Joanne King Herring
Joanne Herring has spent a lifetime mastering the art of building cooperation between diverse groups to achieve results faster, cheaper and better than most traditional or credentialed diplomats. Whether Christian or Muslim, Arab or Jew, Democrat or Republican – all have come together under her persistent efforts.
Long known within the corridors of power in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, Ms. Herring’s role in southwest Asia was brought to American audiences on the movie screen when the story of “Charlie Wilson’s War” in the 1980s was retold in 2007. She and Congressman Charlie Wilson were instrumental in forcing the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan – without the loss of a single U.S. soldier. She is credited with acquiring Saudi matching funds to covert U.S. aid that tipped the balance against the Soviets.
She has worked for over 20 years among the villages of Pakistan restructuring cottage industries. Her ability to coordinate the ministers, factory owners and illiterate workers on the other side of the Afghan border earned her Pakistan’s highest medal, The Quaid y Asam.
Ms. Herring was appointed Pakistan’s first and only Oman Consul General to the United States under President Zulficar Bhutto. Her success in this role inspired Afghan’s President Zia to make her his personal advisor and to name her Afghanistan’s Ambassador at Large to the United States.
King Hussain II of Morocco became aware of her achievements and asked President Zia to share her as a duel Consul-General, making Ms. Herring the only woman to serve two Muslim countries simultaneously as Consul-General. Ms. Herring remains the only single woman allowed unlimited entry into Saudi Arabia unaccompanied – without a Visa.
Ms. Herring’s ultimate goal is to help the Afghans to become self-sustaining in order to allow for the orderly departure of American troops. The recent military surge in Afghanistan marks the third time that the United States has intervened militarily in that country – Joanne wants it to be the first time that we have won not just the war, but the peace.
Simply put, no other American woman has had experience in the Middle East that ranges from the villages to the highest echelons of government. Ms. Herring has engaged world leaders and village chieftains. She offers the greatest private hope for nation building in Afghanistan.