About the Author: Lorraine Hariton serves as the Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
This week, I joined the State Department as the Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs where I hope to work closely with the business community and U.S. embassies to open markets for U.S. goods and ensure a level playing field for American companies.
The high-tech mecca of Silicon Valley is a long way from the foreign policy hallways of Foggy Bottom. I spent more than 25 years in the information technology sector working with emerging technologies from mainframes to thin-client technology, internet audio solutions, speech applications and Smart Grid initiatives. I am convinced that the entrepreneurial spirit of Silicon Valley that fueled such tremendous economic growth in the United States can also be a vehicle for nation building around the world. I hope to bring that start-up mentality to new initiatives to the State Department.
Entrepreneurship that enables leverage business creation has been proven to be an effective tool to re-invigorate the global economy, expand job opportunity and alleviate poverty. Countries which foster a healthy entrepreneurial environment, ensure transparency, promote competitiveness and establish rule of law will benefit.
I also have been an advocate throughout my career for women’s equal participation in business. I plan to continue to foster the role of women in leadership positions in business around the world. Women’s participation in the business sector enables stronger, less corrupt economies.
In the weeks ahead I will be reaching out to the private sector and trade associations to ask them to help me identify where our commercial diplomacy efforts can further economic security and prosperity at home and abroad. I look forward to forging a partnership with the business community to help achieve our foreign policy objectives.