President Biden Announces Key Nominees
WASHINGTON – Today, President Biden announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to serve as key leaders in his administration:
- Richard Lee Buangan, Nominee for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Mongolia
- Rachna Sachdeva Korhonen, Nominee for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Mali
- Rebecca Haffajee, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, Department of Health and Human Services
- Jaime Areizaga-Soto, Nominee for Chair of the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, Department of Veterans Affairs
Richard Lee Buangan, Nominee for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Mongolia
Richard Lee Buangan, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor, currently serves as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Global Public Affairs at the State Department. Prior to that, Buangan served as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, and as the Executive Assistant to the Secretary of State. Earlier in his career, Buangan was assigned as Managing Director for International Media in the Bureau of Public Affairs, as the Public Affairs Officer of the then-U.S. Consulate General, Jerusalem, and as Deputy Press Attaché and then as Embassy Spokesperson of the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, China. Buangan also served as a staff officer in the Executive Secretariat of the Department of State, and held overseas assignments in Paris, France and Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
Buangan earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Saint Edward’s University, Austin, Texas. He is the recipient of multiple performance awards from the State Department. He speaks Mandarin Chinese, French, and Spanish.
Rachna Sachdeva Korhonen, Nominee for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Mali
Rachna Korhonen is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Counselor. She currently serves as a Deputy Assistant Secretary and the Executive Director of the combined Executive Offices of the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs and the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs. Previously, Korhonen was the Consul General and Principal Officer of the U.S. Consulate in Dharan, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. She also led the Management Section of the U.S. Embassy in Colombo, Sri Lanka and, in Washington, served as a Special Assistant to the Under Secretary for Management. Among her other assignments, Korhonen was the Supervisory General Services Officer and Senior Human Resources Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and the Political Chief of the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Kirkuk, Iraq. She also had assignments at the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait and at the U.S. Consulate General in Mumbai, India.
Korhonen earned her B.S. from Empire State College. She speaks Hindi, French, Finnish, and Arabic.
Rebecca Haffajee, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, Department of Health and Human Services
Rebecca Haffajee was appointed as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at the Department of Health and Human Services and has been serving as the Acting Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation since March 2021. Before joining the federal government, Haffajee was a policy researcher at the RAND Corporation, and an assistant professor of health management and policy at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. Prior to these roles, Haffajee practiced health care law at Ropes & Gray LLP, where she advised domestic health care providers on regulatory compliance and reimbursement matters, and she was a law fellow at the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University. Haffajee’s work combines detailed legal analyses with empirical investigations of the relationships between policy and health. Her main research interests are behavioral health, drug policy, health equity, and public health law and policy. Her work has been covered by major news media outlets and published in health journals, including in the New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of the American Medical Association, Annals of Internal Medicine, and Health Affairs.
Haffajee received her Ph.D. in Health Policy (concentrating in evaluative sciences and statistics) from Harvard University, J.D. from Harvard Law School, and M.P.H. from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She attended Duke University for her undergraduate degree. She grew up in Massachusetts, where she now lives with her husband and two children.
Jaime Areizaga-Soto, Nominee for Chair of the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, Department of Veterans Affairs
Jaime Areizaga-Soto, an attorney, public servant, and Army JAG Brigadier General, is currently mobilized to active duty as the Principal Deputy General Counsel of the National Guard Bureau (NGB), a joint activity of the Department of Defense (DOD). In that role, he works closely with the General Counsel in advising the senior leadership of NGB, in leading an office of over 100 attorneys, and in coordinating among the Air Force, the Army, and the 54 National Guards. From 2014 until earlier this year, Areizaga-Soto served as the Deputy Secretary for Veterans and Defense Affairs of Virginia, where he advised Governors McAuliffe and Northam on matters related to the 730,000 Virginia veterans and military families, and in ensuring an excellent relationship with DOD’s thirty large installations across the Commonwealth.
Areizaga-Soto practiced international law for twelve years, focusing on cross-border infrastructure project finance. He served as a White House Fellow assigned to the Treasury Department, and as the Senior Attorney Advisor at USAID’s Office of the General Counsel. Areizaga-Soto grew up in Puerto Rico and graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. He holds a law degree from Stanford Law School, a Masters in Latin American Studies from Stanford University, a Masters in Security and Defense from the Inter-American Defense College in Ft. McNair, and a Mágister from the National Academy of Political and Strategic Studies (ANEPE) of Chile. He is a member of the Virginia, District of Columbia, New York, Maryland, and U.S. Supreme Court Bars; is fluent in Spanish, Portuguese, and French; and has basic knowledge of Italian.