Yesterday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presided over the swearing-in ceremony for our new Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, Dr. Suzan Johnson Cook. Ambassador Johnson Cook has had a distinguished career working for religious freedom that she will bring to bear in her new role as our Nation’s advocate for religious liberty around the globe.
The issue of religious freedom is an important one for this Administration. Last month, the President spoke to this integral issue: “Such tolerance is particularly important when it comes to religion. In Tahrir Square, we heard Egyptians from all walks of life chant, ‘Muslims, Christians, we are one.’ America will work to see that this spirit prevails -– that all faiths are respected, and that bridges are built among them. In a region that was the birthplace of three world religions, intolerance can lead only to suffering and stagnation. And for this season of change to succeed, Coptic Christians must have the right to worship freely in Cairo, just as Shia must never have their mosques destroyed in Bahrain.”
As the chief spokesperson for Religious Freedom at the State Department, Ambassador Johnson Cook will have an integral role in implementing the President’s policies throughout the world. She will also be a key advisor to President Obama and Secretary Clinton regarding matters of religious freedom. I am excited to work with Ambassador Johnson Cook as we promote opportunities to increase interfaith dialogue and cooperation, and Americans can be proud that we have such a bold, stalwart advocate for religious freedom advancing our ideals abroad.
Joshua DuBois serves as Special Assistant to the President and Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.