UNITED STATES NEWS

Biden will nominate longtime aide who worked for the first lady to become US ambassador to UNESCO

Sep 4, 2023, 11:30 AM | Updated: 2:52 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden will nominate a longtime aide who once worked for the first lady to represent the United States at the United Nations agency devoted to education, science and culture, a White House official said Monday.

The U.S. recently rejoined the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization after a five-year hiatus initiated by Biden’s immediate predecessor in the White House, Donald Trump.

The Democratic president’s choice to become the U.S. permanent representative to the Paris-based UNESCO, with the rank of ambassador, is longtime aide Courtney O’Donnell, according to the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the nomination before a formal announcement.

O’Donnell currently wears two hats in the administration: She’s a senior adviser in Harris’ office and acting chief of staff for Harris’ husband, second gentleman Doug Emhoff, and lends her expertise to a range of national and global issues, including gender equity and countering antisemitism, a top issue for Emhoff, who is Jewish.

O’Donnell also was communications director for Jill Biden, when she was second lady during Joe Biden’s vice presidency when Barack Obama was president. O’Donnell helped Jill Biden raise awareness and support for U.S. military families and promote community colleges.

She has extensive experience in developing global partnerships, public affairs and strategic communications, having held senior roles in two presidential administrations, nonprofit and philanthropic organizations, national political campaigns and the private sector, according to her official bio.

O’Donnell most recently oversaw global partnerships at Airbnb.

Former White House chief of staff Ron Klain said O’Donnell is trusted by colleagues worldwide.

“This is a fantastic pick and she will do a fantastic job at UNESCO,” he said in a statement.

Cathy Russell worked with O’Donnell in the second lady’s office and said she is skilled at developing global partnerships, creating social impact campaigns and providing strategic counsel on a range of issues.

“Everyone who knows Courtney knows she is committed to the value of global engagement and strengthening American leadership around the world,” Russell said.

The Senate must vote on O’Donnell’s nomination.

The first lady attended a ceremony in late July at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, where the U.S. flag was raised to mark Washington’s official reentry into the U.N. agency after the absence initiated by Trump, a Republican. She spoke about the importance of American leadership in preserving cultural heritage and empowering education and science across the globe.

The United States announced its intention to rejoin UNESCO in June, and the organization’s 193 member states voted in July to approve the U.S. reentry. The ceremony formally signified the U.S. becoming the 194th member — and flag proprietor — at the agency.

The U.S. decision to return was based mainly on concerns that China has filled a leadership gap since Washington withdrew, underscoring the broader geopolitical dynamics at play, particularly the growing influence of China in international institutions.

The U.S. exit from UNESCO in 2017 cited an alleged anti-Israel bias within the organization. The decision followed a 2011 move by UNESCO to include Palestine as a member state, which led the U.S. and Israel to cease financing the agency. The U.S. withdrawal became official in 2018.

United States News

Associated Press

Treasury creates new strike force as US and China pursue crackdown on illicit fentanyl trafficking

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Treasury Department on Monday announced a new strike force to help combat illicit fentanyl trafficking as the U.S. and China step up efforts to stop the movement of the powerful opioid and drug-making materials into the U.S. The Counter-Fentanyl Strike Force will bring together personnel and intelligence from throughout the Treasury […]

26 minutes ago

Associated Press

4 killed, including a 1-year-old boy, in a shooting at a Dallas home

DALLAS (AP) — Four people, including a 1-year-old boy, were killed and a 15-year-old girl was injured in a shooting at a Dallas home, police said. Officers responding to the home Sunday afternoon in the far southeast area of the city found that five people had been shot. Three adults died at the scene; the […]

37 minutes ago

In this image provided by the U.S. Air Force, Airman 1st Class Jackson Ligon, 341st Missile Mainten...

Associated Press

The Air Force is expanding a review of cancers for service members who worked with nuclear missiles

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Air Force is expanding its study of whether service members who worked with nuclear missiles have had unusually high rates of cancer after a preliminary review determined that a deeper examination is needed. The initial study was launched in response to reports that many who served are now ill. The Air […]

42 minutes ago

Associated Press

Former top Ohio utility regulator surrenders in $60 million bribery scheme linked to energy bill

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio’s former top utility regulator surrendered Monday in connection with a $60 million bribery scheme related to a legislative bailout for two Ohio nuclear power plants that has already resulted in a 20-year prison sentence for a former state House speaker. Sam Randazzo, former chair of the Public Utilities Commission of […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Fire blamed on e-bike battery kills 1, injures 6 in Bronx apartment building

NEW YORK (AP) — One person was killed and six others were injured when a fire blamed on an electric bicycle battery tore through a New York City apartment, officials said Monday. The fire started at around 7 p.m. Sunday in a 10th-floor apartment in a public housing complex in the Bronx, a Fire Department […]

3 hours ago

FILE - Office of Management and Budget director Shalanda Young speaks about the possible government...

Associated Press

White House warns Congress the US is out of money, nearly out of time to avoid ‘kneecap’ to Ukraine

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration on Monday sent Congress an urgent warning about the need to approve tens of billions of dollars in military and economic assistance to Ukraine, saying Kyiv’s war effort to defend itself from Russia’s invasion may grind to a halt without it. In a letter to House and Senate leaders […]

8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Follow @KTAR923...

The 2023 Diamondbacks are a good example to count on the underdog

The Arizona Diamondbacks made the World Series as a surprise. That they made the playoffs at all, got past the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Wild Card round, swept the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS and won two road games in Philadelphia to close out a full seven-game NLCS went against every expectation. Now, […]

Follow @KTAR923...

West Hunsaker at Morris Hall supports Make-A-Wish Foundation in Arizona

KTAR's Community Spotlight this month focuses on Morris Hall and its commitment to supporting the Make-A-Wish Foundation in Arizona.

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University: innovating Arizona health care education

Midwestern University’s Glendale Campus near Loop 101 and 59th Avenue is an established leader in health care education and one of Arizona’s largest and most valuable health care resources.

Biden will nominate longtime aide who worked for the first lady to become US ambassador to UNESCO