WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 8, 2015) — President Barack Obama on Friday announced his intent to appoint three new members of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
The White House Office of the Press Secretary announced the three appointees as Jacob James Fitisemanu, Jr., Sanjita Pradhan, and Paul Y. Watanabe.
“These men and women bring extraordinary dedication to their roles and will serve the American people well,” Obama stated. “I look forward to working with them.”
Fitisemanu is the Outreach Coordinator in the Office of Health Disparities at the Utah Department of Health, a position he has held since 2011.
Since 2006, Mr. Fitisemanu has also been a Program Specialist for the Queen Center – Pacific Islander Ethnic Tobacco Prevention Network. He currently serves on several boards, including the Mana Academy Charter School Board of Directors, Census Bureau’s National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic and Other Populations, and the Intermountain Healthcare Community Advisory Board. From 2011 to 2014, he served as Chair of the Utah Pacific Islander Health Coalition Week and Founder and Director of the Samonana Integrated Language Initiative. He served as Co-Director the Pacific Islander Medical Student Association from 2007 to 2014. Mr. Fitisemanu received a B.S. and M.P.H from Westminster College.
Pradhan is the Executive Officer of the Office of Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs at the Iowa Department of Human Rights, a position she has held since 2013.
From 2010 to 2013, Ms. Pradhan served as Resettlement Director at Catholic Charities of Des Moines, Iowa. She was previously the Employment Coordinator of Lutheran Services of Iowa’s Refugee Cooperative Services from 2009 to 2010. From 2007 to 2008, Ms. Pradhan was Marketing Coordinator at Principal Financial Group. She has served on numerous volunteer and community organizations, including as Commissioner of the West Des Moines Human Rights Commission and as a Member of the Greater Des Moines Partnership’s Diversity and Inclusion Council.
Ms. Pradhan also serves on the Advisory Board for the Ethnic Minorities of Burma Advocacy and Resource Center. She received a B.A. from the Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science in Nepal and an M.B.A. from the Indian Institute of Technology.
Dr. Paul Y. Watanabe is currently Director of the Institute for Asian American Studies, a position he has held since 2003. Concurrently, he serves as an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts Boston, a position he has held since 1985. His focus areas include American foreign policy, American political behavior, ethnic group politics, and Asian Americans.
Since 2012, Dr. Watanabe has served as Chair of the Census Bureau’s National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic and Other Populations. He has also been President of the Board of Directors of the Nisei Student Relocation Commemorative Fund since 2012, and a member of the Board of Directors of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts since 2009.
Dr. Watanabe has been a Member of the Advisory Board of the New Americans Integration Institute since 2011 and a Member of the Board of Trustees of the Harry H. Dow Memorial Legal Assistance Fund since 2013. Previously, he served as a member of the American Political Science Association’s Status of Asian-Pacific Americans in the Profession Committee from 2010 to 2013. Dr. Watanabe received a B.S. from the University of Utah and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University.