SAccording to a White House source, quoted by the Associated Press news agency, Courtney O’Donnell was chosen, who is also an adviser to the US vice president, Kamala Harris.
The US recently returned to UNESCO, after a five-year absence by decision of Biden’s predecessor in the White House, Donald Trump.
Courtney O’Donnell’s selection to be the US Ambassador to UNESCO in Paris is expected to be formally announced shortly.
Doug Emhoff’s acting chief of staff is a White House adviser on issues such as gender equality and combating anti-Jewish prejudice, a key issue for the vice president’s husband, who is Jewish.
O’Donnell was also Jill Biden’s communications director when Joe Biden was vice president under Barack Obama. He has extensive experience in developing global partnerships, public affairs and strategic communications, having held senior roles in two presidential administrations, non-profit and philanthropic organizations, national political campaigns and in the private sector, according to his official biography.
Former White House chief of staff Ron Klain said O’Donnell is trusted by many White House officials. “This is a fantastic choice and she will do a fantastic job at UNESCO,” he said in a statement.
Jill Biden attended a ceremony in late July at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, where the US flag was raised to mark Washington’s official re-entry into the organization.
Following China’s alleged increased diplomatic weight at UNESCO, the United States announced its intention to rejoin the agency in June and the organization’s 193 member states approved its return the following month.
The US withdrawal from UNESCO in 2017 was taken by Trump, who complained of alleged anti-Israel bias within the organization, after an initiative passed in 2011 to include Palestine as a member state.
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