To celebrate Women's History Month, I have decided to highlight just a fraction of the amazing women who have attended SIPA throughout the years.
Letitia James, Class of 2013: Letitia James is currently serving as the 67th Attorney General of New York. Originally born in Brooklyn, Attorney General James received her B.A. from Lehman College and went on to receive her J.D. from Howard University School of Law and passed the New York Bar in 1989. She began her law career in New York City as a public defender and then was elected to City Council. In 2013, Attorney General James graduated from SIPA with her Master of Public Administration (MPA). Following SIPA graduation, Attorney General James was elected New York City Public Advocate. She cut her second term short to run for New York City Attorney General in 2018, and won. Attorney General James is the first female Attorney General in New York. She is also the first African American Woman to be elected to statewide office.
Deborah Lee James, Class of 1981: Deborah Lee James served as the 23rd United States Secretary of the Air Force under Former President Barack Obama. She is the second woman ever to hold this position. Ms. James was born in New Jersey and received her B.A. from Duke University. In 1981, Ms. James graduated from SIPA with her Master of International Affairs (MIA). After SIPA, Ms. James served as a Staff Member for the House Armed Services Committee. Under Former President Clinton, she served as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs. Ms. James then transitioned to the private sector and worked for Science Applications International Corporation, Business Executives for National Security, and United Technologies. In 2013, she was nominated and received senate approval for her position as the United States Secretary of the Air Force and served from 2013 to 2017. Ms. James currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Atlantic Council. On April 24th, Ms. James will be visiting SIPA to have lunch with current students.
Karine Jean-Pierre, Class of 2003: Karine Jean-Pierre is currently serving as the 35th White House Press Secretary. She was born on the island of Martinique and immigrated to New York City when she was five years old. She earned her B.S. from the New York Institute of Technology and then graduated with her Master of Public Administration (MPA) from SIPA in 2003. Following her time at SIPA, Press Secretary Jean-Pierre worked for city council member James F. Gennaro as the Director of Legislative and Budget Affairs. During Former President Obama’s first term, Press Secretary Jean-Pierre served as the regional political director for the White House Office of Political Affairs. Secretary Jean- Pierre worked as the National Deputy Battleground States Director for President Obama’s re-election campaign. During Joe Biden’s Presidential Campaign, she worked as a senior advisor. In 2020, Secretary Jean-Pierre was named Principal Deputy Press Secretary and in 2022, it was announced that she would step into the role of Press Secretary. She is the first black person and the first openly LGBTQ person to ever hold this position.
SIPA is incredibly lucky to have had some of the best and brightest minds in the halls of the International Affairs Building. After attending SIPA, you become a part of a worldwide network of alumni. Many are able to come back and speak during courses or on panels about their professional experience and help educate the next generation of world leaders. I am excited to be a part of this legacy!