Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 7, 2009
President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts
- Michael H. Posner, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Department of State
- Stephen J. Rapp, Ambassador at Large for War Crimes Issues, Department of State
- Alexander G. Garza, Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs and Chief Medical Officer, Department of Homeland Security
- Susan L. Kurland, Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs, Department of Transportation
- Joe Garcia, Director of the Office of Minority Economic Impact, Department of Energy
- Kenneth A. Spearman, Member of the Board of Directors, Farm Credit Administration
- Rolena Adorno, Member of the National Council on the Humanities
- Marvin Krislov, Member of the National Council on the Humanities
Michael Posner currently serves as the President of Human Rights First (formerly the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights) and has been at the forefront of the international human rights movement for more than 30 years. Posner has traveled to more than 50 countries in all regions of the world on behalf of Human Rights First and other organizations. He has worked to support human rights defenders in countries as diverse as Russia, Zimbabwe, Iran, Cuba, China, Uganda, Haiti, the Philippines, El Salvador and Egypt. He also has been actively involved in promoting the rights of refugees and displaced people, and has taken a leading role in promoting stronger industry standards to ensure fair labor conditions in global manufacturing supply chains. Posner is a frequent public commentator and his opinion essays have appeared in newspapers and magazines around the country. He also has testified dozens of times before the U.S. Congress on a wide range of human rights and refugee topics. Before joining Human Rights First, Posner was a lawyer with Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal in Chicago. Posner lectured at Yale Law School from 1981 to 1984, and again in 2009. He has been a visiting lecturer at Columbia University Law School since 1984. A member of the California and Illinois Bars, as well as the Council on Foreign Relations, he received his J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley Law School (Boalt Hall) and a B.A. from the University of Michigan.
Stephen Rapp has served as Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone since January 2007, leading the prosecutions of former Liberian President Charles Taylor and other persons alleged to bear the greatest responsibility for the atrocities committed during the civil war in Sierra Leone. From 2001 to 2007, Rapp served as Senior Trial Attorney and Chief of Prosecutions at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, personally heading the trial team that achieved convictions of the principals of RTLM radio and Kangura newspaper—the first in history for leaders of the mass media for the crime of Incitement to Commit Genocide. Previously, he was United States Attorney for the Northern District of Iowa from 1993 to 2001. Prior to his tenure as U.S. Attorney, he had worked as an attorney in private practice and had served as Staff Director of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency and as an elected member of the Iowa Legislature. He received his JD degree from Drake University and his BA from Harvard College.
Alexander Garza has had an impressive career in medicine and public health issues in both civilian and military roles, specializing in emergency medicine. Currently, he is serving as a staff physician of the Level I trauma center of Washington Hospital Center. Previously, he has served as the Director of Military Programs at the ER One Institute at the Washington Hospital Center, the Associate Medical Director of Emergency Medical Services for the State of New Mexico, and as the Medical Director of Emergency Medical Services for the Kansas City Health Department. His military roles have included the Public Health Team Chief for Operation Flintlock in Dakar, Senegal, the Public Health Team Chief for Operation Iraqi Freedom I, a battalion surgeon, and as a special investigator/medical expert for MG Ray Odierno. He holds an MD from University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine and a Masters in Public Health from St. Louis University School of Public Health.
Susan Kurland has extensive transportation experience, in both government and private sector roles. She is currently a Managing Director at Jefferies & Company in the areas of airport infrastructure and municipal finance, and heads the firm’s municipal finance group in Chicago. Previously, Kurland has served as Associate Administrator for Airports for the Federal Aviation Administration leading the FAA’s national airport program. In addition, she has served as Vice President and Deputy General Counsel of U.S Airways, and has also been Deputy Corporation Counsel for the City of Chicago, serving as general counsel for Chicago’s airport system. Kurland earned her undergraduate degree from Brandeis University and her law degree from Boston University School of Law.
Joe Garcia's dynamic public service career spans over 20 years and consists of a diverse body of work in the fields of energy, foreign policy and human rights. As a law student, Mr. Garcia directed the Exodus Project, a non-profit refugee resettlement program that reunited over 10,000 families at no cost to American tax-payers. In 1992, the late Governor Lawton Chiles appointed Joe Garcia to the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC), where he fought for lower utility bills for the people of Florida. In 1998, Mr. Garcia's fellow commissioners elected him as chairman of the PSC. As PSC Chairman, Joe Garcia worked across party lines to pass the largest energy rate cut in Florida's history, saving Florida's families more than $1 billion. In 2001, Mr. Garcia was named as the Executive Director of the Cuban American National Foundation, where he served as a tireless proponent of freedom and improved human rights conditions in Cuba and throughout the Americas. In 2004, Mr. Garcia was named Executive Vice President and Director of the Hispanic Project for NDN, a policy research institute in Washington D.C. Joe Garcia earned his Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctorate degrees from the University of Miami.
Kenneth A. Spearman, a native of Winter Haven, Florida, was appointed Director on the Board of AgFirst Farm Credit Bank in January 2006 and currently serves on the Governance Committee. He is well-trained in cooperative banking and finance policy issues and has a deep understanding of agriculture after having spent 28 years in the citrus industry. Mr. Spearman is a former Director of Internal Audit for Florida’s Natural Growers, Inc., where his responsibilities included designing and implementing the annual plan for reviewing and appraising the soundness, adequacy, and application of accounting, financial and other operating internal controls. Prior to Florida’s Natural, Mr. Spearman was controller of Citrus Central, Inc. in Orlando, Florida from 1980-1991, where he was responsible for the financial management and reporting function of the $100+ million cooperative and supervision of staff accounts. Prior to working in the citrus industry, he was the co-founder of a public accounting firm in Chicago, Illinois and worked as an accountant with Arthur Andersen & Co. He served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Lake Wales Medical Center. He is a member of the Institute of Internal Auditors, and the National Society of Accountants for Cooperatives, where he was a past National President. Mr. Spearman obtained his Masters Degree in Business Administration from Governors State University in University Park, Illinois and his Bachelors of Science degree in accounting from Indiana University.
Rolena Adorno is the Chair of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Yale University, where she focuses her study and teachings on Colonial Spanish American literature and history, manuscript culture and textual transmission in colonial Spanish America, and the nineteenth-century origins of Hispanism in the United States. Her most recent published books include The Polemics of Possession in Spanish American Narrative and De Guancane a Macondo: estudios de literatura hispanoamericana. She has also been the recipient of numerous awards for her works in the humanities, including the Graduate Mentor Award of the Graduate School of Yale University and a Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award from the University of Iowa, her alma mater. She has held fellowships from the National Endowment of the Humanities and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and is an Honorary Associate of the Hispanic Society of America and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Marvin Krislov has served as the President of Oberlin College since July 2007. Prior to that, he spent nine years at the University of Michigan as the Vice President and General Counsel. In addition, he served as an adjunct professor during his time at Michigan, teaching two undergraduate courses: a seminar in the university’s law school and a course in its Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy Summer Program. He has also served on various academic boards within the university and was a co-chair of the Univeristy’s Initiative on Ethics in Public Life. Mr. Krislov has also served as Deputy Solicitor for National Operations at the U.S. Department of Labor and an Associate Counsel to the President in the White House Counsel’s Office. He is a graduate of Yale University and a Rhodes Scholar. He was awarded a master’s degree from Oxford and his Juris Doctor from Yale.