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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Women's History Month: Colette Marcellin


Office of Civil Rights
Washington, DC
March 2009



Colette Marcellin is the Head of the Environment, Science, Technology and Health Unit at the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta. She has demonstrated leadership, creativity and individual initiative in advancing U.S. policy across a wide range of global issues, including the environment.

Under Ms. Marcellin’s leadership, environmental issues have emerged as a key strategic priority of the Embassy. Indonesia is an environmental superpower, with great marine and terrestrial biodiversity, as well as a significant carbon emitter. Seizing the opportunity created by Indonesia’s successful hosting of the December 2007 UN climate change conference, Ms. Marcellin marshaled the embassy’s interagency team to devise an environmental diplomatic strategy to leverage cooperation with Indonesia on environmental issues into Indonesian support for climate change objectives. Under this rubric, we have launched a U.S.-Indonesian working group to combat illegal logging, provided technical and financial support for President Yudhoyono’s Coral Triangle Initiative, and encouraged Indonesia to take a leadership role in the World Bank's Strategic Climate Fund currently under development. Ms. Marcellin’s case for environmental diplomacy resulted in the inclusion of the environment as one of the Embassy’s six Mission Strategic Plan objectives.

Ms. Marcellin has coupled these diplomatic strategies with an impressive eye for public diplomacy. She has put together highly-visible environmental-themed outreach events and international visitors programs. The editors of State Magazine featured our integrated environmental program in a fall 2008 issue.

Ms. Marcellin has served in Indonesia, Singapore, Barbados, France, and Washington. She was a health care administrator prior to beginning her Foreign Service career.

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