15 MAY 2014


Actor and international activist George Clooney cooked dinner on 22 April in Los Angeles for his habitual female companion over the last few months, "legal eagle" and international activist Amal Alamuddin. That evening, like a scene of a romantic movie, he knelt and asked if she would marry him. He seemed serious about approaching her the right way.

He received the blessing of her parents, who trust the judgment of their daughter. Her father, Ramzi Alamuddin, a graduate of the American University of Beirut, owned a tourism business before having to move to London in 1982. He comes from a notable Druze family from the mountain town of Baaklin. Her mother Baria Miknas, who comes from the northern city of Tripoli, is a very well-connected journalist for the Lebanese Pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat, based in London.

Amal is certainly not a typical Hollywood type, nor even a habitual London socialite. Growing up during difficult political and financial times, she seriously focused on preparing herself for future work. At Dr. Challoner's Grammar School, she had to pass a daunting academic test to graduate successfully enough to be accepted at Oxford University. While keeping in touch with her Lebanese classmates and friends, she moved to New York University School of Law, then worked at the office of Federal Judge Sonia Sotomayor who was later designated to the U.S. Supreme Court. After working with a private law firm, she moved to work with Judge Serge Bremmetz, who took over the task of investigating the terrorist assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri. When she had to leave Lebanon again in 2006, she worked on a variety of international court cases and human rights causes. In addition to her legal work with former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan over Syria, she was a legal advisor at the British Foreign Office, a lawyer defending former Ukraine female leader Yulia Tymoshenko, and partner at a "Queens Counsel" magistrate office in London.

In brief, Amal spends most of her time working, not just networking and would not be easily impressed by an actor with just good looks or clever moves. Interestingly, the most recent photo of her by Al-Hayat, the paper where her mother works, showed her wearing her jurist attire complete with a British "QC" wig.

To his credit, George Clooney is not just a Hollywood star, although he was sometimes depicted as "the most handsome man alive." He has expressed open interest in public issues, not only in the U.S., but around the world from Darfur to Myanmar. He met Amal last October through mutual friends when he expressed special interest in humanitarian issues of Syria's crisis. He made a considerate effort to appreciate her background and spent time on a boat with her brothers.

Obviously both intend to maintain their line of work. A positive side of their partnership is that their professional work is mobile. Neither he nor she would be nailed to one spot. An actor or lawyer are more mobile than most other occupations. Both, however, could join forces in a formidable partnership to promote or defend specific human causes.

More interestingly, both could form a potential power team that may eventually exert political influence, both on the international scene or, perhaps in Britain or the U.S.

Who knows? With such an impressively understanding husband, Amal may find her way to senior international posts. With such a brilliant and beautiful woman at his side, George Clooney may decide to just do it. After all, George Clooney may find out that he is better prepared to handle U.S. political leadership roles rather than merely raising funds for candidates supported by he and his Hollywood friends that eventually lead to disappointment.