Obama Names Top Official for International Org Affairs

President Barack Obama made official last week what many in the development community had suspected for quite some time: He nominated Esther Brimmer as assistant secretary of state for international organizations.

Brimmer, an Obama campaign adviser, is said to have a close relationship with United Nations Ambassador

. Before being tapped by Obama, she was the deputy director and director of research at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at Johns Hopkins University's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies.

Brimmer "brings a deep knowledge and expertise in their field, along with a commitment to strengthen American diplomacy to meet 21st-century challenges," Obama said in a prepared statement announcing her appointment March 16.

If confirmed, Brimmer will be in charge of the Bureau of International Organization Affairs. This department develops and implements policies in international organizations like the U.N. and World Bank.

Since receiving her doctorate from Oxford University, Brimmer has been a rising star in the international relations community. She has held posts at the State Department's Office of Policy Planning, and has worked as a special assistant to the undersecretary of state for political affairs and a legislative analyst at the Democratic Study Group at the U.S. House of Representatives.

Brimmer seemingly has little first-hand development experience. She hasn't worked for an organization that directly deals with development policy or carries out development work.

When asked about Brimmer's appointment, one development insider had this to say: "She certainly appears credentialed for the job. I don't know her personally. I haven't heard anything good or bad about her since the announcement."

About the author

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    David Francis

    David is a Washington-based journalist and former Devex staffer who spearheaded Devex's "Obama's Foreign Aid Reform" blog. He has written for the Christian Science Monitor, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, SportsIllustrated.com, San Francisco Chronicle, Foreign Policy magazine, and the Washington Monthly. David holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago and a graduate degree from Georgetown University.