Lee Satterfield to be Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs

The life of a blog has no certainty. In most cases, a blog has a lifespan better than that of a mayfly. A day. But most blogs do not make it longer than winter bees (six months). We have to-date survived through 26 winter bee seasons! So that’s amazing! Whatever is in the horizon, we are thankful to all of you who made these seasons possible. We are on the last few days of our eight-week annual fundraising. We are grateful to over 400 readers who pitched in since we launched a few weeks ago. If you care what we do here, and you are able to help, please see GFM: https://gofund.me/32671a27 We could use your support.  ❤️❤️❤️ D!

 

 

On April 27, President Biden announced his intent to nominate Lee Satterfield to be the next Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (State/ECA) The WH release the following brief bio:

Lee Satterfield, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Department of State

Lee Satterfield is President and Chief Operating Officer at Meridian International Center, a non-profit center for diplomacy that strengthens engagement between the United States and the world.  At Meridian she directs daily operations and spearheads major strategic initiatives, including the launch of the Center for Diplomatic Engagement, the Center for Global Leadership, an organization-wide Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Taskforce and the expansion of cultural diplomacy programs.  She previously served in the Obama Administration as Acting Assistant Secretary of State and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.  Prior to that, Satterfield was Deputy Chief of Protocol of the United States.  In the Clinton Administration, Satterfield held several senior positions including Chief of Staff to Secretary Alexis Herman at the Labor Department, Special Assistant to the President and Staff Director for The White House Office of Public Liaison.  In addition to her government experience, she has worked in the private sector as a consultant.  A native South Carolinian, Satterfield graduated from the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

According to history.state.gov, the Department of State established a Bureau of International Cultural Relations on Jun 1, 1959, and subsequently renamed it the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs on Apr 17, 1960. In 1978 the Bureau was abolished and its functions transferred to the International Communications Agency (subsequently the U.S. Information Agency) under Reorganization Plan No. 2 (91 Stat. 1637). On October 1, 1999, with the integration of the U.S. Information Agency into the Department of State this position was revived.
In over 60 years, only one career diplomat was appointed to this position, Lucius Durham Battle  who served from 1962–1964. Previous appointees to this position include:

 

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Amb. Donald Lu to be Asst Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs (State/SCA)

Once a year, we ask for your support to keep this blog and your dedicated blogger going. So here we are on Week #7 of our eight-week annual fundraising. Our previous funding ran out in August 2020. We recognize that blogging life has no certainty, and this year is no exception.  If you care what we do here, please see GFM: https://gofund.me/32671a27.  We could use your help. Grazie!  Merci! Gracias!

 

On April 23, 2021 President Biden announced his intent to nominate Ambassador Donald Lu  to be the next Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs. The WH released the following brief bio:

Donald Lu, Nominee for Assistant Secretary, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, Department of State

Donald Lu, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, has been U.S. Ambassador to the Kyrgyz Republic since 2018. Previously, Lu was U.S. Ambassador to Albania. He has also served as Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy New Delhi, India, Deputy Chief of Mission and the Chargé d’affaires, U.S. Embassy Baku, Azerbaijan and Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic. Earlier, Lu was the Deputy Director, Office of Central Asian and South Caucasus Affairs, for the Department of State and, before that, the Special Assistant to the Ambassador for the Newly Independent States. He also held postings in India, Georgia, and Pakistan. Lu earned M.A. and B.A. degrees from Princeton University. He is the recipient of the Rockwell Anthony Schnabel Award for advancing U.S.-European Union relations. Ambassador Lu speaks and reads Albanian, Russian, Azerbaijani, Georgian, West African Krio, Hindi and Urdu.

According to history.state.gov, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 1992 and 1993 (P.L. 102-138; 105 Stat. 658) authorized the appointment of an Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs on October 28, 1991. Previous appointees to this position are as follows:
SES William Todd served as Acting A/S for SCA in 2017. On January 3, 2019, Trump nominated Robert Williams, a former Defense Intelligence Agency official for the SCA bureau. The nomination was withdrawn by the president on April 11, 2019.
SFSO Alice G. Wells served as Acting A/S from 2017-June 2020. After Ambassador Wells’ departure, DAS Thomas L. Vajda served as the South and Central Asian Bureau’s “senior bureau official on an interim basis.” SFSO Dean Thompson has been Acting A/S since January 20, 2021.
If confirmed, Ambassador Lu would be the first Senate-confirmed assistant secretary to lead the bureau since 2017.  Also with Ambassador Lu’s nomination, Foggy Bottom now has  one non-career appointee (EUR), one retired FS (NEA), and five active career Foreign Service officers  (WHA, EAP, AF, IO, SCA) expected to lead the State Department’s geographic bureaus.

