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Humphrey School Dean Eric Schwartz to serve on religious freedom commission

President Obama has nominated Eric Schwartz, dean of the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs, to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, which monitors freedom of religion around the world.

University officials said Schwartz isn't able to comment about the nomination yet, because paperwork for the appointment isn't finalized, but the position will require monthly commission meetings in Washington.

Schwartz's international experience makes him a good fit for the commission, according to the university:

  • He worked for the National Security Council under the Clinton Administration when the USCIRF was established.
  • As senior director and special assistant to the president  for multilateral and humanitarian affairs, he managed responses on international humanitarianism, human rights and United Nations affairs.
  • After eight years at the National Security Council, he was the second-ranking official at the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva.
  • He worked as Washington director of the Asia Division of Human Rights Watch during the late '80s.
  • In 2009, he was U.S. assistant secretary of state for population, refugees, and migration.

University President Eric Kaler said in a statement:

"President Obama’s nomination recognizes Dean Schwartz’s remarkable contributions to critical issues of human rights and peace keeping. This honor also speaks to the core mission and values of the University of Minnesota and the Humphrey School, and that is a commitment to develop and educate the next generation of global leaders."

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