Celebrating Women Leaders Luncheon
Voices of Women Journalists
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Washington, DC—On November 21, 2013, WFPG held its annual Celebrating Women Leaders Luncheon. This year’s luncheon highlighted the accomplishments of women journalists covering foreign policy hotspots and featured a panel discussion moderated by Elisabeth Bumiller, The New York Times Deputy Washington Bureau Chief. The panel of honorees included Karen DeYoung, Associate Editor and Senior National Security Correspondent of The Washington Post; Jill Dougherty, CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent; and Siobhan Gorman, The Wall Street Journal Intelligence Correspondent. The journalists shared insights from their recent coverage of key foreign policy and national security issues.

DeYoung discussed Secretary of State John Kerry’s approach to foreign policy and his recent trip to the Middle East and Europe. She described Kerry as “the Energizer Bunny of foreign policy” because of his energetic and spontaneous leadership style. According to DeYoung, Kerry feels there has been a dearth of US diplomacy, and has attempted to remedy this by increasing US involvement in global issues, such as the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations and the conflict in Syria. DeYoung also commented that Kerry’s independence has at times strained his relations with the White House and within the State Department. Despite his active involvement in Syria and the Middle East, Kerry has paid virtually no attention the Obama administration’s stated foreign policy priorities, such as the Asia pivot and Russia.

Gorman discussed the domestic and foreign policy implications of the Snowden disclosures of NSA activities. The leaked information forced the NSA to admit to “a whole host of wrong-doing” including violations of privacy and violations of court orders, she said. In addition, the scandal has led many to question the NSA’s competence. In the past, many have argued that the NSA is too important to national security to stop and rework the agency, but Gorman stated that it may now be the right time to reconsider NSA reforms. She also spoke about the foreign policy consequences of the leaked NSA foreign surveillance programs, such as the tapping of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone. According to Gorman, these revelations have led to a broader international discussion about surveillance, especially between the US and its European allies.

Dougherty addressed Russia’s changing role on the world stage, characterizing the country as “a resurgent Russia.” She cited Russia’s involvement with the chemical weapons issue in Syria, the top-level Russian delegation sent to Egypt, and Russian-Israeli talks about Iran’s nuclear program as examples of Russia’s new proactive approach to foreign policy. Dougherty emphasized that Russia is “in search of itself,” and is attempting to construct a national identity both at home and abroad. She argued that the Putin administration is also increasing its focus on soft power strategies, and aims to portray Russia as “the moral bastion of the civilized world,” in contrast to the “morally bankrupt” United States and Europe.

Bumiller closed the conversation by asking the panelists what areas of foreign policy coverage they believe are underreported by the US media. Gorman cited Pakistan as a topic that once dominated national security coverage, but has since faded from the headlines despite its continued importance to US interests. DeYoung said that the Asia pivot has been largely overlooked by news media, despite the transfer of troops and shifting of military assets to the region. Dougherty pointed towards increased Arctic exploration, energy trade issues, and youth unemployment as areas deserving of more media attention.  

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Honorees Elisabeth Bumiller, Karen DeYoung,
Siobhan Gorman, and Jill Dougherty

  Karen DeYoung addresses WFPG

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Moderator Elisabeth Bumiller opens the program

  WFPG President Patricia Ellis welcomes guests

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Jill Dougherty, Former Congresswoman Jane Harman,
Patricia Ellis, and Siobhan Gorman

  Ambassador Anne Anderson of Ireland and Patricia Ellis
with Celebrating Women Leaders Honorees

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Rosa Rai Djalal, Shaista Mahmood,
Shahin Mafi, and Sultana Hakimi

  Ann Stock and Ambassador Hunaina
Sultan Ahmed Al-Mughairy of Oman

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DCM Mabel Gomez-Oliver of Mexico, Ambassador
Jadranka Negodic of Bosnia & Herzegovina,
Marina McCarthy, and Arnauld Guillois of France


Ambassador Anderson and Donna Constantinople
with WFPG Board Members Mary Catherine Toker of
General Mills and Theresa Loar of CH2M Hill

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WFPG Board Member Isabel Jasinowski of Goodyear,
Jane Harman, Ambassador Anderson and Patricia Ellis 

  WFPG Board Member Dawn Calabia and
Ambassador Oliver Wonekha of Uganda

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Ambassador Jose Cuisia of the Philippines and Rosa Djalal

  Board Vice Chair Gail Leftwich Kitch speaks with guest

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Kerstin Sorensen, Katie O'Connell,
and Michael Feighner
of NAFSA: Association of International Educators

  Allyson McKithen of Ronald Reagan Building and
International Trade Center, Sultana Hakimi, Shaista Mahmood,
Jane Harman, and Mary O'Connor
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WFPG Associate Director Kimberly Kahnhauser
with Betty and Joseph Dukert

  Jane Du Plain of Ronald Reagan Building and
International Trade Center listens to the program
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