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Bernadette Meehan

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Name  Bernadette Meehan

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ISD Diverse Diplomacy Leaders series with Bernadette Meehan _ full event video

Bernadette Meehan (born 1975) is an American diplomat and former spokesperson for the United States National Security Council.


Early life and education

Meehan was raised in Pleasantville, New York and graduated from Kennedy Catholic High School. She attended Boston College, graduating in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. After graduation she worked for seven years as a financial analyst on Wall Street, first as a Vice President at JPMorgan Chase and later as a Vice President at Lehman Brothers. Although she enjoyed her career in finance, she was always drawn to foreign affairs.


Meehan joined the Department of State as a Foreign Service Officer in 2004, and began her new career as a Consular Officer at the U.S. embassy in Bogota, Colombia. While assigned to Colombia, she survived a kidnapping by armed men in Bogota in 2006.

Meehan served in Colombia for two years before volunteering to serve in Iraq. She worked at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad from 2006 to 2007, as a Consular Officer, and for several months as Special Assistant to Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad.

In September 2007 Meehan left Iraq to study Arabic at the Department of State's Foreign Service Institute in Virginia to prepare for her next tour as the Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Her job in Dubai was three-fold: to explain U.S. foreign policy to the local population; to promote the culture of the United States; and to enable exchange programs between Americans and Emiratis, such as the Fulbright Program and International Visitor Leadership Program.

Meehan was selected in 2007 as a Powell Fellow, recognized as one of the 12 most promising future leaders in the Department of State.

In 2010 Meehan returned to Washington DC to work as a State Department Line Officer, advancing then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s overseas travel, as well as traveling with Clinton as a member of the “Plane Team” that prepared the Secretary of State's briefing papers on foreign trips. Meehan worked as a Line Officer for ten months when she was invited to become one of Clinton’s two Special Assistants.

In 2012, Meehan joined the National Security Council, and in 2014 Meehan became the Spokeswoman for the National Security Council. Working with Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes, Meehan helped develop the White House's strategy for explaining the Iran nuclear deal to the public and the President's actions to chart a new course in U.S. relations with Cuba. Meehan justified the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen as having been requested by Yemen's exiled President Hadi.

Meehan now serves as the Executive Director of International Relations at the Obama Foundation.


Bernadette Meehan Wikipedia