The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
March 24, 2003

Statement by the Press Secretary

National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice announced today the appointment of Ambassador Shirin R. Tahir-Kheli as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Democracy, Human Rights and International Operations, effective March 24, 2003. Ambassador Tahir-Kheli succeeds Tony Banbury who departed on March 14, 2003.

Ambassador Tahir-Kheli most recently was a Research Professor at Johns Hopkins University Foreign Policy Institute, School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, where she was the founding Director of the South Asia Program at the Foreign Policy Institute. Ambassador Tahir-Kheli was appointed Alternate United States Representative to the United Nations for Special Political Affairs serving from 1990 to 1993. Ambassador Tahir-Kheli also served as Director of Political Military Affairs and then as Director of Near East and South Asian Affairs from 1984 to 1989 with the National Security Council staff. From 1982 to 1984, Ambassador Tahir-Kheli was a member of the Policy Planning Staff at the Department of State.

During her career of service, Ambassador Tahir-Kheli was Head of the United States Delegation to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in 2001; she was appointed by President Bush to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom; and she served on the Presidential Commission on Public Service from 1992 to 1993.

Ambassador Tahir-Kheli has an M.A. and a Ph.D. in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. from Ohio Wesleyan University. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

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