News in Brief: A Washington Roundup
Agency's Voice on Hill Confirmed by Senate
A former public affairs specialist has been sworn in as the Department of Education's liaison to Congress.
Karen A. Johnson was confirmed by the Senate May 23 as the assistant secretary for legislation and congressional affairs. She had been working at the department as a consultant since Dec. 2 of last year, said agency spokesman Dan Langan.
Before joining the Education Department, Ms. Johnson was the vice president of social marketing and public affairs at Porter Novelli, an international public relations firm. While working out of the company's Washington office, Ms. Johnson provided strategic public affairs and communications counsel for nonprofit and foundation clients.
She also served as assistant convention manager for public liaison at the Republican National Convention in 2000, and was a fellow at the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School for Communication.
Ms. Johnson replaces the interim assistant secretary, A. Clayton Boothby III, who had filled in since presidential appointee Rebecca O. Campoverde left the post last June.
—Michelle R. Davis
U.S. Colleges Sought To Aid Iraq Higher Ed.
The U.S. Agency for International Development has announced it is accepting applications for a federal grants program to "invigorate and modernize" Iraqi's institutions of higher education through partnerships with U.S. colleges and universities.
In a May 30 announcement, the USAID said it would select up to six U.S. colleges, universities, or higher education consortia to help Iraqi institutions by providing technical assistance, oversight, and money for materials. The one-year program, which could be extended for two additional years, will receive between $20 million and $30 million in federal funding.
A USAID press release said the planned higher education program is expected to focus on helping Iraqi institutions replace out-of-date equipment and improve educational facilities and libraries. And the program will foster various kinds of partnerships that support intellectual diversity and growth, among other activities.
According to the press release, the higher education program will complement the USAID's program to revitalize primary and secondary education in Iraq. ("U.S.-Led Effort Girds to Reinvent Iraqi Schools," April 23, 2003, and "Religious Study Confronts U.S. in Iraq," this issue.)
—Mary Ann Zehr
Vol. 22, Issue 40, Page 20