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Marcela Escobari to be USAID’s Asst Administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean

Once a year, we ask for your support to keep this blog and your dedicated blogger going. So here we are on Week #7 of our eight-week annual fundraising. Our previous funding ran out in August 2020. We recognize that blogging life has no certainty, and this year is no exception.  If you care what we do here, please see GFM: https://gofund.me/32671a27.  We could use your help. Grazie!  Merci! Gracias!

 

On April 12,  President Biden announced his intent to nominate Marcela Escobari to be USAID’s Assistant Administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean. The WH released the following bio:

Marcela Escobari, Nominee for Assistant Administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean, USAID

For over two decades, the Hon. Marcela Escobari led organizations that help regions chart a path towards prosperity. She served in the Obama-Biden Administration as Assistant Administrator of USAID’s Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean. During her time there, Escobari reinforced U.S. support for Peace Colombia, established a long-term development plan for Haiti, and prepared a proactive strategy to confront the humanitarian and political crisis in Venezuela. In response to Congress’ doubling of funding to Central America, she led changes in strategy, organization and execution to combat root causes of poverty and migration in the region.

Prior to serving in government, Escobari was Executive Director at the Center for International Development at Harvard University. During her tenure, the Center launched projects in 17 countries across five continents focused on unlocking constraints to economic growth. Most recently, as a senior fellow at Brookings, she created the Workforce of the Future initiative and applied international economic development models to map the industrial path of American cities and identify policies to help workers prosper in the face of evolving labor markets. She worked with US local leaders, companies and policy makers, including in Idaho and Texas, to strengthen paths to the middle class.

Her career has spanned the private sector, government and academia, with a common thread of producing growth that is inclusive and sustainable.  She began her career as an investment banker at J.P. Morgan and worked across the globe on export competitiveness projects as a strategy consultant.  The World Economic Forum named her a Young Global Leader in 2013. She co-authored the book “In the River They Swim: Essays from around the World on Enterprise Solutions to Poverty,” holds a B.A. in economics from Swarthmore College and an M.A. in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School.

 

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SFRC’s Jessica Lewis to be Asst Secretary for Political-Military Affairs (State/PM)

Once a year, we ask for your support to keep this blog and your dedicated blogger going. So here we are on Week #7 of our eight-week annual fundraising. Our previous funding ran out in August 2020. We recognize that blogging life has no certainty, and this year is no exception.  If you care what we do here, please see GFM: https://gofund.me/32671a27.  We could use your help. Grazie!  Merci! Gracias!

 

On April 23, 2021 President Biden announced his intent to nominate Jessica Lewis to be the next Assistant Secretary of State for Political Affairs. The WH released a brief bio:

Jessica LewisNominee for Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Department of State

Jessica Lewis currently serves as Democratic Staff Director of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Previously, from 2007 – 2014, she was the National Security Advisor and Foreign Policy Advisor, and then Senior National Security Advisor, to Senate Majority/Minority Leader Harry Reid. Earlier, Lewis was the Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to Senator Robert Menendez and, before that the Democratic Staff Director for the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee of the House International Relations Committee, Ranking Member Robert Menendez. She also worked as Manager, New Initiative Development, and as Manager, Net Corps America, at the Organization of American States. Lewis received an MPA degree from Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government, an MA degree from Johns Hopkins University, and a BA degree from Haverford College.

The last career appointee to the Pol-Mil bureau was Ambassador Thomas Edmund McNamara who served from 1994–1998. If confirmed, Ms. Lewis would succeed R. Clarke Cooper who served from 2019-2021.
Ambassador Tina Kaidanow served as Acting A/S prior to Cooper’s confirmation.  Senior FSO Timothy Betts has served as Acting A/S since the beginning of the Biden Administration.

