Nancy Soderberg in 2010
March 13, 1958|
Santurce, Puerto Rico
|Political party||Democratic Party|
Nancy Elisabet Soderberg (born March 13, 1958) is an American foreign policy strategist who served as the third-ranking official on the Clinton administration's National Security Council from 1993 to 1997 and as an Alternate Representative to the United Nations as a Presidential Appointee, with the rank of Ambassador, from 1997 to 2001. She has also held positions at the International Crisis Group, Connect U.S. Fund, and the Public Interest Declassification Board. In 2012 she ran unsuccessfully for Florida Senate District 4. Soderberg filed the paperwork to run for Congress as a Democrat in the 2018 midterm elections in Florida's 6th Congressional District.
Education and early career
Soderberg was born in Santurce, Puerto Rico, where her father, a civil engineer, was working on a project, and grew up in Baltimore and Tulsa. She attended Vanderbilt University, spent her junior year in Paris, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in French and Economics. She spoke fluent French and "wanted to do something international but wasn’t sure what" so she ended up taking a "boring" job at a bank. From 1982 to 1984, she worked as a Budget Analyst at the Bank of New England in Boston, where she prepared its budget and made regular reports to the Board of Directors regarding loan portfolios.
She was accepted to Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service in Washington, D.C., where she took a class with Madeleine Albright (who later became Bill Clinton's Secretary of State), who told her to get into politics. She graduated in 1984 with a Master of Science degree, where she concentrated on international economics and political risk analysis.
Albright got her a job counting delegates for Walter Mondale's campaign from 1983 to 1984 ahead of the 1984 presidential election, which he lost. She served as foreign policy advisor to Senator Edward M. Kennedy in the U.S. Senate from 1985 to 1988 and 1989 to 1992. (She took a small break to work as the deputy issues director for foreign policy for the Dukakis campaign ahead of the 1988 presidential election.)
In 1992, George Stephanopoulos, the Clinton campaign's communications director, asked Soderberg to join Clinton’s campaign in the 1992 presidential election. She accepted and moved to Little Rock, Arkansas, for eight months to manage foreign policy.
After Clinton won the election, she was the Staff Director at the National Security Council. From 1993 to 1997, she was the Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, the third-ranking NSC official at the White House. She is the first woman in the position, and was responsible for day-to-day crisis management, briefing the President, developing U.S. national security policy at the highest levels of government, and handling issues regarding the press and U.S. Congress. She engaged the IRA and helped negotiate ceasefire in Northern Ireland in 1994, which she pointed to as her proudest achievement in diplomacy.
In 1997, Clinton nominated her to be the Alternate Representative to the United Nations as a Presidential Appointee, with the rank of Ambassador. Her responsibilities included representing the United States at the UN Security Council, participated in missions to key conflict areas, and promoted U.S. national security policy. Soderberg participated in a UN mission to Indonesia and East Timor in November 2000. She also negotiated key United Nations' resolutions regarding the Middle East and Africa, conducted shuttle diplomacy in Latin America, assisted in the development of the Administration's policies toward political and economic normalization with Vietnam, and advised on policies toward China, Japan, Russia, Angola, the Balkans, and Haiti.
From 2001 to she was Vice President for Multilateral Affairs of the International Crisis Group, where she advocated conflict prevention at the United Nations and other multilateral institutions. Although she had moved to Jacksonville, Florida, in 2004, she served as President of Connect U.S. Fund, a Washington, D.C.-based foundation that promoted responsible global engagement, from 2009 to 2013. In that capacity, she advocated conflict prevention at the United Nations and other multilateral institutions. She also served as President of the Sister Cities Program of the City of New York from 2002 to 2006. She is also Director of the Public Service Leadership Program at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, which encourages students, who are often first-generation students and refugees, to pursue careers in public service, including in government and at nonprofit organizations. She also teaches two courses in American foreign policy.
Soderberg was a foreign-policy adviser to Michael Bloomberg during his second mayoral term, when he was receiving regular briefings on foreign policy from Soderberg, Henry Kissinger, and other experts. One source called her "Bloomberg's Condi" and spurred rumors that he was contemplating a 2008 presidential campaign.
In 2011, Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown appointed Soderberg to the Jacksonville International Business Coalition, and in 2013, he appointed her to the Board of the Jacksonville Port Authority. After Lenny Curry defeated Alvin Brown in the 2015 mayoral election, the new mayor requested she resign, which she did "with deep regret" with two years remaining on her four-year term.
In 2011, she was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as Chair of the Public Interest Declassification Board (PIDB), an advisory committee established by the U.S. Congress to promote public access to U.S. national security decisions. In 2012 PIDB published a report calling for an overhaul of the U.S. government classification system. Soderberg wrote that the system was "outdated and incapable of dealing adequately with the large volumes of classified information generated in an era of digital communications and information systems".
