenty-five years experience in government and public interest work. She has a broad knowledge of domestic public policy issues which she has brought to the international arena. Previously, she 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 both the US House and Senate as Legislative Director and Special Assistant respectively. She was a founding member of the Coalition on Human Needs and has served on the Boards of Children of Chornobyl Relief Fund, Counterpart International, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, Advocacy Institute, Public Allies, NETWORK and the Center for Policy Alternatives, among others. She has played a leadership role in the Women Leaders Initiative of the World Economic Forum. She is a frequent speaker and consultant on a range of public policy issues. She received her undergraduate and master’s degrees in Russian studies from Georgetown University, where she was a University Fellow. Verveer has been profiled in The Washington Post, National Journal, Appointments with Power, Beachman’s Guide to Key Lobbyists, and Who’s Who of American Women. She has received many awards, including the American Association of University Women’s “Woman of Distinction”Award, Knock Out Abuse Leadership Honoree and the Basilian Humanitarian Award. She 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. She was a member of the Robert Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights delegation to Guatemala in 2003, and has served as a faculty member of the Salzburg Seminar.
As a Woman of Wealth, you too can make a difference. There is always room in the "House of Change" for another person willing to stand up for the rights of others. And while your own social biography may not be as extensive as Ambassador Verveer's, the role you play in bringing about gender equality will impact women for generations to come.