On October 19, the Honorable Michele J. Sison, assistant secretary of state for international organization affairs, joined the Honorable David M. Satterfield, director of the Baker Institute, to discuss the United States’ priorities as a member of the United Nations (UN), as well as the importance of multilateral diplomacy as a tool for advancing U.S. interests through a UN system more effective and efficient in its ability to confront global challenges.
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Director’s Lecture Series
The Director’s Lecture Series was created and endowed by Ambassador Edward P. Djerejian, founding director of the Baker Institute, and Mrs. Françoise Djerejian to provide a specific forum for Baker Institute Roundtable members, faculty and students to engage in the most relevant and pressing issues we face today.
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The Honorable Michele J. Sison was sworn in as assistant secretary of state for international organization affairs on December 21, 2021. She served as U.S. ambassador to Haiti from February 2018 to October 2021, and as U.S. deputy representative to the United Nations (UN) from 2014 to 2018. In that role, she helped build global coalitions to counter transnational threats to peace and security and advocated for a more effective, efficient and accountable UN and multilateral system. Sison has extensive experience with UN peacekeeping and the UN entities responsible for promoting development, humanitarian relief and human rights. She has also served as U.S. ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives (2012-2014), U.S. ambassador to Lebanon (2008-2010), and U.S. ambassador to the United Arab Emirates (2004-2008).
Sison’s diplomatic assignments have also included assistant chief of mission in Baghdad; principal deputy assistant secretary of state for South Asian affairs; deputy chief of mission in Islamabad; consul general in Chennai, India; and tours in the Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Benin and Togo. She also served as the U.S. Department of State’s director of career development and assignments. Sison is the recipient of the U.S. Presidential Distinguished Service Award, the U.S. Presidential Meritorious Service Award, and the U.S. Department of the Army’s Outstanding Civilian Service Medal. She holds numerous U.S. State Department honors, including ambassadorial-level awards for her contributions to counter-proliferation and in combatting human trafficking. Sison holds the rank of career ambassador, the highest rank in the U.S. Foreign Service.
The Honorable David M. Satterfield
Director, Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy; Former Ambassador to Lebanon and Turkey