Valerie Bowman Jarrett (born November 14, 1956) is a senior advisor and assistant to the president for Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs for the Obama administration. She is a Chicago lawyer, businesswoman, and civic leader. Prior to that she served as a co-chairperson of the Obama-Biden Transition Project.
Jarrett was born in Shiraz, Iran to American parents James E. Bowman and Barbara Taylor Bowman. Her father, a pathologist and geneticist, ran a hospital for children in Shiraz, as part of a program where American doctors and agricultural experts sought to help jump-start developing countries' health and farming efforts. When she was five, the family moved to London for one year, returning to Chicago in 1963.
In 1966 her mother, Barbara T. Bowman, was one of four child advocates that created the Erikson Institute. The Institute was established to provide advanced knowledge in child development for teachers and other professionals working with young children.