There’s something about Huma. Something happens a few seconds after you meet her. You fall in love with her.
Now, this immediate attraction is not for the typical reasons—of which admittedly there are many. And it has nothing to do with things like innate goodness, inner light and such other syrup. Well, I'm putting it down to some “cannot tell what it is x-factor” and I’m moving on.
My guest today is Huma Abedin. She works with Secretary Hillary Clinton. Huma is former Deputy Chief Of Staff of Hillary Clinton and at present, something even more central, I’m assuming.
Huma has worked with Hillary Clinton in this job for over 25 years. It isn't an easy job. I imagine that it would take not only a tough internal spirit, and a strong work ethic of course, but requires something more deeply intellectual to be able to comprehend the meaning of such a job and do it well.
It was not the simplest thing for Huma Abedin to have lived in the Venn diagram overlap of being BOTH an American AND a Muslim whilst living in the penumbra of the Clintons and the White House.
This, more than anything, summarises the ethic, the plurality, the dualism if you like, of her book Both/And, that I will discuss today with her.
Both/And is a 500-page memoir of Huma’s life…till date. It has her life from childhood, her parents, her growing up years in Saudi Arabia and then in the United States of course, and all her years working for Hillary Clinton.
Reading all the reviews of her book in the international press, I found the central theme that ran ran through much of the world's press—newspapers, TV—reviewing Both/And tending towards the trivial and reductive—rather than her as an author, a thinker, her faith and her pivotal role as an assistant to one of the most powerful women in the world. One who was this close to becoming the first woman president of the United States.
But when I read Both/And, I discovered in it, a woman, a writer, a polyglot, a diplomat, and a sponge to knowledge and—I repeat—something more deeply intellectual that helps her comprehend the true meaning of her job.
With Both/And Huma steps out from stage left, right into her own spotlight…and maybe a career in politics? I am privileged to be able to ask that and other questions of her today.
ABOUT HUMA ABEDIN
Huma Abedin has spent her entire career in public service and national politics, beginning as an intern in First Lady Hillary Clinton’s office in 1996. After four years in the White House, she worked in the U.S. Senate as Senior Advisor to Senator Clinton and was Traveling Chief of Staff for Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. In 2009, she was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff at the U.S. Department of State. Huma served as Vice Chair of Hillary for America in 2016, resulting in the first woman elected nominee of a major political party. She currently serves as Hillary Clinton’s Chief of Staff. Born in the United States and raised in Saudi Arabia, Huma moved back to the U.S. in 1993. She lives in New York City with her son, Jordan.
Buy Both/And: A Life in Many Worlds: https://amzn.to/3EpDlHY
WHAT'S THAT WORD?!
Co-host Pranati "Pea" Madhav joins Ramjee Chandran in "What's That Word?!", where they discuss the interesting origins of the word, "PABLUM"
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