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During this Fireside Chat, Kimberly and moderator Sudha David-Wilp (German Marshall Fund) discussed:
- How does technology support the work of Human Rights Watch?
- Is Social Media a public commons or should there be an editorial function?
- What role does art play in activism?
- And, if human rights are a basic principle of democracy, then why are democracies stumbling in the execution of their ideals? And how can they be held accountable?
Kimberly Marteau Emerson is a lawyer, advocate and civic leader in the fields of public service, international affairs, democracy and social justice.
She has served in the federal government (Presidential appointee) and local government (2x LA Mayoral appointee), and worked in the entertainment industry, in private law practice, and in leadership positions on multiple boards.
Kimberly’s more than two decades of board work for civil society organizations have included ten years in leadership on the Human Rights Watch International Board, as current Chair of the Bard College Berlin Board of Governors, and as a member of the Bard College Board of Trustees, Annandale on Hudson. She also serves as a member and past Chair of the Advisory Board of the USC Annenberg School Center on Public Diplomacy, and as a member of the Advisory Boards of The Thomas Mann House, United Way in Germany and ALLRise Foundation in Vienna. She sits on Council on Foreign Relations and the Pacific Council on International Policy.
From 2013-2017, Kimberly lived in Berlin where she:
– Regularly convened German female entrepreneurs and leaders in technology and venture capital to address the status of women in the economy;
– Collaborated with the nascent Fashion Council Germany to promote that industry and link sustainability and style;
– Worked to develop Berlin’s young high-tech industry;
– Supported both the German and American film industries through a multitude of projects, earning recognition from the Babelsberg Film Studios;
– Nurtured ties between art museums, galleries and artists in the US and Germany;
– Promoted German immigration and integration efforts related to the 2015-16 refugee crisis;
– Expanded and deepened the presence of Human Rights Watch.
She spoke (and continues to speak) to large and intimate audiences throughout Germany and Austria on topics related to the above. Her work has been covered in the German and Austrian press. As the spouse of the US Ambassador to Germany, Kimberly also fulfilled the wide array of diplomatic duties required of this highly visible and demanding position.
During the Clinton Administration, Kimberly was appointed by the President to serve as spokesperson and public liaison for the US Information Agency (now housed in the State Department), which articulated US policy overseas, including through its assets, the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe. In that role she joined President Clinton on several overseas trips, including the G7 and NATO summits. She has served as a Presidential election observer in Nigeria for the National Democratic Institute (2007, 2011), and also in US Presidential elections (2004, 2020), and worked on relief projects in Sri Lanka (tsunami), Lesbos, Greece (refugees), and New Orleans (post-Katrina). Kimberly practiced law with the Los Angeles firm of Tuttle & Taylor where she focused on corporate litigation. She also worked in Hollywood as a business and creative executive at Sony Pictures Entertainment and Savoy Pictures, where she developed projects and negotiated deals with talent, and with distributors in overseas markets. For the past 3 decades, she has served on multiple federal political campaigns as staff, organizer and/or fundraiser.
Kimberly has been honored with annual or special awards from People for the American Way, the American Jewish Committee, the Music Center of Los Angeles County, the LA Children’s Chorus, and United Friends of the Children.
She holds degrees from UCLA (BA), UC Hastings College of the Law (JD), and l’Universite de Droit d’Aix-Marseille (D.E.S.U.), and speaks French and conversational German. She and her husband John live between Los Angeles and Berlin, and have three adult daughters.
She joined GMF’s Berlin office in September 2011, where she oversees GMF’s outreach to the Bundestag and engages with the media as an expert on relations between Germany and the United States.
She has written commentary for Foreign Policy, Axios, der Tagesspiegel, and CNN and has been featured in interviews on Bloomberg News, the BBC, NPR, ZDF, and ARD. Before moving to Berlin, she was the director of international programs at the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress in Washington, DC for nearly eight years. At the association, David-Wilp was responsible for congressional study groups and international programs for current members of Congress and senior congressional staff. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Johns Hopkins University, with a major in international relations and a minor in writing seminars. She received her Master’s in international relations from Columbia University.
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