US Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Suzan Johnson Cook is expected to resign this week. There’s been a lot of speculation about who her successor may be, and how recent changes in the human-rights world and the DC bureaucracy may impact the future of her job. But first, a bit of background.
Johnson Cook was nominated in June 2010 after the position sat vacant for a year and a half, and was not confirmed until April 2011. She was a domestic advisor in the Clinton White House, and is well-connected among religious Democrats, but her international experience prior to her appointment was minimal. When President Obama nominated her to the position after allowing the State Department’s International Religious Freedom office (the “IRF office”) to work without a leader for so long, many members of the religious freedom policy community questioned his seriousness about the issue.