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Obama nominates gay ambassadors to Spain, Denmark
From a press release
2013-06-14

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WASHINGTON — Today the White House announced the nominations of James Costos, an accomplished businessman and current executive at HBO, as the United States Ambassador to Spain, and Rufus Gifford, a former finance official for the Presidential Inaugural Committee, Obama for America, and the Democratic National Committee, as the United States Ambassador to Denmark.

Last week, President Obama also nominated Daniel Baer, the openly-gay Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, to be Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

If all three are confirmed, they would become the fourth, fifth, and sixth openly-LGBT people to serve as a U.S. Ambassador. Spain and Denmark are two of the 13 countries in the world that have marriage equality.

Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Chad Griffin issued the following statements:

"Ambassador-designate James Costos is a true citizen of the world. He has incredible global business experience and is a respected and innovative leader. He has solid business and political relationships at the highest levels and a proven commitment to community, philanthropy, human rights, and democracy that make him an outstanding choice to be the nation's next Ambassador to Spain."

"Rufus Gifford is a terrific choice to represent our country in Denmark. His demonstrated leadership and unwavering commitment to democracy and human rights will serve him well as he represents America's interests abroad. I urge the Senate to confirm his nomination."

THE WHITE HOUSE, Office of the Press Secretary

FROM A PRESS RELEASE, June 14, 2013

President Obama announces more key administration posts

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, President Obama announces his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts:

-Liliana Ayalde — Ambassador to the Federative Republic of Brazil, Department of State

-James Costos — Ambassador to Spain, Department of State

-John B. Emerson — Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany, Department of State

-Rufus Gifford — Ambassador to Denmark, Department of State

-Ken Hackett — Ambassador to the Holy See, Department of State

-Patricia Marie Haslach — Ambassador to the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Department of State

President Obama said, "It gives me great confidence that such dedicated and capable individuals have agreed to join this Administration to serve the American people. I look forward to working with them in the months and years to come."

President Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts:

Ambassador Liliana Ayalde, Nominee for Ambassador to the Federative Republic of Brazil, Department of State

Ambassador Liliana Ayalde, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Career-Minister, is Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs. From 2008 to 2011, she served as the U.S. Ambassador to Paraguay. Ambassador Ayalde began her career in the Foreign Service at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), where she served for 24 years. At USAID, she served as Mission Director in Colombia from 2005 to 2008, Mission Director in Bolivia from 1999 to 2005, and as Deputy Mission Director in Nicaragua from 1997 to 1999. Ambassador Ayalde received a B.A. from the School of International Studies at American University and an M.P.H. from the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine at Tulane University.

James Costos, Nominee for Ambassador to Spain, Department of State

James Costos is Vice President of Global Licensing and Retail for Home Box Office (HBO). Before joining HBO in 2006, he was President and CEO of Eight Cylinders, Inc., an entertainment marketing and licensing agency. Previously, from 2002 to 2004, he was head of Promotions and Consumer Products at Revolution Studios in California. He began his career in New York as a fashion and retail executive. From 2001 to 2002, he was Vice President of Retail for Hermes in New York, and from 1991 to 2001, he was Vice President of Retail Operations for Tod's in New York. Mr. Costos currently serves on the Board of Directors of The Humane Society of the United States. He received a B.A. from the University of Massachusetts.

John B. Emerson, Nominee for Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany, Department of State

John B. Emerson is President of Private Client Services for the Capital Group Companies, a global investment management firm. From 1994 to 1997, Mr. Emerson served as Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Affairs at the White House. From 1993 to 1994, he was Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Presidential Personnel at the White House. From 1987 to 1992, he was the Los Angeles Chief Deputy City Attorney. He began his career in 1978 as an attorney with Manatt, Phelps, Rothenberg, and Tunney in Los Angeles. Mr. Emerson is a Member of the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations, a position he has held since his appointment in 2010. He served as Chairman of the LA Mayor's Council on the Arts from 2004 to 2005. Mr. Emerson received an A.B. from Hamilton College and a J.D. from the University of Chicago.

Rufus Gifford, Nominee for Ambassador to Denmark, Department of State

Rufus Gifford most recently served as Finance Chair of the Presidential Inaugural Committee. He served as Finance Director for Obama for America from 2011 to 2012, and as Finance Director for the Democratic National Committee from 2009 to 2011. From 2008 to 2009, he was the California Finance Director for the Presidential Inaugural Committee, after working as a political consultant in California from 2004 to 2008. From 1998 to 2004, Mr. Gifford was Creative Executive for Davis Entertainment, an independent film company based in Los Angeles. He is currently a Federal Club Member of the Human Rights Campaign and a Partner in Conservation for the World Wildlife Fund. He received a B.A. from Brown University.

Ken Hackett, Nominee for Ambassador to the Holy See, Department of State

Ken Hackett is a consultant to the University of Notre Dame's Institute for Global Development. In 2012, after 40 years of service, he retired from the Catholic Relief Services (CRS), where he was the President and CEO from 1993 to 2012. Prior to serving as President and CEO, Mr. Hackett was East African Regional Director from 1992 to 1993. From 1987 to 1992, he served as the Country Representative in the Philippines. From 1986 to 1987, he was Senior Director of External Affairs, and from 1978 to 1985, he was the African Regional Director. He began his career with CRS in 1972 as a staff member in Sierra Leone. In addition to working at CRS, Mr. Hackett was North American Vice President of Caritas Internationalis from 1996 to 2004. From 1996 to 2011, he served as a member of the Pontifical Commission, Cor Unum, the Vatican body that coordinates the Church's charitable work. From 2004 to 2009, he served on the Board of Directors of the Millennium Challenge Corporation. Mr. Hackett served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ghana from 1968 to 1971. He received a B.S. from Boston College.

Ambassador Patricia Marie Haslach, Nominee for Ambassador to the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Department of State

Ambassador Patricia Marie Haslach, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Career-Minister, is Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations. Previously, from 2011 to 2012, she was Iraq Transition Coordinator in the Office of the Deputy Secretary for Management and Resources. From 2010 to 2011, she was Deputy Coordinator for Global Hunger and Food Security, and from 2009 to 2010, she was Assistant Chief of Mission for Assistance Transition at the U.S. Embassy in Iraq. Ambassador Haslach's additional assignments include: United States Senior Coordinator for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum, with the rank of Ambassador, from 2007 to 2009; Ambassador to Laos from 2004 to 2007; Director of the Office for Afghanistan at the Department of State from 2002 to 2004; and Economic Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan from 2000 to 2002. Ambassador Haslach began her career with the federal government in the Foreign Agriculture Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. She received a B.A. from Gonzaga University and an M.I.A. from Columbia University.


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