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Open Society’s Sarah Margon to be Asst Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (State/DRL)

Once a year, we ask for your support to keep this blog and your dedicated blogger going. So here we are on Week #7 of our eight-week annual fundraising. Our previous funding ran out in August 2020. We recognize that blogging life has no certainty, and this year is no exception.  If you care what we do here, please see GFM: https://gofund.me/32671a27.  We could use your help. Grazie!  Merci! Gracias!

 

On April 23, 2021 President Biden announced his intent to nominate Sarah Margon to be Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.  The WH released the following brief bio:
Sarah Margon, Nominee for Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Department of State
Sarah Margon currently serves as the U.S. Foreign Policy Director at the Open Society Foundations. Previously, she served as Washington Director and, before that, Deputy Washington Director for Human Rights Watch. Margon also was Associate Director for Sustainable Security and Peacebuilding at the Center for American Progress and Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to Senator Russ Feingold and Staff Director for the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs. Earlier in her career she was Humanitarian and Conflict Policy advisor for Oxfam America. Margon holds an M.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and a B.A. in American Studies from Wesleyan University.
According to history.state.gov, on Apr 21, 1975, in response to growing Congressional interest in human rights issues in foreign policy, the Department of State established the position of Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs.  The International Security Assistance and Arms Export Control Act of 1976 (Jun 30, 1976; P.L. 94-329; 90 Stat. 748) made the Coordinator a Presidential appointee, subject to the advice and consent of the Senate, and changed the title to Coordinator for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs. Career diplomat James Morrison Wilson Jr. served as the first Coordinator from 1976–1977.  Section 162 of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 1994 and 1995 (P.L. 103-236; 108 Stat. 403), authorized the appointment of an Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor May 12, 1994.
If confirmed, Ms. Margon would succeed Robert A. Destro who served from 2019-2021. Previous appointees to this position include Patricia Murphy Derian (1977–1981), Elliott Abrams (1981–1985), Harold Hongju Koh (1998–2001) and Tomasz P. Malinowski (2014–2017).

SES C.S. Eliot Kang to be Asst Secretary for International Security and Non-Proliferation (State/ISN)

Once a year, we ask for your support to keep this blog and your dedicated blogger going. So here we are on Week #7 of our eight-week annual fundraising. Our previous funding ran out in August 2020. We recognize that blogging life has no certainty, and this year is no exception.  If you care what we do here, please see GFM: https://gofund.me/32671a27.  We could use your help. Grazie!  Merci! Gracias!

On April 12, President Biden announced his intent to nominate C.S. Elliot Kang to be the next Assistant Secretary for International Security and Non-Proliferation (ISN). The WH released the following brief bio:

C.S. Eliot Kang, Nominee for Assistant Secretary of State, International Security and Non-Proliferation, Department of State

C.S. Eliot Kang, a career member of the Senior Executive Service, currently serves as Acting Assistant Secretary, Bureau of International Security and Non-Proliferation at the U.S. Department of State.  He also has been performing the duties of Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security since January 2021.  He has worked in the Bureau of International Security and Non-Proliferation since 2005 in a number of key positions, including Acting Assistant Secretary, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Deputy Assistant Secretary and Special Adviser.  Previously, he worked in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Arms Control and Bureau of Political-Military Affairs.  A former tenured professor, he taught international security at the University of Pennsylvania and Northern Illinois University and held fellowships at the Council on Foreign Relations and the Brookings Institution.  Kang received his Ph.D. from Yale University.  He also studied at Princeton University and received his A.B., summa cum laude, from Cornell University.  Kang is the recipient of numerous Department awards, including a Presidential Rank Award.  He speaks Korean and Japanese.

via state.gov

According to history.state.gov, the Bureau of International Security and Non-Proliferation was formed on July 29, 2005 with the merger of the Bureau of Non-Proliferation and the Bureau of Arms Control. Here is a short list of previous appointees:

Related posts:

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SFRC Clears Victoria Nuland For State/P, Uzra Zeya For State/J

