Obama to tap alum. for U.N. post

by JOY CHEN | 11/12/09 11:00pm

President Barack Obama will nominate Eileen Donahoe '81 to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, the White House announced on Monday. Donahoe currently studies the international rule of law and U.N. reform as an affiliated scholar at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University.

Donahoe, who declined to comment for this article, is married to Dartmouth Board of Trustees vice chair John Donahoe '82, the current CEO of eBay, Inc.

A major fundraiser for Obama, Donahoe reportedly brought in at least $500,000 for his election campaign and was chair of the National Women for Obama Finance Committee.

The White House's announcement comes after rumors this summer that Donahoe would be appointed U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, which would have made her the head of the U.S. mission. Betty King, the representative to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations under former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, was nominated for the post this October.

Donahoe must appear before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations before facing review by the entire Senate for her confirmation. The process may last two to three months, according to a Center for International Security and Cooperation press release.

Donahoe previously served as a litigation associate at the Silicon Valley law firm Fenwick & West, where she worked with technology clients on intellectual property and commercial disputes. Donahoe also taught at Stanford Law School and clerked for U.S. District Judge William H. Orrick of the Northern District of California.

Donahoe has been involved with several human rights organizations, including the Lawyer's Committee for Human Rights and Amnesty International's Ginneta Sagan Fund, according to the U.S. mission in Geneva. During her time on the Lawyer's Committee, Donahoe conducted research on the nexus between U.S. foreign policy and human rights.

Earlier this year, Donahoe was named "woman of the year" by Emerge, a training program that aims to increase the number of Democratic women in public office.

During her time at Dartmouth, Donahoe majored in English and American Studies. She was a member of Sigma Kappa, now Sigma Delta, sorority and the track team, according to her profile on the web site of the Class of 1981. Dohanoe also studied Chinese and later spent a year at Nankai University in Tianjin, China.

Donahoe received a Master's in Theology from Harvard University. She also received a law degree from Stanford Law School, as well as a Master's in East Asian Studies from Stanford University in 1989. Donahoe later received a doctorate in ethics and social theory from the Graduate Theological Union at the University of California, Berkeley.

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