Obama Appoints Past President Shaw to Key Administrative Post

By White House Press Secretary |  June 25, 2010

WASHINGTON - Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individual to a key administration post:

      

Judith Fergin, Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, Department of State

President Obama also announced his intent to appoint Suzan Johnson Cook to serve as Ambassador-At-Large for International Religious Freedom at the Department of State, Felice D. Gaer to serve as Member  of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, andWilliam J. Shaw to serve as Member of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. Their bios are below.

President Obama said, "The American people will be well served by the expertise and commitment these individuals will bring to their important roles. I am grateful they have chosen to join my administration, and I look forward to working with them in the coming months and years."

President Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individual to a key administration post:

Judith Fergin, Nominee for Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, Department of State

Judith Fergin is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service.  She is currently Consul General in Sydney, Australia. Prior to that she was Deputy Chief of Mission in Singapore. Ms. Fergin has also served as Economic Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Canberra and the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta.  Other overseas posts include Russia, Liberia, South Africa, and Germany.  Ms. Fergin received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Smith College and Master's degrees from the University of Virginia and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces of the National Defense University.

President Obama also announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key administration posts:

Suzan Johnson Cook, Appointee for Ambassador-At-Large for International Religious Freedom, Department of State

Dr. Suzan Johnson Cook is the Founder and President of Wisdom Worldwide Center. She has also served as the Senior Pastor of Bronx Christian Fellowship Baptist Church in New York City since 1996 and the owner of Charisma Speakers since 2008. Prior to that she was co-Partner/Owner of Jonco Productions from 1994-2009. Dr. Johnson Cook has also held the position of Chaplain to the New York City Police Department since 1990. Dr. Johnson Cook is a Founder/Board Member of the Multi-Ethnic Center and has been the Executive Director since 1996. From 1983-1996, she served as Senior Pastor to the Mariners Temple Baptist Church. Prior to that she was a professor at the New York Theological Seminary from 1988-1996.  Dr. Johnson Cook holds a B.S. from Emerson College, Master of Arts from Columbia University, Teachers College, Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary, and Doctor of Ministry from United Theological Seminary.

Felice D. Gaer, Appointee for Member, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom

Felice D. Gaer is the director of the Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights of the American Jewish Committee. The institute conducts research and advocacy to strengthen international human rights protections and institutions worldwide.  Ms. Gaer was the 2010 Regents Professor at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). She was and remains the first American to serve as an Independent Expert on the UN Committee against Torture, a body which monitors compliance of 146 countries with the Convention against Torture. Ms. Gaer is Vice-Chair of the Committee, and its Rapporteur on Follow-up to Country Conclusions. She has also served three times as chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, on which she has been a Commissioner since 2001, appointed by the Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives. In January 2010, Ms. Gaer was awarded the National Award for Religious Freedom from the First Freedom Center in Virginia. Ms. Gaer is a graduate of Wellesley College, from which she received the Alumni Achievement Award in 1995. She also received advanced degrees from Columbia University.

William J. Shaw, Appointee for Member, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom

Dr. William J. Shaw is the Immediate Past President of the National Baptist Convention, USA. Inc. and Pastor of White Rock Baptist Church in Philadelphia, a position he has held since 1956. In addition to his work as Pastor of the White Rock Baptist Church, Dr. Shaw is a recognized leader in Pennsylvania and across the nation. He was previously appointed to serve on the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund and currently sits on the Board of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Shaw has served as President of The Baptist Ministers' Conference of Philadelphia and Vicinity, The Metropolitan Christian Council of Philadelphia, and the Union Theological Seminary National Alumni Association.  From 1981 through 1994, Dr. Shaw served as Director of the Ministers' Division of the National Congress of Christian Education. He has been the recipient of numerous awards, including most recently, the Unitas Award, given by the Alumni Association of the Union Theological Seminary and the T. B. Maston Foundation Christian Ethics Award from the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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