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Diverse career path for US negotiator

“Love what you do,” Wendy Sherman, the United States' Iran negotiator, urged students at a ceremony to honor her diplomatic achievements.
U.S. Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman sits after arriving for a trilateral meeting with UN-Arab League envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi and Russia's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Gennady Gatilov during the second round of negotiations between the Syrian government and the opposition at the European headquarters of the United Nations, in Geneva, Switzerland, February 13, 2014. REUTERS/KEYSTONE/Valentin Flauraud/Pool (SWITZERLAND - Tags: POLITICS) - RTX18R7Q

NEW YORK — Wendy Sherman’s early career as a social worker and community organizer was excellent, if perhaps unlikely preparation for her current role as lead US Iran negotiator, said the veteran diplomat Thomas Pickering. “In every sense of the word, she has moved from dealing with those problems that individuals have in our society to the greatest challenges facing us on earth today,” Pickering observed, speaking Sept. 16 at an awards ceremony honoring Sherman as a recipient of the Jit Trainor Award for distinction in diplomacy at the Georgetown School of Foreign Service. “She found the ability to move from one to the other.”

Sherman’s diverse career path — from community organizing in her native Baltimore to serving as chief of staff to then-Rep. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland and then as Mikulski's campaign manager in her successful run for the US Senate — proved to be “strong preparation for successful diplomacy,” Pickering said, leading ultimately to Sherman’s stints as President Bill Clinton’s North Korea negotiator and now President Barack Obama’s Iran nuclear negotiator.

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