With her term set to begin on the first of March, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is about to become both the first woman and the first African to become Director-General of the World Trade Organisation. While the role has little direct effect on policy–the role is largely that of an administrator and consultant–the appointment marks an important landmark for an extremely relevant international body. Her term will extend until the 31st of August, 2025, with the option of renewal. Her combination of technocratic skills and political instincts may prove a winning combination for leading an organisation for whom cooperation is a faint memory.
The Second World War veteran, Captain Sir Tom Moore, who on his 100th birthday, raised just under £33 million for the NHS during the first lockdown in April, has passed away from COVID-19 related complications in hospital on the 2nd February 2021.
Samantha Power has been nominated by President Joe Biden to lead the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). This is the lead organization overseeing US humanitarian aid around the world. This is a role suited perfectly to human rights advocate Power who previously held the role of US Ambassador to the United Nations. Samantha Power’s Irish connections are true and strong. It is likely this connection will play an important role in the relationship between Power and Biden in the new administration.
Joe Robinette Biden is the President-Elect of the United States and will be the 46th President. Many in Ireland are celebrating as Joe has roots in both County Mayo and Louth with his great grandfather hailing from Ballina Mayo. Biden's other great-great-grandfather was from the Cooley Peninsula, Co Louth. Joe has referenced his Irish heritage numerous times, and he is sure to do so more times.
European Commission President Ursula van der Leyen has today announced Mairéad McGuiness as her choice for the Irish seat on the Commission vacated by Phil Hogan two weeks ago. Hogan resigned as trade commissioner on August 26th, a week after the disastrous Oireachtas golf society dinner in Clifden. His departure sparked debate on possible replacements from John Bruton and Simon Coveney to Bertie Ahern. However European stalwart McGuiness has emerged as the foremost candidate.
On the 28th of August, the world lost the first-ever black Marvel superhero, Chadwick Boseman. Boseman succumbed to colon cancer, which he battled for four years. He, however, managed to keep the cancer a secret while pushing forward his acting career.