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Catherine Russell
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Cathy Russell currently serves as the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues. Prior to assuming this position in August 2013, she served as Deputy Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden, focusing on military families and higher education.

During her tenure at the White House, Ambassador Russell coordinated the development of the administration’s strategy to prevent and respond to gender-based violence globally. She previously served as a Senior Advisor to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on international women’s issues. During the Clinton administration, Russell served as Associate Deputy Attorney General. She has also served as Staff Director of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Senior Counsel to Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.). She received a B.A. in philosophy from Boston College and a J.D. from George Washington University.

To learn more about Ambassador Russell's work at the State Department, subscribe to her office's newsletter.

Entries by Catherine Russell

On the Road: An Interview With an Artisan

(0) Comments | Posted August 13, 2015 | 3:04 PM


Ambassador Catherine Russell (right) poses for a photo with Zohra Baraka (left), a Kenyan artisan entrepreneur and chairperson for the African Women's Entrepreneurship Program in Kenya.

Recently I had the chance to talk one-on-one with Zohra Baraka, a Kenyan artisan entrepreneur and chairperson...

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Entrepreneurship Has a Gender Problem -- But It's Not What You Think

(1) Comments | Posted July 7, 2015 | 5:51 PM

Dr. Jill Biden, USAID Administrator Raj Shah and U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues Cathy Russell tour women's entrepreneurs booths, in Lusaka, Zambia, July 2, 2014. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

Is gender discrimination standing in the way of entrepreneurship?...

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8 Must-Read Stories From the Human Rights Reports

(0) Comments | Posted July 1, 2015 | 2:23 PM

[Photo: Gustave Deghilage ]

Every morning I pass a wonderful quote from Eleanor Roosevelt on the wall outside my office.

The battle for the individual rights of women is one of long standing, and none of us should countenance anything...

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Empowering Women Requires Collaborative Solutions

(2) Comments | Posted June 18, 2015 | 5:02 PM


Attendees pose for a group photo at the 2014 Women and the Economy Forum in Beijing. [Women of China/Fan Wenjun]

Recently Jack Ma called women executives "the secret sauce" of his company Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant.

His sentiment is one that research...

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The Women of Iraq: What Women's Roles Look Like on the Ground

(0) Comments | Posted May 13, 2015 | 11:22 AM

U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues Cathy Russell met with Iraqis during her trip to Baghdad earlier this year. (State Department Image)

When Huda answered ISIL's knock on the door, she found men outside her home. Toting guns, they asked her why her...

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In Burma, "Women's Issues" Can't Wait

(0) Comments | Posted May 11, 2015 | 11:12 AM


Secretary of State John Kerry gives the thumbs up to four Myanmar women leaders at the State Department in Washington DC on February 6, 2013. (State Department Image)

"Women's issues can wait--there are more pressing issues at hand."

That's the mentality...

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Why Moms Matter to U.S. Foreign Policy

(0) Comments | Posted May 7, 2015 | 2:48 PM

Mother support group leader Gladys Nagilai and other mothers with their budding tomato crop in a greenhouse in Lodwar, northern Kenya. The crops were planted by a mother support group. (Image by Marisol Grandon/Department for International Development)

You don't need...

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Being a School Girl Should Not Be Dangerous Business

(1) Comments | Posted April 14, 2015 | 4:51 PM

Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield signs a banner for the Nigerian Women's Platform for Peaceful Elections during her visit to Abuja on March 28, 2015. [State Department photo by Idika Onyukwu/ Public Domain]

One year ago, hundreds of girls...

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At the Summit of the Americas, Leaders Should Remember Women Are Key to Success

(0) Comments | Posted April 9, 2015 | 3:29 PM

Photo: Ambassador Cathy Russell meets with women in Guatemala in October 2014.

This year for the first time, the Summit of the Americas will include representatives from all 35 countries of the Americas. This historic level of participation is good news. After all, we need to...

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5 Powerful Stories About FGM/C You Need to Hear

(0) Comments | Posted February 5, 2015 | 2:09 PM


Photo courtesy of DFID - UK Department for International Development.

Female genital mutilation / cutting is not an easy subject to talk about. After all, it involves the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia.

For this...

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Being a Woman Should Not Have to be a Courageous Act

(0) Comments | Posted November 26, 2014 | 11:26 AM

This week, we commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which kicks off the 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence. It's a time to remind us every year how much work there is to do to end violence against women and girls around...

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Celebrating the International Day of the Girl: Why Adolescent Girls Are a Smart Investment

(0) Comments | Posted October 13, 2014 | 10:33 AM

On Friday, the Nobel Prize Committee recognized Malala Yousafzai for her fearless advocacy on behalf of girl's education. Her award is a cause for celebration -- but it is also a call for action, especially as we paused this October 11 to recognize the annual International Day of the Girl....

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ISIL's Abuse of Women and Girls Must Be Stopped

(0) Comments | Posted September 12, 2014 | 9:35 AM

Beheadings are not the only horrors perpetrated by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, known as ISIL. Over the past two months, there has been a tragic stream of reports about thousands of women and girls abducted from their families and sold in markets. These violent extremists are...

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Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict: Turning Commitment into Action

(0) Comments | Posted June 23, 2014 | 12:41 PM

Time and again, we hear horrific accounts of violence perpetrated against women in conflicts around the world. But this violence is not inevitable. The United States is committed to addressing this important issue diplomatically and financially -- and it is not alone. The first Global Summit to End Sexual Violence,...

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Empowering Women, Ending Violence

(2) Comments | Posted June 11, 2014 | 1:41 PM

The horrific abduction of more than 200 innocent Nigerian schoolgirls has, rightly, shocked the conscience of the world. It also serves as a harsh reminder of the violence women and girls endure not just in parts of Nigeria but in so many countries around the globe affected by war, violence...

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Our Outrage Must Be a Call to Action

(0) Comments | Posted May 28, 2014 | 2:16 PM

The world has been transfixed and horrified by the brutality of a group of extremists toward nearly 300 schoolgirls and unnamed others in northeastern Nigeria. The plight of these girls has rightly captured the global public's heart and mind. For daring to seek an education, these girls and others have...

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Addressing Violence Against Women and Children Is Critical to Achieving an AIDS-Free Generation and the Millennium Development Goals

(0) Comments | Posted March 19, 2014 | 5:53 PM

During this week's 58th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, the global community will come together to reflect on key achievements and challenges in advancing progress toward the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for women and girls. This provides an opportune moment to examine...

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