Goli Ameri Sworn In as Assistant Secretary of State
May 16, 2008
On May 12, 2008, against the backdrop of the historic Benjamin Franklin room at the U.S. State Department, an Iranian American, Goli Ameri, was sworn in as the Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs.
The room was unusually crowed for the occasion, and most of the guests were other fellow Iranian Americans whose faces overflowed with pride as they watched one of their own place her hand on the U.S. constitution and take the oath “to protect and serve” America.
The significance of the appointment, at a time when hostility between the United States and Iran remains high, was not lost on Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who wondered out loud what Benjamin Franklin himself would have thought “as this black American Secretary of State, a descendant of slaves, stands here to swear in Goli Ameri an Iranian American who grew up in Portland Oregon and will now be America’s face to the world.”
Secretary Rice called Ameri’s new role at the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs critical to the State Department, and hailed Ameri as a wonderful messenger for the United States because it shows that “America is the place people come from all corners of the earth to enjoy the benefits of liberty.”
The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs is responsible for fostering mutual understanding between the United States and the rest of the world. Some of the exchanges and initiatives of the Bureau include the Fulbright Program, Gilman Program, and the Future Leaders Exchange.
In 2004, Ameri was appointed by President George W. Bush as one of three public members of the United States’ delegation to the 61st session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.
In the summer of 2005, Ameri was appointed head of the United States’ delegation to the United Nations General Assembly, where she worked on UN Management Reform, the creation of the Human Rights Council, and Internet Governance.
Ms. Ameri has long had an interest in education and women’s issues. She served as a trustee of the Catlin Gabel School, as a member of the Oregon Steering Committee on the Campaign for Undergraduate Education for Stanford University, and as a member of the advisory committee for the Babson College Executive MBA program in Oregon. She has also served as a member of the Advisory Board of the National Education for Women’s Leadership at the Hatfield School of Government at Portland State University.
Prior to her government service, she was the founder and president of eTinium, Inc., a consulting and market research firm specializing in the telecommunications industry in Portland, Oregon.
Born in Tehran, Iran, Ameri first came to the United States at the age of 17, in 1974, to attend Stanford University. There, she earned a B.A. in Communications and French Literature and, later, a Masters in Communications. She became a United States citizen in 1989.