For Immediate Release
WASHINGTON – Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts:
Henry S. Ensher, Ambassador to the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, Department of State
Kenneth J. Fairfax, Ambassador to the Republic of Kazakhstan, Department of State
Deepa Gupta, Member, National Council on the Arts
The President also announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key Administration posts:
Nisha Desai Biswal, Member, Congressional-Executive Commission on the People’s Republic of China
Michael C. Camuñez, Member, Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe
Susan H. Hildreth, Member, Board of Trustees of the American Folklife Center
Gary Hirshberg, Member, Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations
Edwin Schlossberg, Member, Commission of Fine Arts
Lesley Weiss, Member, Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad
Nisha Desai Biswal, Michael C. Camuñez, and Susan H. Hildreth will continue serving in their current roles in addition to these appointments.
President Obama said, “I am grateful these accomplished men and women have agreed to join this Administration, and I’m confident they will serve ably in these important roles. I look forward to working with them in the coming months and years.”
President Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts:
Henry S. Ensher, Nominee for Ambassador to the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, Department of State
Henry S. Ensher most recently served as the United States Senior Civilian Representative in southern Afghanistan. Immediately prior to that assignment, he was Director of the Office of Afghanistan Affairs in the Department of State. Mr. Ensher joined the Foreign Service in 1983 and his overseas assignments include Hermosillo, Jeddah, Muscat, Damascus, Vienna, Algiers, Tel Aviv and Baghdad. He also directed political affairs for Iraq within the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs in 2006. Mr. Ensher received his B.A. from Loyola Marymount University.
Kenneth J. Fairfax, Nominee for Ambassador to the Republic of Kazakhstan, Department of State
Kenneth Fairfax is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service and currently serves as the Minister Counselor for Economic Affairs at the American Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq. Prior to this assignment, Mr. Fairfax served as Principal Officer and Consul General at the U.S. Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City, a position he has also held at the U.S. Consulate General in Krakow. Prior to that, he served as Counselor for Economic Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv. His other overseas assignments include Vancouver, British Columbia, Seoul and Pusan, Korea. He began his Foreign Service career in 1987 as an Economics and Commercial Officer at Embassy Muscat. Mr. Fairfax has also served as the Director for both Nuclear Materials Security and Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia Affairs at the National Security Council. Prior to joining the State Department, Mr. Fairfax worked as an economic consultant and in the computer industry in the San Francisco Bay Area. He holds a B.A. with High Honors from Oberlin College.
Deepa Gupta, Nominee for Member, National Council on the Arts
Deepa Gupta is a Program Officer for Media, Culture and Special Initiatives at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in Chicago. In this role, she manages the Foundation's grantmaking in arts and culture in Chicago and the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. She previously served as a senior associate at McKinsey and Company. She is a board member of the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois and an advisory board member of the Cure JM Foundation. Ms. Gupta earned her M.B.A. from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University and an M.P.A. from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She has an A.B. in Public Policy and Biology from the University of Chicago.
President Obama announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key Administration posts:
Nisha Desai Biswal, Appointee for Member, Congressional-Executive Commission on the People’s Republic of China
Nisha Desai Biswal currently serves as Assistant Administrator for Asia at the U.S. Agency for International Development. Prior to this position Ms. Biswal served as the Majority Clerk for the State Department and Foreign Operations Subcommittee on the Committee on Appropriations in the U.S. House of Representatives which has jurisdiction over the State Department, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and other aspects of the international affairs budget. Ms. Biswal provided staff support to Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey and Subcommittee Chairwoman Nita Lowey in managing the appropriations and oversight of the U.S. international affairs budget. Ms. Biswal was the Director of Policy and Advocacy at InterAction, the largest alliance of U.S. based international humanitarian and development non-governmental organizations. She previously served on the professional staff of the House International Relations Committee where she was responsible for South and Central Asia policy as well as oversight of the State Department and USAID. Ms. Biswal worked at the U.S. Agency for International Development where she served as Special Assistant to the Administrator. During her four years at USAID, Ms. Biswal also worked in the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, the Office of Transition Initiatives, and served as chief of staff in the Management Bureau. Ms. Biswal has also worked with the American Red Cross both in their Washington headquarters and overseas as an international delegate in Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan. Ms. Biswal holds a B.A. from the University of Virginia.
