Confirmed: Jeffrey Bleich to Australia

Australia Day CupcakesImage by Bev (Sugarbloom Cupcakes) via Flickr

On November 5, the SFRC had a hearing on the nomination of Jeffrey Bleich to be US Ambassador to Australia. Yesterday, November 10, the Senate discharged the nomination: “The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations was discharged from further consideration of the following nomination by unanimous consent and the nomination was confirmed.”

Jeffrey L. Bleich
of California, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and
Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Australia.

CONFIRMATION — (Senate – November 10, 2009)

[Page: S11357] GPO’s PDF

Officially In: Laura Kennedy to US-CD

disarmamentImage by Hooded Fang* via Flickr

On November 9, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Laura E. Kennedy to be Representative of the United States to the Conference on Disarmament, with the rank of Ambassador. The WH released the following official bio:

Laura E. Kennedy, a member of the Senior Foreign Service, was most recently Deputy Commandant at the National War College since 2007. Prior to that, she was a member of the State Department’s Board of Examiners from 2005-2007. From 2004-2005 she was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs (EUR). She served as the Dean of the State Department’s Senior Seminar from 2004-2005.

Ms. Kennedy was Ambassador to Turkmenistan from 2001-2003 where she focused on support for civil society as well as support for operations in neighboring Afghanistan. She was the Deputy Chief of Mission, United States Mission to the United Nations from 1998-2001. From 1995-1997 she was the Director of the Office of Central Eurasian Affairs. She has also held postings in Moscow (twice), Vienna (to the negotiations on conventional forces in Europe) and Ankara. She has been detailed as charge at the new U.S. Embassy in Yerevan, as a guide at an official exchange exhibit in Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Tajikistan.

Ms. Kennedy holds a B.A. from Vassar College and an M.A. from American University.

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Officially In: Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe to US-HRC

United Nations Human Rights Council logo.Image via Wikipedia

On November 9, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe as Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations Human Rights Council, with rank of Ambassador. The WH released the following official bio:

Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe is an Affiliated Scholar at the Center for international Security and Cooperation at Stanford University. Her research has focused on norms on use of force, UN reform, and the international rule of law. Her 2006 Ph.D. dissertation entitled: “Humanitarian Military Intervention: The Moral Imperative Versus the Rule of Law,” addressed conflicting legal and ethical justifications for humanitarian military intervention.

Previously, Ms. Donahoe was a litigation associate at Fenwick & West in Silicon Valley, where she served technology clients in intellectual property and commercial disputes. Prior to that, she was a teaching fellow at Stanford Law School and law clerk to the Honorable William H. Orrick. Ms. Donahoe has worked with various human rights organizations including The Lawyer’s Committee for Human Rights, where she did research on the nexus between US foreign policy and human rights, and Amnesty International’s Ginneta Sagan Fund, where she did strategy work related to human rights concerns of women and children.

She received her B.A. from Dartmouth College, a Masters in Theology from Harvard University, her J.D. from Stanford Law School, an M.A. in East Asian Studies from Stanford University, and her Ph.D. in Ethics from the University of California’s Graduate Theological Union.

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Officially In: Carrie Hessler Radelet to Peace Corps

On November 9, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Carrie Hessler Radelet to be Deputy Director of the United States Peace Corps. The WH released the following official bio:

Carrie Hessler Radelet is the Director of the Washington, DC office of John Snow, Inc. (JSI) and JSI Research and Training Institute, Inc, a global public health organization, where she oversees the management of programs in more than 30 countries. She has worked in the field of public health for the past two decades, specializing in HIV/AIDS and maternal and child health, working in more than 25 countries around the world. She was a Johns Hopkins Fellow with USAID in Indonesia and assisted the Indonesian government to develop its first national AIDS strategy. She later assisted in the development of the strategy for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

Ms. Radelet was a Board member of the National Peace Corps Association and served on the steering committee for the US Coalition for Child Survival. She was the founder of Special Olympics in The Gambia. Ms. Radelet served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Western Samoa, where she taught high school and helped design a national public awareness campaign on disaster preparedness.

