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US President Joe Biden Nominates Courtney O’Donnell as US Representative to UNESCO

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Joe Biden to Nominate Courtney O’Donnell as US Representative to UNESCO

US President Joe Biden is expected to nominate Courtney O’Donnell, his senior advisor, as the country’s representative to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

US Rejoins UNESCO After Five-Year Hiatus

The United States recently joined UNESCO after a five-year break initiated by former President Donald Trump. This decision marks a change in the country’s stance towards international cultural and educational cooperation.

Courtney O’Donnell: A Trusted Aide and Ambassador

O’Donnell, a long-time aide of President Biden, is set to become the permanent US representative to UNESCO with the rank of ambassador. She currently serves as a senior advisor in Vice President Kamala Harris’ office and as acting chief of staff to Harris’ husband, Doug Imhoff. O’Donnell brings expertise in various national and global issues, including gender equality and anti-bias initiatives.

Extensive Experience and Global Partnerships

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With a notable career in public affairs and strategic communications, O’Donnell has held senior roles in presidential administrations, nonprofit organizations, political campaigns, and the private sector. She most recently oversaw Global Partnerships at Airbnb, demonstrating her experience in developing international collaborations.

Endorsements and Senate Approval

Courtney O’Donnell has earned the trust of colleagues worldwide, according to former White House chief of staff Ron Klain and Cathy Russell, who has worked with O’Donnell in the Office of the Second Lady. However, her nomination as US representative to UNESCO requires approval from the Senate.

US First Lady Emphasizes American Leadership

In July, the US First Lady attended a party at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, celebrating the country’s official return to the organization. The event highlighted the importance of American leadership in preserving cultural heritage, promoting education, and advancing scientific endeavors globally.

US Return to UNESCO: Addressing China’s Influence and Anti-Israel Bias

The decision to rejoin UNESCO was primarily motivated by concerns that China had gained significant influence in international institutions. The US had previously withdrawn from UNESCO in 2017 due to perceived anti-Israel bias. The organization’s inclusion of Palestine as a member state in 2011 led to the suspension of US and Israeli funding. The US officially withdrew in 2018.

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