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Popular Topics in Literature
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Congratulations to John Berry and James "Wally" Brewster, Jr.
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 06/22/13
Last updated on: 06/22/13
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Congratulations to John Berry (pictured) and James "Wally" Brewster, Jr., who have been nominated U.S. Ambassadors by President Obama, Berry to Australia and Brewster to the Dominican Republic. If confirmed, they will be the sixth and seventh openly gay U. S. Ambassadors and the fourth and fifth named by President Obama.

On John 21, 2013 President Obama announced that he had nominated John Berry to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Australia. Berry served as the Director of the Office of Personnel Management from April 2009 to April 2013. Previously, he was the Director of the Smithsonian National Zoological Park from 2005 to 2009, and the Executive Director of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation from 2000 to 2005.

Before then, Berry served as Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management, and Budget at the Department of the Interior and as Director of Government Relations and Senior Policy Advisor at the Smithsonian Institution.

Berry holds a B.A. from the University of Maryland, College Park and an M.P.A. from Syracuse University. If confirmed, he will be the first openly gay U.S. Ambassador to a G-20 country.

On June 22, 2013, President Obama nominated James "Wally" Brewster, Jr. as Ambassador to the Dominican Republic.

Brewster is the Senior Managing Partner for SB&K Global, a brand strategy and consumer dynamics consulting firm based in Chicago, Illinois. Before starting SB&K Global in 2010, he was an Officer and Senior Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Communications with General Growth Properties (GGP), a real estate investment trust headquartered in Chicago. Prior to joining GGP in 1996, he worked in management at several real estate companies in Texas.

Brewster is a National LGBT Co-Chair for the Democratic National Committee and currently serves on the Board of the Human Rights Campaign Fund.

The choice of Brewster as Ambassador to the Dominican Republic is especially interesting inasmuch as the country criminalizes homosexuality and constitutionally bans same-sex marriage.

If confirmed, Brewster will be the first openly gay U.S. Ambassador in the Caribbean.

President Obama recently nominated three other openly gay men as U.S. Ambassadors. HBO executive James Costos was tapped to represent the United States as Ambassador to Spain; Democratic Party fundraiser Rufus Gifford was nominated to serve as Ambassador to Denmark; and Daniel Baer was chosen as U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Three other openly gay men have served as U.S. Ambassadors: James C. Hormel, who was appointed Ambassador to Luxembourg by President Bill Clinton in 1999 in a "recess appointment" after the Senate refused to act on his 1997 nomination; Michael E. Guest, who was appointed Ambassador to Romania by President George W. Bush in 2001; and David Huebner, who was appointed Ambassador to New Zealand by President Obama in 2009 and continues to serve in that capacity.

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