Dina Kawar '83

Photo by Michealjordan123 [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons. Original image at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ambassador_Dina_Kawar_briefs_on_the_adoption_of_Security_Council_Resolution_2250.jpg.
  • Statement: A voice of diplomacy in the Middle East
  • Profession: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to the United States of America
  • Major: International Relations
  • Graduation: Class of 1983

Ambassador Dina Kawar has represented Jordan at the highest levels of diplomacy since 2001. She’s led international discussions of some of the world’s toughest issues, from the Syrian refugee crisis to sexual violence in armed conflicts. She’s been listed as one of the most powerful women in Washington, DC, by the Washingtonian magazine.

When she first came to Mills from Jordan as a precocious 16-year-old, Dina had no inkling of her future path. She planned to major in biology. She wanted to improve her writing skills in English. And she was concerned about being lonely so far from home. “I had to adjust to a new curriculum, a new culture, and a new country,” she says.

At Mills, Dina discovered new passions and gained the confidence to pursue them. “I realized that biology wasn’t my cup of tea,” she recalls, “and I started taking classes in international relations from a professor who pushed me to think critically and be curious about the world. I learned to love international relations from him.”

Meanwhile, she says, “Mills empowered me to become independent and develop my own personality. I was supported by other women who shared my belief in the value of education. Because our classes were small, we could all interact with our professors and get personal attention.”

After graduation, at the urging of her international relations professor, Dina earned a master’s degree from Columbia University’s prestigious School of International and Public Affairs. She then began a diplomatic career that included appointments as ambassador to France, Portugal, the Holy See, and UNESCO.

In 2014, Ambassador Kawar became the permanent representative of Jordan to the United Nations (UN). Since Jordan had been elected to a term on the UN Security Council, she held the rotating presidency of the Security Council, becoming the first Arab woman ever in this role. Appointed as ambassador to the United States in 2016, she says, “I hope my experience sets an example so other women will have the confidence to go down the same path that I have.”