Biden Taps Julissa Reynoso Pantaleon as Ambassador to Spain and Andorra


President Biden recently announced his intent to nominate Julissa Reynoso to be the next U.S. Ambassador to Spain and Andorra. The WH released the following brief bio:

Julissa Reynoso Pantaleon, Nominee for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Kingdom of Spain and to the Principality of Andorra

Julissa Reynoso is an Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to Dr. Jill Biden, and the Co-Chair of the Gender Policy Council at the White House.  A former U.S. Ambassador to Uruguay, Reynoso also served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs.  She is a former partner at the international law firm of Winston & Strawn LLP, in New York, and served on the faculty of Columbia University School of Law and School of International and Public Affairs.  Reynoso is widely published in English and Spanish on an array of issues including comparative law, regulatory reform, community organizing, immigration policy, and Latin American politics for both popular press and academic journals.  She holds a B.A. in Government from Harvard University, a Masters in Philosophy from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom and a J.D. from Columbia University School of Law.  She clerked for the Honorable Federal Judge Laura Taylor Swain.  She is fluent in Spanish.

If confirmed, the former Ambassador to Uruguay Julissa Reynoso would succeed political appointee Richard D. Buchan III who served as Ambassador to Spain from January 18, 2018–January 2021. According to AFSA’s ambassador tracker, all but five of 19 ambassadors to Spain (73.7%) since 1960 were political appointees.

Biden to Nominate @ColumbiaLaw’s Sarah H. Cleveland to be @StateDept Legal Adviser


President Biden recently announced his intent to nominate Sarah H. Cleveland to be the next Legal Adviser of the State Department. The WH released the following brief bio:

Sarah H. Cleveland, Nominee for Legal Adviser of the Department of State

Sarah H. Cleveland is an American law professor and expert in international law and the constitutional law of U.S. foreign relations.  A native of Alabama, she holds the Louis Henkin Chair in Human and Constitutional Rights and is Faculty Co-Director of the Human Rights Institute at Columbia Law School. She previously served as the Co-Coordinating Reporter of the American Law Institute’s Restatement (Fourth) of the Foreign Relations Law of the United States (2018), and as Counselor on International Law to the Legal Adviser of the U.S. Department of State.  She was nominated by the U.S. government and served as an independent expert on the United Nations Human Rights Committee (2015-18) and the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe (2013-19). Cleveland began her career as a Skadden Fellow representing migrant farmworkers with Florida Legal Services, and then joined the faculty at the University of Texas School of Law. The author of numerous publications, she also has taught at Oxford, Harvard, Michigan, Sciences Po Paris, Paris II Panthéon-Assas, and the European University Institute, Florence.  She earned a Bachelor’s Degree with honors at Brown University (Junior Phi Beta Kappa); a Master’s Degree at Oxford University, where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar; and a J.D. at Yale University Law School.  She clerked for Judge Louis F. Oberdorfer on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, and then for Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun.

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Biden Taps Former “P” Nicholas Burns to be the Next Ambassador to Beijing



President Biden announced his intent to nominate former Ambassador Nicholas Burns as his Ambassador to China. The WH released the following brief bio:

R. Nicholas Burns, Nominee for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the People’s Republic of China

Ambassador (ret.) Nicholas Burns, a respected former career member of the Foreign Service, currently serves as Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Relations at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. He is also Executive Director of the Aspen Strategy Group and Security Forum and Senior Counselor at the Cohen Group. During his State Department career, Burns served as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Ambassador to NATO and to Greece, State Department Spokesman, and on the National Security Council staff on Soviet and Russian Affairs. As Under Secretary, he worked with the Chinese government on issues as diverse as Afghanistan, United Nations Sanctions against Iran, North Korea ,and U.S. policy in the Indo-Pacific. At the Aspen Strategy Group, he organized a policy dialogue with the Chinese government’s Central Party School.  He has taught, written, and spoken on current U.S.-China relations. Burns earned his B.A. degree from Boston College and an M.A. from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. His numerous awards include a Presidential Distinguished Service Award and the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award. He speaks fluent French and has familiarity with Arabic and Greek.

