Speaker Details

Cynthia P. Schneider

Cynthia P. Schneider was the 61st Ambassador of the United States to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. President Clinton nominated her on May 12 1998; she was confirmed by the Senate on June 26, 1998 and sworn in by then Assistant Secretary of State Marc Grossman on August 11, 1998. She presented her credentials to Her Majesty Queen Beatrix on September 2, 1998. As Ambassador, Dr. Schneider has led initiatives in the fields of biotechnology, education and public diplomacy, and culture. Under her guidance the Embassy organized an international conference on biotechnology held in The Hague in January 2000, which has been credited with improving the climate for biotechnology in the Netherlands. The proceedings of the conference, which attracted 450 attendees plus thousands of visitors to the website will be published as a special supplement by The Journal of Biolaw and Business. Working together with the U.S. Mission to the European Union and the European Commission on the Environment, Ambassador Schneider is helping to organize a follow-up biotechnology conference in Brussels that will target the European Commission and Parliament. American Embassy The Hague under Ambassador Schneider also initiated a Millennium Project in conjunction with the White House Millennium Program. The Hague project brought Dutch students aged 15-17 together with veterans and survivors of World War II to capture oral histories. Authors of award-winning projects were given a trip to the U.S., thanks to the program's corporate sponsors. All of the projects will be compiled on a CD, and disseminated to schools and libraries in the Netherlands. Dr. Schneider has launched other cultural initiatives, including the Embassy's annual North Sea Jazz Festival Jam Session, which features American artists who perform at the world's largest indoors jazz festival. Through the State Department's Art-in-Embassies program, she has assembled at the Embassy Residence a museum-quality collection of American art. In the full-length catalogue of the collection, Another Salute, Ambassador Schneider explores the relationships between American and Dutch artists illustrated by the works of art. Ambassador Schneider has given speeches on a wide range of subjects, including federalism in the United States and Europe, the global economy, Dutch-American relations, biotechnology, and politics and culture in America. In addition to her bilateral work with the Dutch government, Ambassador Schneider interacts with, and supports international institutions and American businesses in the Netherlands. The international entities include: the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons; the Internal Court of Justice; and the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, all in The Hague; as well as the Lockerbie trial at Camp Zeist. In addition, Dr. Schneider assists and advocates for U.S. businesses from large multinationals to IT start ups, and promotes American defense products such as the Joint Strike Fighter. Before her nomination, Ambassador Schneider, of Sandy Spring, Maryland, was Associate Professor of Art History at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. Ambassador Schneider has published several books and numerous articles on Rembrandt and Dutch art of the seventeenth century, for example, Rembrandt's Landscapes, Yale University Press, 1990. In addition to her academic endeavors, Ambassador Schneider was named by President Clinton as Vice-Chair of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities. Born in Pennsylvania on August 16, 1953, Ambassador Schneider earned a BA Magna cum Laude in Fine Arts from Harvard University in 1977. She completed her Ph.D. in Fine Arts at Harvard University in 1984. Prior to teaching at Georgetown, she was Assistant Curator of European Paintings at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Ambassador Schneider speaks Dutch, French, Italian, and some German. She is married to Thomas J. Schneider and is the mother of two children.

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