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PN120 — 117th Congress (2021-2022) — Victoria Nuland — Department of State
Victoria Nuland, of Virginia, to be an Under Secretary of State (Political Affairs), vice David Hale.
Date Received from President: 02/13/2021
Committee: Foreign Relations
Latest Action: 04/21/2021 – Placed on Senate Executive Calendar.
Calendar No. 66. (All Actions)
 PN241 — 117th Congress (2021-2022) — Uzra Zeya— Department of State
Uzra Zeya, of Virginia, to be an Under Secretary of State (Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights), vice Sarah Sewall, resigned.
Date Received from President: 03/09/2021
Committee: Foreign Relations
Latest Action: 04/21/2021 – Placed on Senate Executive Calendar.
Calendar No. 67. (All Actions)

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Amb. Rena Bitter to be Asst Secretary of State for Consular Affairs

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On April 21, President Biden announced his intent to nominate SFSO and former Ambassador Rena Bitter to be the next Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs. The WH released the following brief bio:
Rena Bitter, Nominee for Assistant Secretary of State, Consular Affairs, Department of State
Rena Bitter, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor, is Dean of the Leadership and Management School at the State Department’s Foreign Service Institute and a former U.S. Ambassador to the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.  Previously, she was the U.S. Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and chief of the consular section in Amman, Jordan.  She also served in London, Bogota, and Mexico City.  In Washington, she was Director of the State Department’s Operations Center, and a Special Assistant to the Secretary of State.  Bitter has a Bachelor’s Degree from Northwestern University, and a J.D. from Southern Methodist University.  She is a recipient of American Citizens Abroad’s Thomas Jefferson Award for outstanding service to the American community abroad.  She speaks Spanish, Arabic and Vietnamese.

CG Rena Bitter with Ambassador Ted Osius | Via FB (2016)

The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (Jun 27, 1952; P.L. 82-414; 66 Stat. 174) established within the Department of State a Bureau of Security and Consular Affairs, headed by an Administrator designated by the Secretary of State with rank equal to that of an Assistant Secretary. In 1962, this position became a Presidential appointee subject to the advice and consent of the Senate. In 1977, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1978 changed the Administrator’s title to “Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs.”
All appointees to the Consular Affairs bureau from 1953 to 1980 were non-career appointees. This trend was interrupted by the appointments of career FSOs Diego Asencio in 1980, and again in 1983 with  Joan Clark. Political appointees assumed charged of the bureau in 1989 when Elizabeth Tamposi was appointed, and more recently in 2017 with Carl Risch’s appointment. If confirmed Ambassador Bitter would only be the seventh career FSO to lead the most public facing bureau of the State Department.

Related posts:

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Amb. Todd Robinson to be Asst Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs

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On April 12, President Biden announced his intent to nominate former Ambassador Todd Robinson to be the next Assistant Secretary of State for INL. The WH released the following brief bio:
Todd Robinson, Nominee for Assistant Secretary of State, International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, Department of State
Todd Robinson, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service with the rank of Career Minister, currently serves as Director of the International Student Management Office, National Defense University.  He was a Senior Advisor for Central America in the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs in Washington. D.C.  Robinson also served as Chargé d’Affaires a.i. in Caracas, Venezuela.  Previously, Robinson was U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Guatemala from 2014 to 2017.  Prior to that, he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.  Robinson also served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala; as Consul General and Principal Officer at the U.S. Consulate in Barcelona, Spain; and as Chief of the Political and Economic Section in the U.S. Embassy in Tirana, Albania.  Other overseas postings include the Dominican Republic, Bolivia, Vatican City, Italy, El Salvador, and Colombia.  Earlier in his career, Robinson served in the Department’s Operations Center and as a Special Assistant to former Secretary of State Albright.  He is the recipient of a Presidential Rank Award.  A native of New Jersey, he is a graduate of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and speaks Spanish, Italian, and Albanian.
According to history.state.gov,  Congress, in the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for fiscal Year 1979 (P.L. 95-426; 92 Stat. 969), authorized the position of Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics Matters, to be responsible for the overall coordination of the role of the Department of State in the international aspects of narcotics problems in 1978.  The Department of State first supported the Department of the Treasury’s Bureau of Narcotics in 1909. The title of this position was changed from International Narcotics Matters to International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, Feb 10, 1995.
If confirmed, Ambassador Robinson would succeed Kirsten Madison who was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2018. Previous career appointees to this position include Anne Woods Patterson (2005–2007); David Timothy Johnson (2007–2011); and William R. Brownfield (2011–2017).