The WH somehow forgot to include the nominee’s Entegris bio. Click here for a longer bio via the George W. Bush White House archive, and  the Policy Planning bio from 2009-2017 via His Cohen Group bio where he is senior counselor is available here.
After the announcement, China expressed hope that Ambassador Burns would “play a constructive role” in China-US relations and “make constructive contributions to the stable development of bilateral ties.”
If confirmed, Ambassador Burns would succeed Terry E. Branstad who served in Beijing from July 12, 2017–October 4, 2020. A previous appointee to this position once announced that “The ambassador doesn’t work for the State Department.” That one managed to work at the US Embassy in Beijing from March 20, 2014–January 16, 2017 presumably without working for the State Department.





Biden Taps Rahm Emanuel as Ambassador to Japan


On August 20, President Biden announced his intent to nominate the controversial former Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel to be the next Ambassador to Japan. The WH released the following brief bio:

Rahm Emanuel, Nominee for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Japan

Rahm Emanuel, former Mayor of the City of Chicago and White House Chief of Staff to President Obama, has had a distinguished career in public service. As Mayor, he oversaw increased economic development that revitalized the city and helped solidify its status as a global hub of culture and commerce. He ensured Chicago was a leader on the global stage, hosting the 2012 NATO summit, leading the continent in foreign direct investment for six consecutive years, convening mayors worldwide to commit to the Chicago Climate Charter of 2017 and helping establish the Chicago Council on Global Affairs Mayors Forum on Global Cities. He previously served as Chief of Staff to President Obama, where he helped secure the passage of landmark legislation, including Dodd-Frank and the Affordable Care Act, and advised President Obama on all key national security decisions during the President’s first two years. From 2003 to 2009, Mr. Emanuel served in the U.S. House of Representatives where he held a number of leadership positions. Mr. Emanuel also served President Clinton as Assistant to the President for Political Affairs and Senior Advisor for Policy and Strategy. He is currently national chair of the Advisory Council of Youth Guidance’s Becoming a Man (BAM) mentoring program. He graduated with a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. from Northwestern University. 

If confirmed, Emanuel would succeed William F. Hagerty IV who served at the US Embassy in Tokyo from August 31, 2017–July 22, 2019. Ambassador Hagerty was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2020 and now represents the state of Tennessee.
Prior appointees to this position includes, Caroline Bouvier Kennedy (1957–), Howard Henry Baker Jr. (1925–2014), Thomas Stephen Foley (1929–2013), Walter F. Mondale (1928–), Michael Joseph Mansfield (1903–2001) to name a few.
There’s an organized group that’s running a “No to Rahm” campaign. There are also  members of the House who are voicing publicly their opposition to this nomination. In the end though, only the votes in the Senate really counts. It is not  very often that a Senate confirmation gets derailed; it does happen from time to time, but this nominee has friends in the high places, so more likely than not, this nomination will get confirmed despite the opposition.
Of course, given that Senator Cruz, one of the heroes of the January 6 insurrection has already gummed up the confirmation process, who knows when nominees may actually start packing.


Biden Taps Confidant Mark Gitenstein to be Ambassador to the European Union


President Biden announced his intent to nominate his former Senate aide and confidant Mark Gitenstein to be the next Ambassador to the European Union. The WH released the following brief bio:

Mark Gitenstein, Nominee for Representative of the United States of America to the European Union, with rank and status of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary

Mark Gitenstein is Senior Counsel at Mayer Brown LLP, and a former U.S. Ambassador to Romania. He has spent most of the last decade working on projects in Central and Eastern Europe.  As Ambassador, he focused on fighting corruption and preserving democratic institutions, issues he continued to focus on through his work as a lawyer and with NGOs. Since his term as ambassador ended in 2012, he has returned to the region over two dozen times since then.

Earlier in his career, Gitenstein worked for 17 years in the U.S. Senate as Chief Counsel or Minority Chief Counsel of the Judiciary Committee, Chief Counsel of the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, and Counsel for the Intelligence Committee.  In 2008 he co-chaired then Senator Biden’s transition to the vice presidency. In 2021 he served as a senior advisor to and member of the advisory committee to the Biden presidential transition.

Gitenstein earned an A.B. at Duke University and a J.D. at Georgetown University Law School.  He was awarded the Star of Romania, the nation’s highest civilian honor, by the President of Romania in 2012.

