On Wednesday evening, Barbara Bodine, the former Ambassador to Yemen (1997-2001) spoke at the Elliot School to GW students and other interested members of the community as a part of the “Distinguished Women in International Affairs Series.” The event was co-sponsored by the Institute for Global and International Studies, Delta Phi Epsilon Professional Foreign Service Sorority, Sigma Iota Rho, The Honors Fraternity for International Affairs, and Women in International Security at GWU.
She was introduced by another former ambassador and professor at GWU, Ambassador Edward “Skip” Gnehm, a self-proclaimed “old friend” of Bodine’s.
Bodine spoke at length about her views on the Arab Awakening, progress in women’s rights in Yemen, and her time in the foreign service, which included tours in Hong Kong, Bangkok, Baghdad and Kuwait as well as her ambassadorship in Yemen.
In regard to Yemen’s Arab Awakening, Bodine was very optimistic.
“[Yemen is] the one country that is going to be able to come out of the Arab Awakening going forward, against all odds,” she said.
During the question and answer session at the end of the 2-hour-long event, the Ambassador discussed her role as Deputy Chief of Mission in Kuwait after the Iraqi invasion, when she and her colleagues at the embassy were “virtual hostages.” She also answered questions from audience members on topics ranging from success in the foreign service as a woman to US drone policy.
“Ambassador Bodine is such an interesting woman,” said GW sophomore Aisha Iqbal. “I’m so glad I got the opportunity to hear her speak, and I hope I can be as candid as she is one day.”
Bodine now lectures at the Woodrow Wilson School and is the director of the Scholars in the Nation’s Service Initiative at Princeton University.