Joan Edelman Spero was sworn in as Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business, and Agricultural Affairs on April 2, 1993. Mrs. Spero's former government service was as United States Ambassador to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations from 1980-1981. In that position, she formulated and executed United States policies on economic and social issues at the world organization and served as senior economic adviser to the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Donald F. McHenry.
Before joining the Department of State in 1993, Mrs. Spero was Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Communications of American Express Company and a member of the firm's Corporate Planning and Policy Committee. Her responsibilities included managing American Express' corporate and employee communications, world-wide government relations, the company's philanthropic and cultural programs and its consumer affairs and public responsibility units. Mrs. Spero served with American Express for twelve years, beginning as Vice President, Strategic Planning.
Mrs. Spero taught for six years at Columbia University in the late seventies and has written and lectured widely on international economic issues, including international monetary problems, energy and Third World relations. She is the author of The Politics of International Economic Relations and The Failure of the Franklin National Bank: Challenge to the International Banking System.
Mrs. Spero graduated with honors from the University of Wisconsin, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She holds a Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University. She also studied at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques in Paris and speaks fluent French.
Active in professional associations in foreign affairs and economics, Mrs. Spero is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Council of American Ambassadors and serves on the Board of Trustees at Amherst College in Massachusetts. She is married to C. Michael Spero, a New York attorney. They have two sons, Jason and Bejamin.
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