Obama Administration Nominates Former Clinton Adviser To Lead UNICEF

The Obama administration has nominated former Clinton administration adviser Anthony Lake to lead UNICEF, Bloomberg/BusinessWeek reports. He would succeed Ann Veneman, who will step down at the end of her five-year term on April 30 (Varner, 2/18).

“U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice sent a letter to a number of U.N. ambassadors on Wednesday saying that Lake, who served as national security adviser to former President Bill Clinton in his first term, would bring ‘extraordinary experience, strategic vision and energy to UNICEF’s essential work,'” the Associated Press writes (2/17).

In the letter, Rice noted Lake’s “longstanding commitment to UNICEF” and his nine-year term on UNICEF’s U.S. board, according to Foreign Policy’s “Turtle Bay” blog. “Rice highlighted Lake’s experience … in President Bill Clinton’s cabinet, where he shaped U.S. peace strategies in the Balkans and Northern Ireland. She also played up his experience in various panels and institutes, including the Marshall Legacy Institute, where he advanced the cause of poor people, including children, in Africa,” according to the blog, which features the full text of Rice’s letter (Lynch, 2/17).

According to Bloomberg/BusinessWeek, “The next step is up to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon, who will send a nomination to the UNICEF board of directors” (2/18). A State Department memo endorsing the Lake nomination said that Ban is expected to “make his decision on this appointment in the coming weeks,” and that the deadline for governments “to nominate candidates was Friday, February 12,” Politico’s Laura Rozen writes on her blog (2/17). According to Foreign Policy’s “Turtle Bay” blog, “It’s unlikely the job will not go to the American candidate, officials noted. Every previous UNICEF director has come from the United States, the agency’s largest donor” (2/17).

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