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Obama To Nominate Two U.S. Ambassadors To The Caribbean

CaribWorldNews, WASHINGTON, D.C., Fri. June 5, 2009: The Obama administration on Thursday announced its intention to nominate two U.S. ambassadors to the Caribbean nations of Haiti and the Bahamas.

The two tipped to be named to the post are Nicole A. Avant, who is the nominee for ambassador to the Bahamas and Kenneth H. Merten, ambassador designate to Haiti.

Avant , 41, currently serves as vice president of Interior Music and Avant Garde Music Publishing. She is a business woman, philanthropist and activist, she has been recognized for her tireless efforts to mobilize the younger generation towards greater charitable and political involvement. Avant is the eldest child of Clarence Avant and his wife, Jacqueline, and the sister of Alexander Avant. Her father  is a music industry executive who served as chairman of Motown Records and as a board member with PolyGram

Avant has acted in a small number of television shows, including the FOX series JAG, however she is best known for her political support for the Democratic Party, an interest she shares with her father. During the campaign for the Democratic Party nomination and subsequent 2008 Presidental election, Avant was the Southern California Finance Co-Chair of the Barack Obama presidential campaign.

In addition to her work for Barack Obama’s campaign, Avant has been involved with fundraising for Al Gore and serves as a board member with The Bogart Pediatric Cancer Research Program.

Merten currently serves as deputy executive secretary at the Department of State.  A career Foreign Service Officer, he joined the Foreign Service in 1987.  His previous overseas diplomatic assignments include Economic Counselor in Paris, France, Economic Section Chief, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Economic Officer at the U.S. Mission to the European Union, in Brussels, Belgium, Economic Officer in Bonn, Germany and Vice Consul in Port-au-Prince. 

Merten`s Washington assignments include two tours in the State Department Operations Center and service in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs and on the Cuba Desk, as well as a year as special assistant to the Special Advisors on Haiti. 

He holds a B.A. from Miami University in Ohio, and a Masters in Public Administration from American University.  Studies at the Université d`Aix-Marseille in France and at Karl Franzens Universität in Austria complement his other academic work. 

`I am grateful that these individuals will help represent our nation abroad during this important time for our country and the world. They bring a depth of experience and I look forward to working with them in the months and years to come,` said the President.

Also set to be named as ambassadors so far are Carlos Pascual for Mexico; David Jacobson, to Canada, Brigadier General James B. Smith to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Donald Gips to the Republic of South Africa, Patricia N. Moller, to the Republic of Guinea and Anne E. Derse to the Republic of Lithuania.