 

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New Biden Nominations: DGHR, EUR, NEA, AF, IO, DS and CSO

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On April 15, President Biden announced his intent to nominate the following individuals for top positions in the geographic and functional bureaus of the State Department.
  • Marcia Stephens Bloom Bernicat to be Director General of the Foreign Service and the Chair of the Board of the Foreign Service (DGHR)
  • Karen Erika Donfried to be Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs (EUR)
  • Barbara A. Leaf to be Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs (NEA)
  • Mary Catherine Phee to be Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs (AF) and Member of the Board of Directors of the African Development Foundation (AFD)
  • Michele Jeanne Sison to be Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs (IO)
  • Gentry O. Smith to be Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security (DS)
  • Anne A. Witkowsky to be Assistant Secretary of State for Conflict and Stabilization Operations (CSO) and Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization
For the geographic bureaus, President Biden previously nominated Ambassador Brian Nichols to be A/S for Western Hemisphere Affairs (WHA) and Ambassador Daniel J. Kritenbrink for  the East Asian and Pacific Affairs (EAP). With these new nominees for EUR, NEA, AF and IO, we are now waiting for just SCA to complete the line up under the Under Secretary for Political Affairs (P). The nominee for “P”, Victoria Nuland had her confirmation hearing before the SFRC on 4/15/21.
If all these nominees are confirmed, it looks like at the regional bureaus, Foggy Bottom will have  one non-career appointee (EUR), one retired FS (NEA), four active career FS (WHA, EAP, AF, IO) , and one as yet unknown for SCA. During the previous administration, these top geographic bureau positions were all filled with non-career appointees (the assistant secretary for the AF bureau was a retired FS). This is a hopeful start.
The WH released the following brief bio:
Marcia Stephens Bloom Bernicat, Nominee for Director General of the Foreign Service and the Chair of the Board of the Foreign Service

Marcia Bernicat, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, currently serves as the Senior Official for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment and as Acting Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Oceans, International Environmental and Scientific Affairs of the Department of State.  Previously, she was the U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh, U.S. Ambassador to Senegal and Guinea Bissau, and Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Human Resources at the State Department.  She also served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassies in Barbados and Malawi and as Principal Officer of the U.S. Consulate General in Casablanca, Morocco. Bernicat earned a Master of Science in Foreign Service Degree at Georgetown University and a Bachelor’s Degree at Lafayette College.  Her foreign languages are French, Hindi and Russian and she is a recipient of the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award.

Karen Erika Donfried, Nominee for Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs

Dr. Karen Donfried currently serves as President of the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF).  Before assuming this position in April 2014, Donfried was the Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for European Affairs at the National Security Council.  Prior to that, she served as the National Intelligence Officer for Europe on the National Intelligence Council.  She first joined GMF in 2001 after having served for ten years as a European specialist at the Congressional Research Service.  When she was at GMF from 2005 to 2010, she first served as senior director of policy programs and then as executive vice president.  From 2003-2005, she worked in the Policy Planning office at the U.S. Department of State, handling the Europe portfolio.  Donfried has written and spoken extensively on German foreign policy, European integration, and transatlantic relations.  She is a Senior Fellow at Harvard University’s Center for European Studies.  The King of the Belgians awarded the Commander of the Order of the Crown to her in 2020 and she became an Officer of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic in 2018.  Additionally, she received the Cross of the Order of Merit from the German Government in 2011 and a Superior Service Medal from the National Intelligence Community in 2014.  She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Council on Germany.  Donfried has a Ph.D. and MALD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, a Magister from the University of Munich, Germany and holds a B.A. from Wesleyan University.  She is fluent in German. 

