Obama nominates two Indian American women to key posts

Chicagoan Deepa Gupta was nominated as member of National Council on the Arts, while Nisha Desai Biswal has been named as member, Congressional-Executive Commission on the People's Republic of China, it said.

The release also announced nomination of seven others to key administration posts. "I am grateful these accomplished men and women have agreed to join this Administration, and I'm confident they will serve ably in these important roles. I look forward to working with them in the coming months and years," Obama said in a statement.

Gupta is a Program Officer for Media, Culture and Special Initiatives at the John D and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation in Chicago. In this role, she manages the Foundation's grant making in arts and culture in Chicago and the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions.

Gupta, earned her MBA from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University and an MPA from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, previously served as a senior associate at McKinsey and Company.

Gupta is a board member of the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois and an advisory board member of the Cure JM Foundation. Nisha Desai Biswal currently serves as Assistant Administrator for Asia at the US Agency for International Development (USAID), which she would continue to hold, the statement said.

Prior to this position, Biswal served as the Majority Clerk for the State Department and Foreign Operations Sub-committee on the Committee on Appropriations in the US House of Representatives which has jurisdiction over the State Department, USAID and other aspects of the international affairs budget.

Biswal provided staff support to Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey and Sub-committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey in managing the appropriations and oversight of the US international affairs budget. She was the Director of Policy and Advocacy at Inter Action, the largest alliance of US based international humanitarian and development NGOs.

Biswal previously served on the professional staff of the House International Relations Committee, where she was responsible for South and Central Asia policy as well as oversight of the State Department and USAID.

The Indian American worked at the US Agency for International Development where she served as Special Assistant to the Administrator. During her four years at USAID, Biswal also worked in the Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance, the Office of Transition Initiatives, and served as chief of staff in the Management Bureau.

She has also worked with the American Red Cross both in their Washington headquarters and overseas as an international delegate in Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan.

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