U.S. Embassy Montevideo - Archives

State's Senior Biotech Advisor Madelyn Spirnak Visited Uruguay

Ms. Spirnak visited the region to discuss issues related to agricultural biotechnology, biosafety and global markets

Posted: April 27, 2005

Ms. Spirnak with FAS Agricultural Counselor Bob Hoff addressing a meeting in Montevideo, April 13.
Madelyn E. Spirnak, Senior Advisor of the Department of State for Agricultural Biotechnology visited the region to discuss issues related to agricultural biotechnology, biosafety and global markets. In addition to her visit to Uruguay, she also traveled to Argentina, Brazil, and Chile.

During her April 13 stay in Montevideo, Ms. Spirnak met with Uruguayan governmental officials, representatives from the biotech industry, farmers associations, seed producers and companies, biotech researchers and academics, and representatives from non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Ms. Spirnak stressed the importance of biotechnology as a tool for achieving the goal of poverty reduction while emphasizing the importance of promoting science-based regulatory policies in biotechnology.

As Senior Advisor for Agricultural Biotechnology, Ms. Spirnak leads the State Department's efforts to build a broad international coalition in support of a science-based approach to agricultural biotechnology and recognition of its benefits as a critical development tool.

Ms. Spirnak’s Foreign Service career has included key positions in support of U.S. trade and development policy, particularly in the Middle East and Europe. Most recently, she served as Deputy U.S. Representative to the United Nations Economic and Social Council. Prior to her UN assignment, Ms. Spirnak was Senior Advisor for Economic Affairs in the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, where she assisted in developing the framework for the Middle East Partnership Initiative, which provides development assistance in the areas of economic reform, education, and political participation. From September 2001 through June 2002, Ms. Spirnak served as Director for Energy, Development and the Middle East in the National Security Council’s International Economics Directorate. She played a key role in formulating the Administration’s development assistance strategy and the Millennium Challenge Account.

The NSC directorship was Ms. Spirnak’s second assignment in the Executive Office of the President. From 1998-1999, she served as Director for the Middle East and Mediterranean in the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), where she negotiated Trade and Investment Framework Agreements (TIFAs) with Jordan and with Egypt. Ms. Spirnak’s Middle East experience includes service as Trade and Investment Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo from 1991-1994. She served in Ankara, Turkey during the Gulf War and again from 1999-2001. As Economic Counselor, she coordinated U.S. disaster assistance following the August 1999 earthquake and helped shape the U.S. response to Turkey’s financial crises.

She was Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Dublin from 1997-1998, following two years as Chief of Embassy Dublin’s Political-Economic Section. During this period, the historic Northern Ireland Good Friday peace agreement was reached and Ireland held the Presidency of the European Union. Ms. Spirnak’s Dublin assignment followed a year of graduate studies in European Community Law at Scotland’s University of Edinburgh.

After joining the Foreign Service in 1980, Ms. Spirnak served as Vice Consul in Berlin, and returned to Washington for assignments in the Bureau of Public Affairs and in the Office of East West Trade. She was graduated from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service (BSFS), and from the Law Faculty of Edinburgh University (LL.M.). She speaks German and Turkish. She was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

For more information on biotechnology please visit the U.S. Regulatory Agencies Unified Biotechnology website.


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