Date: 02/01/2012 Description: Black History Month 2012: Reta Jo Lewis - State Dept ImageIn January 2010, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton appointed Reta Jo Lewis to serve as the Special Representative for Global Intergovernmental Affairs (S/SRGIA), a newly created position mandated to collaborate with state and local leaders and their counterparts abroad to meet U.S. foreign policy goals.

Ms. Lewis’ experience in the private sector, national and local government, uniquely prepared her fill this pioneering role. She served as Director of Business Outreach on the Obama-Biden Transition Team; U.S. Chamber of Commerce Vice President and Counselor to the President; Chief of Staff in one of the District of Columbia’s largest agencies, the Department of Public Works; Special Assistant for Political Affairs at the Clinton White House; and as an attorney in private practice. In addition, Ms. Lewis, who has maintained a municipal and international focused law practice, plays an active role in community and civic activities, including membership in the International Women’s Forum and having served as the national tour director for the first Nelson Mandela eight city USA tour.

A native of Georgia, Special Representative Lewis maintains strong ties with family and friends in her home state. At the request of Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, she delivered remarks last month at a ceremony to observe the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Georgia Capitol.

In furtherance of Secretary Clinton’s vision of 2lst century diplomacy, Special Representative is amplifying a multitude of State Department priorities by providing leadership in building relationships and conducting outreach to subnational leaders around the world. She has been instrumental in creating opportunities for peer-to-peer engagement of global officials below the national level. In the two years since assuming her position, Special Representative Lewis has built a record of leading diverse initiatives to promote global engagement with state and local leaders in Brazil, China, India, Nigeria, and South Africa, among, others, and in other emerging centers of global influence.

Special Representative Lewis recognizes that “U.S. states and their international counterparts share mutual interests and that there are many opportunities for state-to-state cooperation in business and industry, education, health, and sustainability.” The objective is to use this platform “to serve as a catalyst to promote mutual trade and investment globally.”