Ambassador Gitenstein previously served as chief of mission at the US Embassy in Bucharest. Unlike most political ambassadors, his post was inspected by the Inspector General in 2012, the last year of his tenure in Romania. The report indicated a well-run embassy and had very good things to say about the chief of mission: “The Ambassador has led the mission to notable political, political-military, public outreach, and economic-commercial successes.” Also that “the Ambassador thinks strategically and has a clear set of goals.”
If confirmed, Ambassador Gitenstein would succeed Trump Impeachment I witness Gordon Sonland who served as Ambassador to the European Union from 2018 until he was fired by Trump on February 7, 2020, two days after the conclusion of Trump’s impeachment trial.

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Amy Searight of CSIS to be Asst Administrator For Asia Bureau at USAID


President Biden announced his intent to nominate Amy Searight to be Assistant Administrator for the Asia Bureau at USAID. The WH released the following brief bio:

Amy Searight, Nominee for Assistant Administrator for the Bureau for Asia, United States Agency for International Development

Amy Searight is currently Senior Associate for Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), where she previously served as Senior Advisor and Director of the Southeast Asia Program.  Prior to joining CSIS, Amy served in the Obama-Biden Administration.  From 2014-2016 she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South and Southeast Asia, and from 2012-2014 she served Principal Director for East Asia Security in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.  In 2016 she was awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service.  Before the Pentagon, Searight served as Senior Advisor for Asia in the U.S. Agency for International Development for two years.

Earlier in her career, she worked in the State Department as an International Affairs Fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations, serving as Special Economic Advisor for Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation and on the Policy Planning Staff.  She was assistant professor of political science at The Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University and at Northwestern University.  A native of New Jersey, she received her B.A. in political economy from Williams College, and an M.A. in East Asian Studies and Ph.D. in Political Science from Stanford University.


Biden Taps Entrepreneur Jonathan Eric Kaplan as U.S. Ambassador to Singapore



President Biden announced his intent to nominate Jonathan Kaplan to be the next U.S. Ambassador to Singapore. The WH released the following brief bio:

Jonathan Eric Kaplan, Nominee for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Singapore

Jonathan Kaplan currently serves as Chairperson of the EducationSuperHighway, a nonprofit organization that works with governors and officials across the nation to provide American public school classrooms access to high-speed internet connections. An entrepreneur and innovator, Kaplan most recently was the Chairperson and CEO of FishSix Restaurant Corporation. Prior to that, as Chairperson and CEO of Pure Digital Technologies, he invented and marketed the revolutionary Flip video camera and, when Pure Digital was acquired by Cisco Systems, Kaplan became Senior Vice President and General Manager of its Consumer Products Division.  Earlier Kaplan was President and CEO of, Founder and CEO of MovieStreet, Vice President and General Manager of Geoworks, and Vice-President of Hands On Technology. Kaplan serves as an advisor for the Young Presidents Organization, meeting with corporate management and government leaders in dozens of countries.  Kaplan earned a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial management from Carnegie Mellon University and was the 2010 Ernst & Young Northern California Entrepreneur of the Year.

If confirmed, Mr. Kaplan would succeed Ambassador Kirk W.B. Wagar who served as Ambassador  to Singapore from September 25, 2013–January 20, 2017 under President Obama. Trump nominated Kathleen T. Mcfarland on June 15, 2017 and renominated her on January 8, 2018. Her nomination was eventually withdrawn on February 5, 2018 (see Nominee/Candidates For U.S. Ambassadorships to Singapore, Austria, and South Korea Withdraw From Consideration).
In 2019, Trump nominated Barbera Hale Thornhill to be U.S. Ambassador to Singapore (see Interior Design Businesswoman Barbera Hale Thornhill to be U.S. Ambassador to Singapore).  The nomination was returned to the President on January 3, 2021.

