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    Bush Apponits Woman Envoy To Pak.

    http://www.rediff.com/news/2001/may/23us.htm

    May 23, 2001
    Bush appoints woman envoy to Pak
    Aziz Haniffa
    India Abroad correspondent in Washington

    For the first time in the history of US-Pakistan relations, a woman has been nominated as the new American envoy to Islamabad.

    President George W Bush, Tuesday, announced his intention to nominate Wendy J Chamberlain as the US ambassador to Pakistan. She will replace William Milam, a career foreign service officer, who has completed his term.

    If confirmed, she would be only the fourth woman ambassador to serve in South Asia.The first woman US ambassador to serve in the region was Carol Laise, envoy to Nepal during the Eisenhower administration when her husband Ellsworth Bunker was the US ambassador to India. But it was not until the late 1980s, that another US envoy appeared on the scene in South Asia, when Teresita Schaffer was sent as US ambassador to Sri Lanka.

    Pakistan is currently represented by Maleeha Lodhi, who had served earlier as Islamabad's envoy to Washington during the time her now estranged friend, Benazir Bhutto, was prime minister.

    Lodhi is not the only female envoy that Pakistan sent to Washington. Abida Hussain served as Islamabad's top diplomat to the US during the tenure of now exiled ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

    Although Chamberlain's nomination throws up a first as far as Pakistan is concerned, it should be remembered that the first-ever assistant secretary of state for South Asian affairs was a woman -- the controversial Robin Raphel, who was despised in New Delhi, particularly by the ministry of external affairs and then foreign secretary J N Dixit who regarded her an intellectual midget.

    Once again, the South Asia Bureau will be headed by a woman -- Christina Rocca, who is expected to be confirmed by the full Senate on Thursday.

    Currently, the US ambassador to Bangladesh is also a woman, Mary Ann Peters, also a career foreign service office who was on the Pakistan-Afghanistan-Bangladesh desk at the State Department, before she went out to Dhaka.

    And, of course, one of the most powerful women in the Bush Administration is National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice.

    Interestingly, on the Indian side, there is Foreign Secretary Chokila Iyer and Nirupama Rao, the new external affairs ministry spokesperson, who earlier served in Washington as press counsellor, then went on to be ambassador to Peru and thereafter deputy chief of mission at the Indian embassy in Moscow.

    Chamberlain is a career diplomat who belongs to the Senior Foreign Service and has served as principal deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs since 1999.

    Before this assignment, she held the post of ambassador to Laos from 1996 to 1999, served as deputy chief of mission in Kuala Lumpur from 1993 to 1996 and director of public affairs for the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs from 1991 to 1993.

    From 1989 to 1999,Chamberlain was director of counter terrorism affairs at the National Security Council and also has held various other posts, both in Washington and overseas.

    She is the two-time recipient of the State Department's superior honor awards, and is an alumnus of Northwestern University and Boston University from where she received her master's degree.


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