After a two-year vacancy, President Barack Obama has finally appointed an ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom.
Dr. Suzan Johnson Cook was sworn in Monday by Undersecretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero.
Cook was nominated for the post by President Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on April 14.
As ambassador, she will advise the president and secretary of state on efforts to promote religious liberty abroad. She will head the Office of International Religious Freedom in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, as well as oversee the production of the annual report on religious persecution.
Prior to being appointed as ambassador, Cook was the founder and president of Wisdom Women Worldwide Center.
She retired in 2009 as senior pastor of the Bronx Christian Fellowship Baptist Church in New York City. She also served as the pastor of the historic Mariners' Temple Baptist Church, which is the oldest church site in Manhattan.
The ambassador-at-large position was created in 1998 by the International Religious Freedom Act.