Women’s Leadership Celebrated at Fletcher School

Journalist and bank executive share alumnae award; Ambassador Samantha Power headlines gender conference
A woman talking while standing on an open field. Women’s leadership is celebrated at Fletcher School as a journalist and bank executive share alumnae award and a former ambassador headlines gender conference
Washington Post reporter Karoun Demirijian covers national security policy on Capitol Hill. She is receiving the 2019 Fletcher Women’s Leadership Award along with Bank of America executive Siobhan MacDermott.
November 12, 2019

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Washington Post reporter Karoun Demirjian, F06, and Bank of America executive Siobhan MacDermott, F13, will receive the 2019 Fletcher Women’s Leadership Award at a ceremony this Thursday evening, November 14. That event kicks off a celebration of women’s leadership that continues through the fifth annual student-led Conference on Gender and International Affairs, which runs on Friday and Saturday, November 13 and 14, and features a keynote by Ambassador Samantha Power.

The Fletcher Women’s Leadership Award honors outstanding female graduates making a meaningful impact in the world. Honorees are mid-career leaders living and working outside of the United States or whose work has an international component or implication. This is the first time the award has been given to two alumnae. 

Siobhan MacDermott is vice chair of global corporate and investment banking at Bank of America.“I am delighted that we are recognizing two women leaders who have made their experiences at The Fletcher School inflection points in their careers. Their leadership is evident in the way they have been able to make sense of the complexity of today’s world,” said Fletcher School Dean Rachel Kyte, F02. “A Fletcher education is an investment in one’s lifelong learning and leadership—it pays back many times over. As dean, I am dedicated to investing in tomorrow’s leaders, today. Karoun and Siobhan are wonderful role models and examples of the impact we hope to have.”

Demirijian covers national security policy on Capitol Hill, with a focus on defense, foreign policy, intelligence, and matters concerning the judiciary. She previously was a correspondent for the Washington Post based in its Moscow bureau.

MacDermott is vice chair of global corporate and investment banking at Bank of America, with a primary focus on global sovereign wealth funds and private capital family offices. She previously served as head of Bank of America’s Global Cyber Public Policy team, dedicated to improving cyber resiliency of the global financial system.

The theme for this year’s Conference on Gender and International Affairs is “[En]gendering Change: A Rally for Action.” The keynote by Power will be on November 16 at 2 p.m.

Samantha Power was the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations and served on the National Security Council as special assistant to the president under Barack Obama.Power is a professor of the practice of global leadership and public policy at Harvard Kennedy School and professor of practice at Harvard Law School. From 2013 to 2017, she served as the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, as well as a member of President Obama’s cabinet.

From 2009 to 2013, she served on the National Security Council as special assistant to the president and senior director for multilateral affairs and human rights, where she focused on issues including atrocity prevention; UN reform; LGBT and women’s rights; the promotion of religious freedom and the protection of religious minorities; and the prevention of human trafficking.

Called by Forbes “a powerful crusader for U.S foreign policy as well as human rights and democracy,” Power has been named one of Time magazine’s  “100 Most Influential People” and one of Foreign Policy’s “Top 100 Global Thinkers.” Her book “A Problem from Hell”: America and the Age of Genocide won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2003. Her memoir, The Education of an Idealist, was just published.