The Multilateralist

Administration fills UN reform post

After a long delay, the administration has finally announced its nominee to be ambassador for UN reform issues. He’s Joseph Torsella, a Pennyslvania mover and shaker, who launched a bid for U.S. Senate and then stepped aside when Arlen Specter switched parties. His background doesn’t appear to include any expertise on the United Nations—or even ...

After a long delay, the administration has finally announced its nominee to be ambassador for UN reform issues. He’s Joseph Torsella, a Pennyslvania mover and shaker, who launched a bid for U.S. Senate and then stepped aside when Arlen Specter switched parties. His background doesn’t appear to include any expertise on the United Nations—or even on international issues more generally.

Joseph M. Torsella currently serves as Chairman of the Pennsylvania State Board of Education.  He was the founding President and CEO of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, a non-profit museum and education center dedicated to explaining and celebrating American ideas and ideals. He has also been a small business owner and served as Deputy Mayor for Policy and Planning in Philadelphia.  Mr. Torsella is a former Rhodes Scholar and a Phi Beta Kappa graduate with a B.A. in History and Economics from the University of Pennsylvania.  

If confirmed, Torsella would take over for Joseph Melrose, a retired Foreign Service officer who’s held down the post on an interim basis. Given the likely pressure from the  new Republican Congress on UN issues, Torsella will have his hands full.

Given President Obama’s recent appointment of a top fundraiser for the post of ASEAN envoy, it appears that multilateral institutions have become a convenient place to slot folks owed favors. 

 Twitter: @multilateralist

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