Michael C. Camuñez, Appointee for Member, Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe
Michael C. Camuñez currently serves as Assistant Secretary for Market Access and Compliance, Department of Commerce. Prior to this appointment, Mr. Camuñez served as Special Counsel to the President in the Office of the White House Counsel. He has also served as Special Assistant to the President for Presidential Personnel. Mr. Camuñez also worked on the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Project as part of the Agency Review Team. Prior to joining the administration, Mr. Camuñez was a partner in the law firm of O’Melveny & Myers LLP, where he represented Fortune 500 companies, officers and directors in a range of matters involving domestic and international commercial disputes. He also advised U.S. companies doing business abroad in Latin America and Europe on corporate compliance, anti-corruption, and the risks associated with foreign investment and multinational business transactions. From 1991-1993 he served as the Program Officer and Director of the National Service Demonstration Program at the bipartisan U.S. Commission on National Service in Washington, DC. From 1993 to 1995 he served as the Senior Policy Advisor for national service in the Clinton Administration, where he helped lead the effort to establish the Corporation for National Service and its signature program, AmeriCorps. He has also served on numerous boards, including as President of the Mexican American Bar Foundation in Los Angeles County and as a member of the Stanford Law School Board of Visitors. He was appointed by Democratic and Republican governors to the board of California’s public service commission, which he chaired from 2005-2007 with California First Lady Maria Shriver. From 2007 until his appointment in the administration, Mr. Camuñez also served as a member of the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission. He is a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy, the West Coast Affiliate of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Stanford Law School.
Susan H. Hildreth, Appointee for Member, Board of Trustees of the American Folklife Center
Susan Hildreth recently was appointed by President Obama as the Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). Before joining the IMLS, Susan H. Hildreth was the city librarian of The Seattle Public Library. She was previously appointed as California’s state librarian by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Prior to her position as California state librarian, Ms. Hildreth was at the San Francisco Public Library, where she served as deputy director and then city librarian. Her background also includes five years as deputy library director at the Sacramento Public Library, several years as Placer County's head librarian and four years as library director for the Benicia Public Library, all in California. She began her career as a branch librarian at the Edison Township Library in New Jersey. Ms. Hildreth is active in the American Library Association and served as president of the Public Library Association in 2006. She has a master's degree in library science from State University of New York, a master's degree in business administration from Rutgers University and a bachelor of arts, cum laude, from Syracuse University.
Gary Hirshberg, Appointee for Member, Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations
Gary Hirshberg is Chairman, President, and CEO of Stonyfield Farm, a leading organic yogurt producer and is managing director of Stonyfield Europe, a partnership with Groupe Danone, with brands in Canada, Ireland, and France. He serves as a member on the corporate boards of Honest Tea, Applegate Farms, The Full Yield, Peak Organic Brewing, O'Naturals, Sweetgreen, and Glenisk (Ireland). He is also a member of the board of Danone Communities Fund which is advancing sustainable micro-enterprises in Bangladesh, Cambodia and Senegal among other countries.
Edwin Schlossberg, Appointee for Member, Commission of Fine Arts
Edwin Schlossberg is the founder and principal of ESI Design, an internationally recognized firm that designs interactive environments for learning and communicating. Mr. Schlossberg specializes in integrated experiential museums and retail and large scale cultural facilities including the recently designed Shanghai Corporate Pavilion for the World Expo in Shanghai. He has written more than ten published works, has had numerous one man art shows and his work is in the collections of many major museums. He teaches and lectures widely including at Columbia University. He is on several non profit boards and founded the partnership desigNYC that matches designers and community organizations in need of pro-bono support. He graduated from the Columbia University with a B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. in Science and Literature.
Lesley Weiss, Appointee for Member, Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad
Lesley Weiss is Director of Community Services and Cultural Affairs for NCSJ: Advocates on Behalf of Jews in Russia, Ukraine, the Baltic States & Eurasia. Ms. Weiss coordinates democracy initiatives, community education and revitalization efforts in the countries of the former Soviet Union. She monitors government compliance in the areas of free emigration and religious and cultural rights. Ms. Weiss, the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, travels frequently to the region where she works closely with government, NGO and community representatives on the restitution and preservation of Jewish communal property, cemetery restoration, and Holocaust remembrance and memorialization.