The Catholic University of America

Dec. 3, 2013 

CUA Institute Appoints Former Ambassador as Fellow

  Suzan Johnson Cook and Stephen Schneck

The Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies (IPR) of The Catholic University of America announced today that Suzan Johnson Cook, former United States Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, will serve a one-year appointment as a distinguished visiting fellow at IPR.

The announcement was made at a press conference held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Appointed by President of the United States Barack Obama, Johnson Cook was the principal adviser to both President Obama and the Secretary of State for religious freedom globally. She was the first African-American and the first female to hold this position.

She was the third ambassador at large since its creation under the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act, and represented the United States’ concerns for religious freedom in more than 25 countries and more than 100 diplomatic engagements, integrating religious freedom into the United States’ foreign policy and national security priorities.

“The institute is very excited about the appointment of Ambassador Johnson Cook,” said Stephen Schneck, director of IPR and associate professor of politics. “Her work on the frontlines of our country’s efforts to promote religious liberty around the world has been inspiring to all. We look forward to her work with the institute on human rights and religious liberty.” (To view Schneck's remarks from the press conference, click here.)

Johnson Cook is a Baptist minister who previously advised President of the United States Bill Clinton as a White House fellow on the Domestic Policy Council, worked on faith-based issues with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and founded the Wisdom Women Worldwide Center for female faith leaders.

IPR is an academic think tank that considers issues of contemporary policy from the perspective of the Roman Catholic Church’s moral and social teachings. In October, the institute announced the appointment of Chinese human rights activist Chen Guangcheng as a distinguished visiting fellow.

For more information about IPR, visit




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