Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies Center for International Security and Cooperation Stanford University

March 4, 2010 - CISAC, FSI Stanford In the News

Eileen Donahoe confirmed as US Ambassador to UN Human Rights Council

On March 3, 2010, the U.S. Senate announced that Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe, a CISAC affiliate, was confirmed by congress "for the rank of Ambassador during her tenure of service as the U.S. Representative to the U.N. Human Rights" Council in Geneva. In this role, she will be responsible for advancing U.S. policies on the council to ensure protection of universally agreed human rights standards.

The White House first announced that Donahoe would be nominated for the post last November. She testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Dec. 1, during which she mentioned her work as a scholar at CISAC:

"Most recently, I have focused my work as a Ph.D. candidate, and as a scholar at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford, on human rights, the rule of law and UN reform issues, with a particular focus on ethical and legal justifications for humanitarian military intervention. The dominant ethos at the Center for International Security and Cooperation is to encourage excellent scholarship - but always with a public policy orientation and relevance to real world problems. In my case, this influence has led me to consider ways to improve the quality of debate in international fora on whether and when to use military force for humanitarian purposes. The prospect of serving as Ambassador to the Human Rights Council, where member states debate the real world application of universal human rights, presents the most deeply fulfilling opportunity I can imagine."

Donahoe was a CISAC visiting scholar in 2006-07 after earning a doctorate in ethics from the University of California's Graduate Theological Union. Her dissertation, "Humanitarian Military Intervention: The Moral Imperative Versus the Rule of Law," addressed the sometimes conflicting ethical and legal justifications for humanitarian military intervention, as well as the basis for authorization of the use of force by the U.N. Security Council. Her research has also focused on U.N. reform and the international rule of law.

Donahoe has worked with various human rights organizations, including The Lawyer's Committee for Human Rights, where she did research on the connection between U.S. foreign policy and human rights, and Amnesty International's Ginetta Sagan Fund, where she did strategy work related to human rights concerns of women and children.

Donahoe, a resident of Portola Valley, chaired the National Women for Obama Finance Committee during Barack Obama's presidential campaign.

Previously, Donahoe was a litigation associate at Fenwick & West in Palo Alto, where she served technology clients in intellectual property and commercial disputes. Prior to that, she was a teaching fellow at Stanford Law School and a law clerk to the Hon. William H. Orrick in San Francisco.

In addition to her doctorate, Donahoe earned a bachelor's degree from Dartmouth College, a master's in theology from Harvard, and both a law degree and master's in East Asian Studies from Stanford University.

Topics: Human Rights | Institutions and Organizations | International Security and Defense | Rule of law and corruption | U.S. foreign policy | Switzerland