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Biden to Nominate FIU’s Francisco O. Mora to be U.S.Representative to the Organization of American States


President Biden announced his intent to nominate Fransisco O. Mora to be the next U.S. Ambassador to Organization of American States. The WH released the following brief bio:

Francisco O. Mora, Nominee for Permanent Representative of the United States of America to the Organization of American States, with the rank of Ambassador   

Francisco O. Mora is a Professor of Politics and International Relations, and Senior Researcher, at the Jack D. Gordon Institute for Public Policy at Florida International University (FIU).  Earlier, he was Director of the Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center at FIU’s Green School of International and Public Affairs.  Mora served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Defense for the Western Hemisphere.  He held several teaching positions, including Professor of National Security Strategy and Latin American Studies at the National War College at the National Defense University, and Associate Professor and Chair in the Department of International Studies at Rhodes College.  He is the author of four books and numerous articles and other publications.  Mora earned a B.A. in International Affairs at The George Washington University.  He received his M.A. in Inter-American Studies and a Ph.D. in International Affairs from the University of Miami.  He also completed studies at universities in Peru and Costa Rica.  He is a recipient of the Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service, Department of Defense.  Mora is a native Spanish speaker and also speaks Portuguese.

If confirmed, Dr. Mora would succeed Florida state representative Carlos Trujillo who served in that post from April 5, 2018 – January 19, 2021.


Biden Taps @Penn’s Amy Gutmann to be the Next U.S. Ambassador to Germany

President Biden announced his intent to nominate University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann to be the next U.S. Ambassador to Germany. The WH released the following brief bio:

Amy Gutmann, Nominee for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Federal Republic of Germany

Amy Gutmann is the eighth President of the University of Pennsylvania, serving since 2004.  She is also the Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Political Science, and a Professor of Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication.  Her focus on global engagement fueled the creation of Penn’s Perry World House on campus, Penn Wharton China Center in Beijing, and the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement in Washington, D.C.  Previously, at Princeton University, Gutmann was Provost, Dean of the Faculty, Founding Director of The University Center for Human Values, Laurance S. Rockefeller University Professor of Politics, and Director of the Program in Ethics and Public Affairs.  She also worked at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and at the University of Maryland.  Gutmann is an award-winning author and editor of 17 books, many centered on understanding and defending constitutional democracy and human rights. The daughter of a German Jewish refugee, and first in her family to graduate college, she earned a B.A. at Harvard-Radcliffe College, an M.S. at the London School of Economics, and a Ph.D. at Harvard.  She was named by Fortune in 2018 as one of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders.”

If confirmed, Ms. Gutmann would succeed Richard Grenell who served from May 2018 – June 2020.  She would also be the first female American ambassador to Berlin. According to AFSA’s tracking, 12 of 17 ambassadors appointed to Germany since 1960 or 70.6% were non-career appointees.


NSC’s Mallory Stewart to be Assistant Secretary of State For Arms Control, Verification and Compliance


President Biden announced his intent to nominate Mallory Stewart to be the next Assistant Secretary for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance (State/AVC). The WH released the following brief bio:

Mallory Stewart, Nominee for Assistant Secretary of State (Arms Control, Verification and Compliance)

Mallory Stewart currently serves as a Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Arms Control, Disarmament, and Nonproliferation on the National Security Council. Previously, Ms. Stewart was Senior Manager for Global Nuclear Security and Nonproliferation as Sandia National Laboratories.  She also has served as a Nonresident Fellow in the WMD, Nonproliferation and Security Program at the Stimson Center, as an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University’s Center for Security Studies and as a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Emerging Security Challenges and Defense Policy in the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance. She worked in the State Department Legal Advisor’s Office on arms control issues and, among other roles, served as the lead lawyer and one of the primary architects of the U.S.-Russia Framework to eliminate Syria’s declared chemical weapons stockpile.

Ms. Stewart earned an A.B degree from Harvard College and her J.D. degree from Stanford Law School.  She has written extensively on issues related to arms control and verification and was the recipient of the Secretary of State’s Award for Excellence in International Security Affairs among other honors.

If confirmed, Ms. Stewart would succeed Yleem D. S. Poblete who served from 2018–2019.
On September 8, 2020, the U.S. Senate received the nomination of Ryan Michael Tully, of New York, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Verification and Compliance) and the nomination was referred to the SRFC. On January 3, 2021, that nomination was returned to the President under the provisions of Senate Rule XXXI, paragraph 6 of the Standing Rules of the Senate.