Ms. Radelet received her B.A. from Boston University and her Master’s in Health Policy and Management from the Harvard School of Public Health.

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Kosovo Honors Bill with a Statue on Bill Clinton Boulevard

Photo from US Embassy Pristina

Kosovo recently unveiled an 11-foot, 2000lb statue of former President Bill Clinton on Bill Clinton Boulevard in Pristina. The Guardian describes the statue as “sprayed with gold, with a left hand raised, a typical gesture of a leader greeting the masses. In his right hand he is holding documents engraved with the date when Nato started the bombardment of Serbia, 24 March 1999.”

“I never expected that anywhere, someone would make such a big statue of me,” Clinton said.|

See more photos here from the US Embassy Pristina.

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Officially In: Dr. Rajiv Shah to USAID

The visual identity of the United States Agenc...Image via Wikipedia

On November 10, President Obama nominated Dr. Rajiv Shah as Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

President Obama
said, “The mission of USAID is to advance America’s interests by strengthening our relationships abroad. Rajiv brings fresh ideas and the dedication and impressive background necessary to help guide USAID as it works to achieve this important goal. I am grateful for all that USAID has accomplished under the leadership of Acting Administrator Alonzo Fulgham, and the thousands of career men and women who fulfill USAID’s mission day in and day out – particularly their hard work in jumpstarting a landmark initiative to bring more than $20 billion for agriculture development to the world’s most food-insecure countries. I look forward to working with Rajiv in the months and years ahead.”

The WH released the following official bio below:

Dr. Rajiv Shah currently serves as Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics and Chief Scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He manages the Agricultural Research Service, the Economic Research Service, the National Agricultural Statistical Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. He is responsible for managing more than 10,000 staff worldwide including 2,200 federal scientists and a budget of more than $2.6 billion. He also leads the Department’s participation in President Obama’s global food security initiative. In his tenure at USDA, Dr. Shah launched the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) – a new scientific institute created to elevate and enhance the capacity of agricultural research to address sustainable food production, climate change, bioenergy and human nutrition.

Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Dr. Shah served as the Director for Agricultural Development at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Previously, Dr. Shah served as the foundation’s first Director for Financial Services to the Poor and led the Strategic Opportunities initiative through which he worked with foundation co-chairs to identify, assess and recommend new areas of giving.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Dr. Shah worked on health care policy for the Gore 2000 presidential campaign and served as a member of Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell’s transition committee on health. He is a co-founder of Health Systems Analytics and Project IMPACT for South Asian Americans. In addition, he has served as a policy aide in the British Parliament and worked at the World Health Organization.

Dr. Shah earned his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Medical School and his Master of Science in health economics at the Wharton School of Business. He has attended the London School of Economics, and is a graduate of the University of Michigan.

* * *

Also on November 10, the WH sent Dr. Shah’s nomination to the Senate. The U.S. Senate last confirmed him for the USDA position on May 12. I expect that this nomination would quickly sail through the confirmation process in the Senate, except that one never knows when a Senator might pull a stunt over there. If confirmed, Dr. Shah would succeed Henrietta Holsman Fore as Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). He would only be the 16th USAID Administrator since the agency’s inception in 1961.

But what about “F” bureau? “F” says that the Director of U.S. Foreign Assistance (DFA) is charged with directing the transformation of the U.S. Government approach to foreign assistance. The Director holds a rank equivalent to Deputy Secretary and serves concurrently as USAID Administrator, ensuring that foreign assistance is used as effectively as possible to meet broad foreign policy objectives.

Randall Tobias
was the first United States Director of Foreign Assistance, and served concurrently as the Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), with the rank of Ambassador. He resigned after being linked to a D.C. escort service in 2007. He was replaced by Henrietta Fore who was appointed USAID Administrator by President Bush in 2007. In that capacity, she was concurrently designated by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as the Director of U.S. Foreign Assistance.

Secretary Clinton’s statement on this nomination is here. There is no mention of “F” anywhere. If Dr. Shah is also designated as “F,” he would only be the third director of US Foreign Assistance in State Department history. If these two positions are decoupled, then who would be “F” is the next question.

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USDA Official Rajiv Shah to USAID?