Odia daughter-in-law nominated for key post in US state dept
Bhubaneswar: Odisha has reasons to be happy over the nomination of an Odia daughter-in-law in the US state department. Nisha Desai Biswal, who is married to Subrat Biswal of Odisha, has been nominated by President Barack Obama to head the South Asia bureau in the US state department.
Prior to the development, Biswal served as the USAID's Assistant Administrator for Asia. However, after the confirmation by the Senate, she will be the first Indian or even South Asian origin to head such prestigious department which oversees US foreign policy and relations with the South Asian countries including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Maldives and Bhutan. Her nomination is remarkable as the bureau earlier had always been headed by the American diplomats.
According to the White House announcement, Obama intended to nominate her as assistant secretary of state for "South Asian Affairs," although in the State Department it is formally known as "Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs" dealing also with the five Central Asian "stans" – Kazakhstan, Kirghiztan, Tajkistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistans. The South Asia bureau itself was originally carved out from what was the Nearest Eastern and South Asian Affairs bureau, with the Central Asian countries added to it some years back.
Holding a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Virginia, Desai Biswal started her professional career in Washington DC with the American Red Cross. Later, she joined the USAID. She held an important position as Majority Clerk for the State Department and Foreign Operations Subcommittee on the Committee on Appropriations in the US for five years from 2005 to 2010.