Soderberg was a candidate for Florida Senate District 4 in the 2012 elections. She ran against Aaron Bean, former Florida State House Representative, in the newly open district. She ultimately lost but outperformed traditional voting patterns by 6 points.
It was reported on July 12, 2017, that Soderberg had filed paperwork to run for Congress as a Democrat in the 2018 midterm elections in Florida's 6th Congressional District. The current incumbent Ron DeSantis officially announced his candidacy for Governor on January 5, 2018.
From 2004 to 2008, Soderberg was married to Richard T. Bistrong, who pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and served 14 months at a U.S. federal prison (he is now an anti-bribery consultant who was named Compliance Week's list of Top Minds in 2017).
Soderberg was visiting London at the time of the June 2017 London attack. She then traveled on to Paris with her 16-year-old niece. There, the two were locked down inside the cathedral during the 2017 Notre Dame attack.
Soderberg publishes and speaks regularly on national security policy. Her second book, The Prosperity Agenda What the World Wants from America—and What We Need in Return, written with Brian Katulis, was published in July 2008. It argues for American leadership in tackling the world’s challenges in exchange for the world assisting us with our threat. Her 2005 book, The Superpower Myth: The Use and Misuse of American Might, analyzes the use of force and diplomacy over the last decade. She is a regular commentator on national and international television and radio, having appeared on NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, BBC, Fox, National Public Radio, the Lehrer News Hour, CNN Crossfire, and The Daily Show. Her articles have been published in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, the Financial Times, and other national and international publications.
- The Superpower Myth: The Use and Misuse of American Might, Wiley, 2005, ISBN 9780471656838.
- With Brian Katulis, The Prosperity Agenda: What the World Wants from America--and What We Need in Return, Wiley, 2008, ISBN 9780470105290 
- Piggott, Jim (2017-07-12). "Former UN ambassador to run for Congress". WJXT. Retrieved 2017-07-13.
- Strickland, Sandy (4 May 2012). "EVE speaker Nancy Soderberg went from the biology lab to the world stage". The Florida-Times Union. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
- "Executive Profile: Nancy Soderberg". Bloomberg. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
- "Biographies". US Naval War College. Archived from the original on 3 April 2013. Retrieved 2 July 2016. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
- "Terms of reference of the Security Council mission to East Timor and Indonesia". ReliefWeb. 25 October 2000. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
- Boren, Sam (31 December 2007). "Bloomberg Moves Closer to Running for President". New York Times. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
- Stein, Sam (28 March 2008). "Bloomberg Crams On Foreign Policy: Proof That He's Planning '08 Bid?". Huffington Post. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
- "Mayor names 3 to international business coalition". Jacksonville Daily Record. 22 December 2011. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
- "JaxPort Welcomes New and Returning Board Members". JaxPort News. 19 November 2013. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
- Bauerlein, David (28 August 2015). "Former ambassador Nancy Soderberg resigns from JaxPort board at mayor's request". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
- Public Interest Declassification Board (November 2012). Transforming the Security Classification System (PDF). Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration.
- "Nancy E. Soderberg". National Committee on American Foreign Policy. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
- Dixon, Matt (6 November 2012). "No contest for Aaron Bean in District 4 race". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
- Piggott, Jim (2017-07-12). "Former UN ambassador to run for Congress". WJXT. Retrieved 2017-07-13.
- Gancarski, A.G. (19 July 2017). "Nancy Soderberg launches campaign for Ron DeSantis' seat". Florida Politics. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
- Dixon, Matt (5 January 2018). "DeSantis makes it official, enters governor's race". Politico. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
- Henriques, Diana B. (22 January 2010). "Supplier Accused of Bribes for U.N. Contracts". New York Times. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
- "Richard Bistrong on FCPA Compliance and What Actually Happens". Corporate Crime Reporter. 4 November 2015. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
- Legorano, Giovanni (6 June 2017). "Third London Bridge Attacker Youssef Zaghba Had Been Stopped in Italy". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
- Willsher, Kim (6 June 2017). "Tourists shelter in Notre Dame Cathedral as hammer-wielding assailant attacks police". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
- Harper, Mark (6 June 2017). "Ex-ambassador with Volusia, Flagler ties among U.S. visitors to Notre-Dame during attack". The Daytona Beach News-Journal. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
- LaMoshi, Gary. "Unilateralism fails global tests". Asia Times. Retrieved 2008-11-25.
- Nancy Soderberg, Brian Katulis. "The Prosperity Agenda: What the World Wants from America—and What We Need in Return" Wiley, 2008, 272 pp.
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