President Biden Announces Key Nominees
WASHINGTON – Today, President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to serve as key leaders in his administration:
- Nisha Desai Biswal, Nominee for Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the United States International Development Finance Corporation
- James J. Blanchard, Nominee for Member of the United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy
- Fara Damelin, Nominee for Inspector General of the Federal Communications Commission
- Joel Ehrendreich, Nominee for Nominee for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Palau
- Kara C. McDonald, Nominee for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Lithuania
- John J. Sullivan, Nominee for Member of the United States Institute of Peace Board of Directors
- Loren Sweatt, Nominee for Member of the National Mediation Board
Nisha Desai Biswal, Nominee for Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the United States International Development Finance Corporation
Nisha Desai Biswal brings over 30 years of experience in U.S. foreign policy and international development programs within the Executive Branch, Congress, and the private sector. Biswal is the Senior Vice President for International Strategy and Global Initiatives at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, overseeing the U.S. India Business Council and U.S. Bangladesh Business Council. Biswal served as Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs at the U.S. Department of State from 2013 to 2017, where she oversaw the U.S.-India strategic partnership during a period of unprecedented cooperation, including the launch of an annual U.S.-India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue. Biswal also initiated the C5+1 Dialogue with Central Asia and the U.S.-Bangladesh Partnership Dialogue during her tenure as Assistant Secretary. Prior to that, Biswal was Assistant Administrator for Asia at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), directing and supervising USAID programs and operations across South, Central, and Southeast Asia. She has also spent over a decade on Capitol Hill, working as Staff Director on the State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee on Appropriations as well as professional staff on the Foreign Affairs Committee in the House of Representatives.
Biswal serves as the Chair of the Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid and is on both the Board of the National Democratic Institute and the U.S. Institute of Peace International Advisory Council. She is a member of the United States Institute of Peace Afghanistan Study Group and the Aspen Institute’s India-U.S. Track 2 Dialogue on Climate and Energy. Biswal is a proud graduate of the University of Virginia, where she studied International Relations and Economics.
James J. Blanchard, Nominee for Member of the United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy
James J. Blanchard has devoted his life to public service and the law. Currently, he is Senior Counsel at the global law firm of DLA Piper and is active with numerous diplomatic and non-profit organizations. Following his service as a Member of Congress, Blanchard served as Governor of Michigan, and later as U.S. Ambassador to Canada. In recognition of his outstanding service, Secretary of State Warren Christopher presented Blanchard with the Foreign Affairs Award for Public Service. In 1998, Blanchard authored ‘Behind the Embassy Door,’ a book highlighting his experiences as Ambassador. Blanchard remains active in U.S.-Canada relations and diplomatic affairs generally. He is Co-Chair of the Ambassadors Circle of the National Democratic Institute and Co-Chair of the executive committee of the Canada-U.S. Law Institute. He chaired the Board and remains active with the Meridian International Center, the leading public diplomacy center in Washington, D.C. A lover of history, Blanchard serves as President of the National Archives Foundation and is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Spy Museum. He and his wife Janet reside in Beverly Hills, Michigan. Blanchard received his B.A. and M.B.A. from Michigan State University (MSU) and his J.D. from the University of Minnesota. In 2015, he and his wife founded the Blanchard Public Service Forum at MSU, which provides opportunities for the MSU community to see, hear, and learn from national as well as international leaders, diplomats, and writers.
Fara Damelin, Nominee for Inspector General of the Federal Communications Commission
Fara Damelin serves as Chief of Staff for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General (OIG), a nationwide organization with over 500 oversight professionals dedicated to protecting HUD’s programs and beneficiaries from fraud, waste, and abuse. She leads a cross functional team in executing the Inspector General’s (IG) priorities and strategic initiatives, developing OIG-wide oversight products, and implementing diversity, employee engagement, and professional development programs. Before joining HUD OIG, Damelin was Deputy Inspector General for AmeriCorps’ OIG, where she was responsible for overseeing the daily operations of the office, developing and implementing strategies to meet the IG’s priorities and goals, and serving as Whistleblower Protection Coordinator.