Barbara A. Leaf, Nominee for Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs

Barbara A. Leaf is the Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Middle East and North Africa Affairs on the National Security Council.  Prior to this, she was the Ruth and Sid Lapidus Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and Director of the Beth and David Geduld Program on Arab Politics.  She previously served as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Arabian Peninsula in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs as well as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iraq at the State Department.  She directed the U.S. Provincial Reconstruction Team in Basrah, Iraq and was the Department’s first Director of the Office of Iranian Affairs.  Leaf also has served in Rome, Sarajevo, Paris, Cairo, Tunis, Jerusalem and Port-au-Prince.  She speaks Arabic, French, Italian and Serbo-Croatian.  Leaf has a Bachelor’s degree from the College of William and Mary and a Master’s degree from the University of Virginia. 

Mary Catherine Phee, Nominee for Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs and to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the African Development Foundation

Mary Catherine Phee, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service with the rank of Minister Counselor, currently serves as Principal Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation at the State Department.  She was U.S. Ambassador to South Sudan from 2015 to 2017.  Previously, she served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and as Chief of Staff in the Office of the Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan.  She also was the Acting Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs and Deputy Security Council Coordinator at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, handling UN engagement in Africa for both portfolios.  Earlier in her career, Phee served as Director for Iraq at the National Security Council and as Senior Civilian Representative of the Coalition Provisional Authority to Maysan Province, Iraq.  She began her career in Amman, Jordan and also worked at U.S. Embassies in Cairo, Egypt and Kuwait City, Kuwait.  She received the Robert C. Frasure Memorial Award for conflict resolution and peacemaking, the James A. Baker, III-C. Howard Wilkins, Jr. Award for Outstanding Deputy Chief of Mission, the Secretary of Defense Meritorious Civilian Service Award, the Order of the British Empire Award, and a Presidential Rank Award.  She speaks Arabic.  A native of Chicago, she is a graduate of Indiana University and holds a Master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. 

Michele Jeanne Sison, Nominee for Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs

Michele Jeanne Sison, a five-time Ambassador, has extensive experience in advancing U.S. interests through multilateral diplomacy.  Sison has served as U.S. Ambassador to Haiti since 2018.   She also served as Deputy Representative of the United States to the United Nations (with the rank of Ambassador) from 2014 to 2018, where she helped build global coalitions to counter transnational threats to peace and security and advocated for a more effective, efficient, and accountable UN and multilateral system.  She also has long experience with UN peacekeeping and the UN entities responsible for development, humanitarian relief, and human rights in the field.  Previously, she served as U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives, U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon, U.S. Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, Assistant Chief of Mission in Iraq, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs, and Deputy Chief of Mission in Pakistan.  Her earlier tours include India, Cote d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Benin, Togo, Haiti, and Washington.  Sison received a B.A. from Wellesley College and is the recipient of numerous State Department awards, including the Distinguished Service Award and the Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Service.  She holds the personal rank of Career Ambassador, the highest rank in the U.S. Foreign Service.

Gentry O. Smith, Nominee for Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security

Gentry O. Smith leads The Gentry Group, LLC, a security consulting firm.  A former career member of the Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, he served as the Director of the Office of Foreign Missions, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Countermeasures in the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, and the Director of Physical Security Programs in the Bureau of Diplomatic Security at the State Department.  Other State Department postings include assignments as Regional Security Officer at the U.S.  Embassy in Tokyo, Japan, Deputy Regional Security Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Egypt, and Regional Security Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Rangoon, Burma.  Smith also served as a Special Agent in the Criminal Investigative Liaison Division, Special Agent on the Secretary of State Protection Detail, and Assistant Regional Security Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.  He earned a B.A. in political science from North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Anne A. Witkowsky, Nominee for Assistant Secretary of State for Conflict and Stabilization Operations and Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization

Anne A. Witkowsky most recently served as the Co-Director of the Task Force on U.S. Strategy to Support Democracy and Counter Authoritarianism, a partnership of Freedom House, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the McCain Institute.  She has served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Stability and Humanitarian Affairs in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy at the Pentagon and as the Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Coordinator, and Deputy Assistant Coordinator, in the State Department’s Bureau of Counterterrorism.  Witkowsky was a Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC and earlier served as Director for Defense Policy and Arms Control on the National Security Council Staff at the White House.  She earned a Master in Public Administration degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University and a Bachelor’s degree from Yale. She has been recognized with a number of awards including the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service and the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Civilian Service.

 

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