Former White House Staff to Speak on Hillary?s Foreign Policy

Melanne Verveer, assistant to the President, 1997 2001 and chief of staff to First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, 1997 2001, will speak on First Lady Clinton?s impact on recent U.S. Foreign Policy at 7:30 p.m., Monday, March 1, at the UCA Reynolds Performance Hall.

The lecture, which is the first in a series of lectures about the Clinton Presidency, is free to the public.

Identified most closely with President Bill Clinton?s health care reform proposal that failed to pass, Hillary?s greatest contribution to her husband?s presidency now appears to have been in the area of American foreign policy. She is widely regarded to have influenced the nomination of Madeleine Albright as the nation?s first female Secretary of State, a choice that led to significant structural change as well as policy shift within the State Department.

At the initiative of Mrs. Clinton and Mrs. Albright, a new Office of Global Women?s Issues was created in the State Department for the purpose of dealing with global problems such as human trafficking and the suppression of women?s basic rights by regimes such as the Taliban of Afghanistan. Mrs. Clinton herself functioned as the lance point of this new foreign policy initiative, visiting 82 countries as First Lady and speaking on behalf of human rights, women?s empowerment, and children?s health as indispensable keys to the growth of civil society and democracy.

The current Bush White House has continued to implement Mrs. Clinton?s new foreign policy thrust, keeping the Office of Global Women?s Issues intact and tasking First Lady Laura Bush to speak about the suppression of women under Islamic fundamentalism at plenary sessions of UNESCO and of the Organization of Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD) in Paris, respectively, and on Radio Free Afghanistan.

Mrs. Verveer, who is co authoring a book about First Lady?s Clinton?s impact on international affairs, served four years (1993 1997) as Mrs. Clinton?s assistant chief of staff before heading the First Lady?s staff for four years (1997 2001). In that capacity she was a participant in senior staff meetings during all eight years of the Clinton White House as well as a leading role player in the First Lady?s efforts to influence domestic and foreign policy alike.

Before serving in the Clinton White House, Mrs. Verveer served as Executive Vice President of People for the American Way (founded by Norman Lear), an official of Common Cause and of the U.S. Catholic Conference, respectively, and on the staffs of U.S. Senator George McGovern (D South Dakota) and of Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (D Ohio), respectively.

Topics that the lecture is expected to touch on include Mrs. Clinton?s role in the Northern Ireland peace initiative, her visits to refugee camps during the Balkan conflicts, and her ringing speech at the United Nations? Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, September 1995, which made global headlines but was censored in China itself. Cookies and punch will be served in the lobby of the Reynolds Theatre afterwards.

For more information about the event, contact Dr. Gary D. Wekkin, UCA Department of Political Science, at 501 450 5686.