Previously, Damelin spent 14 years with the National Science Foundation (NSF) OIG as Investigative Attorney and subsequently Director of its Office of Investigations Legal Division. She conducted criminal, civil and administrative investigations involving fraud and research misconduct related to NSF grants, served as Special Assistant U.S. Attorney to help prosecute a criminal grant fraud case, and provided outreach to protect NSF programs and beneficiaries. Damelin has actively participated in cross-cutting initiatives and professional development programs sponsored by the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) and was recognized with four CIGIE Awards for Excellence. She began her federal career in 1995 as an employment attorney with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of General Counsel. She earned a J.D. from George Washington University Law School in 1994 and a B.A. in Political Science from SUNY Binghamton in 1991. Damelin lives in Virginia with her husband and is the proud mom of their two daughters.
Joel Ehrendreich, Nominee for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Palau
Joel Ehrendreich, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service with the rank of Counselor, currently serves as Director of the Office of Japanese Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. Previously, he served as Director of Regional and Security Policy in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs. Prior to that, he was Senior Operations Officer in the Bureau of Legislative Affairs, a Foreign Policy Advisor to the Commandant of the Marine Corps, a Consul General at the U.S. Consulate General in Okinawa, Japan, an Economic Counselor at U.S. Embassy in Manila, the Philippines, and an Economic and Political Counselor at U.S. Embassy in Singapore. Earlier assignments include service at U.S. Embassies in New Delhi, India, Tokyo, Japan, Sydney, Australia, and the West African nation of Togo. Ehrendreich also served in the White House Situation Room as a Senior Duty Officer. Earlier in his career, he served in the Peace Corps in Niger. A native of Nebraska, Ehrendreich graduated from Drake University with a B.A. in Business Administration. He speaks French and Japanese.
Kara C. McDonald, Nominee for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Lithuania
Kara C. McDonald, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Counselor, currently serves as a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. From January 2021 to April 2022, she was designated to serve concurrently as the Senior Official to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism for the Office of the Special Envoy. Previously, she was U.S. Consul General Strasbourg and Deputy Permanent Observer to the Council of Europe. She has also served as Deputy Chief of Mission in Chisinau, Moldova, Director of Policy, Planning, and Coordination in the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Bureau, Deputy Special Coordinator for Haiti, Director for United Nations and International Operations at the National Security Council, Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, and the Czech Republic desk. McDonald was also an International Affairs Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Her other overseas assignments include U.S. Embassies in Bucharest and Port-au-Prince. Prior to joining the U.S. Department of State, McDonald was a Presidential Management Fellow at the U.S. Agency for International Development. Raised in Michigan, she holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Michigan, and a Master of Arts degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. She speaks French, Romanian, and Russian.
John J. Sullivan, Nominee for Member of the United States Institute of Peace Board of Directors
John J. Sullivan is a partner in the law firm Mayer Brown L.L.P. and a Distinguished Fellow at the School of Foreign Service of Georgetown University. His career spans four decades in public service in prominent diplomatic and legal positions under five Presidents as well as in private law practice. Most recently, he was the U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation from December 2019 to October 2022. Prior to his post in Moscow, Sullivan served for almost three years as the Deputy Secretary of State. In private practice at Mayer Brown, Sullivan has been a member of the Supreme Court and Appellate practice and was a Co-Founder of the National Security practice. During the Obama-Biden Administration, he was appointed Chair of the U.S.-Iraq Business Dialogue, a government advisory committee of business leaders on US commercial relations with Iraq. Previously, Sullivan held senior positions in the Departments of Justice, Defense, and Commerce in two prior administrations. Until January 2009, he was the Deputy Secretary of Commerce under President George W. Bush, following his service as the General Counsel of the department. In President Bush’s first term, he was appointed Deputy General Counsel of the Defense Department by Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. In the George H.W. Bush Administration, he was Counselor to Assistant Attorney General J. Michael Luttig in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel.
Sullivan received his B.A. from Brown University and his law degree from the Columbia University School of Law. Sullivan is a member of the American Academy of Diplomacy and the recipient of numerous honors and awards for his work in foreign affairs, diplomacy, law, and public policy.
Loren Sweatt, Nominee for Member of the National Mediation Board
Loren Sweatt has served in various government roles throughout her professional career. Most recently, Sweatt has been a Senior Professional Staffer with the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions in the United States Senate. Prior to that, Sweatt was the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration at the U.S. Department of Labor. For 15 years, Sweatt served as a Senior Policy Advisor at the Committee on Education and the Workforce in the House of Representatives. Her experience includes all facets of labor policy. Sweatt holds a Bachelor’s from Texas Christian University and a Master’s of Business Administration from Marymount University.