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.
Ms. Spirnak with FAS Agricultural Counselor Bob Hoff addressing a meeting in Montevideo, April 13.
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
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
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.
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Regulatory Agencies Unified Biotechnology website.