President Barack Obama appointed Fay Hartog-Levin to the position of United States Ambassador to the Netherlands on August 13, 2009. She was sworn in by Dutch Queen Beatrix on August 19, 2009. Hartog-Levin became the 65th United States ambassador to the Netherlands. Of the 65 ambassadors, Hartog-Levin is only the fifth ambassador to the Netherlands with strong Dutch American connections. The first United States ambassador to the Netherlands was John Adams. His position was probably the most important of all future ambassadorial appointments because Dutch bankers were large financiers of the new republic at the end of the eighteenth century.
Fay Hartog-Levin was born in the United States in 1948, the same year her Dutch parents immigrated to the United States. Before World War II her parents operated a meat processing plant in the village of Oss near the city of 's Hertogenbosch in the province of North Brabant in the Netherlands. Since her parents were of Jewish background they were in serious danger of being arrested and deported to a concentration camp during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. They were fortunately able to escape from occupied Western Europe in 1942, and settled in Suriname, also known as Dutch Guyana, then a Dutch colony in South America. Her father joined the Dutch army while in Suriname and served in it during the remainder of the war. Following the war, in 1945, the family repatriated to the Netherlands, but decided to immigrate to the United States in 1948.
Prior to her appointment as ambassador, Hartog-Levin had been a lawyer for many years. She had practiced law but in later years became involved in management and consulting activities. She was a graduate from Northwestern University where she majored in Russian Language and Literature. Following her undergraduate work she earned her law degree from Loyola University in Chicago. Following several years of law practice she joined the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago in 1997 as vice president of external affairs. She remained there until 2005, when she joined Res Publica, a Chicago-based public affairs and media relations firm, as a senior consultant.
Hartog-Levin became acquainted with president Obama during her years at the Field Museum. Both she and her husband became financial supporters of Obama's political campaigns, first for Illinois Senator, and later for the United States presidency.
Hartog is married to Daniel Levin, a first cousin of Michigan's United States Senator Carl Levin. Daniel Levin founded a real estate firm, the Habitat Company. A one-time president of the Habitat Company was Valerie Jarrett, who served on Obama's transition team after he won the presidential race in 2008. Jarrett later served as a presidential adviser. As a result of the above connections it is not surprising that Hartog-Levin would become a first class candidate for the position of United States Ambassador to the Netherlands.
New ambassador has roots in the Netherlands, http://vorige.nrc.nl/international
Ambassador to the Netherlands: Who is Fay Hartog-Levin? http://www.allgov.com
Ambassador Fay Hartog-Levin, http://thehague.usembassy.gov
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