NEW YORK – The World Jewish Congress has called on the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations to advance the nomination of Courtney O’Donnell for the position of U.S. Permanent Representative to UNESCO, and for the Senate to speedily confirm her to this critical ambassador-level position.
“Courtney O’Donnell’s strong commitment to combating antisemitism and her active role in Holocaust remembrance initiatives make her an outstanding choice for this role,” said World Jewish Congress Executive Vice President Maram Stern. “Her experience and leadership in strategic coalition-building across various sectors are essential for UNESCO's multifaceted mission.”
The WJC, emphasizing the importance of U.S. leadership within UNESCO, noted that O’Donnell's role advances the preservation of cultural heritage, including Jewish culture, and the strengthening of initiatives against misinformation and Holocaust denial.
In her remarks at Thursday’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, O’Donnell said that she would “work aggressively to combat antisemitism and counter anti-Israel bias” and underscored that “UNESCO is the only UN agency specifically charged with promoting Holocaust education efforts.” She added, “In the wake of the October 7th Hamas terrorist attacks against Israel, and the related rise of antisemitism worldwide, this work has never been more urgent. If confirmed I would be proud to stand with our Israeli partners and allies.”
Following the committee hearing, Stern said, "Today’s hearing confirmed what Courtney O’Donnell’s exemplary record of service demonstrates: She mirrors the values and objectives of the WJC in combating antisemitism and preserving the memory of the Holocaust. Her expertise will be invaluable in advancing education and cultural understanding globally. We look forward to working with her and with UNESCO in our shared endeavors.”
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