Evangelist Sworn in as New Ambassador for Religious Freedom

By Jamie Crawford, CNN National Security Producer

Washington (CNN)– Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hailed a "leader in bridging faith and public service" Thursday as she swore in Dr. Suzan Johnson Cook as ambassador at-large for international religious freedom.

In her role, Cook will serve as a principal adviser on religious freedom to President Barack Obama and Clinton, as well as head the Office of International Religious Freedom in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor at the State Department.

The office seeks to shine a light on everything from authoritarian regimes that impede freedom of worship for their citizens to violent extremists who work to exploit sectarian tensions.

"The Obama administration is dedicated to the rights of all people everywhere. Everyone, no matter his or her religion, should be allowed to practice their beliefs freely and safely," Clinton said before administering the oath to Cook at a ceremony in the Benjamin Franklin Room at the State Department.

Cook, a Baptist minister from New York, is the founder and president of the Wisdom Women Worldwide Center.

She has spoken and led delegations throughout the United States, Africa and the Caribbean, in addition to being a founder and board member of a youth enrichment program in New York.

In addition to serving as chaplain to the New York Police Department, Cook also served as an adviser on the Domestic Policy Council, and the President's Initiative on Race during the Clinton administration.


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