President Obama picks three Indian-Americans for a high-level advisory body

Barack Obama

The White House has announced its ‘intent to appoint’ three Indian-Americans to the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

“I am confident that these outstanding men and women will serve the American people well, and I look forward to working with them,” President Barack Obama said in a statement yesterday.

Preeta Singh
Preeta D Singh

Preeta Bansal, Jasjit Singh and Nipun Mehta were among the 17 appointees to the Council which seeks to bring together religious and secular leaders as well as scholars and experts in fields related to the work of faith-based and neighborhood organizations, the press release stated. The Member of the high-level body will be tasked to advise the American government on the steps it should take to reduce poverty and inequality and create opportunity for all.

Preeta Bansal is perhaps by far the most distinguished of the three Indian-origin personalities headhunted by the Obama administration. Her distinguished legal career has seen her serve in positions like HSBC’s General Counsel for Litigation and Regulatory Affairs as well as General Counsel and Senior Policy Advisor for the Office of Management and Budget.

“Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Bansal was a Partner and Head of the Appellate Litigation Practice at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom LLP in New York City. She also served as the Solicitor General of the State of New York from 1999-2001, where she helped supervise 600 attorneys in the New York Attorney General’s office,” reads the introduction Ms Bansal in the website of Administrative Conference of the United States.

Jasjit Singh
Jasjit Singh (Picture: SALDEF)

The Executive Director of the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Jasjit Singh, is another Indian-origin appointee to the Council. Mr Singh previously worked for Deloitte & Touche as a Senior Consultant from 2007 to 2009 and as a Consultant from 2004 to 2007.

“He also founded the Sikh Student Association at the University of Illinois, and served as its President from 2000 to 2002.  Mr. Singh received a B.S. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.”

Nipun Mehta
Nipun Mehta (

Nipun Mehta, another Appointee for Member to the Council, is the founder of non-profit organization ServiceSpace.  According to the White House, he was a software engineer at Sun Microsystems from 1998 to 2001. A renowned personality in the sphere of philanthropy, Mr Mehta received the Jefferson Award for Public Service and the President’s Volunteer Service Award.

A qualitative and quantitative increase in their population has resulted in the appointment of a number of South Asians to senior US government positions.

In May, President Obama named Sanjita Pradhan, a young Nepalese-origin MBA from the Indian Institute of Technology as a Member of President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI).

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