Biography of Shirin Tahir-Kheli -- Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State
Shirin R. Tahir-Kheli was appointed by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to serve as her Senior Adviser for women's empowerment. In this capacity, she will focus especially on multifaceted outreach to the women of the Muslim world. The empowerment of women is vital to the President's agenda for promoting democracy and freedom. Strengthening the role of women and providing opportunities for them are important elements in economic development as well as social and political progress.
Ambassador Tahir-Kheli most recently served as the Secretary's Senior Adviser on United Nations reform. She engaged the UN Secretary General and Secretariat as well as other UN member states on UN reform efforts.
From 2003 to 2005 Ambassador Tahir-Kheli was the Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Democracy, Human Rights and International Operations at the National Security Council. Prior to that she was Research Professor at Johns Hopkins University Foreign Policy Institute, School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, where she was the founding Director of the South Asia Program at the Foreign Policy Institute. From 1993 to 1995 she was a senior fellow at the Center of International Studies at Princeton University. Ambassador Tahir-Kheli was appointed Alternate United States Representative to the United Nations for Special Political Affairs serving from 1990 to 1993. Ambassador Tahir-Kheli also served as Director of Political Military Affairs and then as Director of Near East and South Asian Affairs from 1984 to 1989 with the National Security Council staff. From 1982 to 1984, Tahir-Kheli was a member of the Policy Planning Staff at the Department of State.
During her career of service, Ambassador Tahir-Kheli was Head of the United States Delegation to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in 2001; she was appointed by President Bush to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom; and she served on the Presidential Commission on Public Service from 1992 to 1993.
Ambassador Tahir-Kheli has an M.A. and a Ph.D. in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. from Ohio Wesleyan University. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute for Strategic Studies.