Biden inducts third Pakistani-American into his team

Published March 6, 2021
US President Joe Biden and Lumiata CEO Dilawar Syed. — Photo courtesy India-West
US President Joe Biden and Lumiata CEO Dilawar Syed. — Photo courtesy India-West

WASHINGTON: US President Joe Biden has inducted a third Pakistani-American, Dilawar Syed, into his team, says a White House media statement.

Mr Syed will serve as the deputy administrator of the Small Business Admini­stration (SBA), if confirmed by the US Senate. Confirming his nomination on Twitter, Mr Syed said he was “deeply humbled & honored” and will “put my heart and soul into helping small businesses everywhere” as the “grit of small businesses” made America strong.

On Tuesday, President Joe Biden was forced to withdraw the nomination of Neera Tanden as his budget chief at her request after it became obvious that the Senate would not confirm her.

Mr Syed holds an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and earned a BA in Economics and Computer Science from The University of Texas at Austin. He immigrated to the US from Pakistan as a freshman student to attend The College of Wooster in Ohio, the White House statement said.

Mr Syed currently serves as the president and chief executive officer of Lumiata, a firm that focuses on “reducing healthcare costs and improving patient outcomes”. He was previously the president at Freshworks, scaling the software company’s products to thousands of small and medium-scale businesses.

The White House statement noted that Mr Syed had a history of furthering civic efforts “at the federal, state, and local level focusing on economic growth and entrepreneurship”.

He also served on Pre­sident Obama’s White House Commission on Asian Amer­icans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) and chaired the White House Initiative on AAPIs’ Economic Growth Committee.

President Biden has already taken two Pakistani Americans, Salman Ahmed and Ali Zaidi into his team. Mr Ahmed is a national security and foreign policy adviser who is now the director of policy planning in the Biden administration. Mr Zaidi is a lawyer and political adviser who joined the administration as the first deputy White House National Climate Adviser.

Before joining the Biden administration, Mr Ahmed was chief of staff of the US Mission to the United Nations and senior policy adviser to the US Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

Mr Zaidi, who played a key role in drafting and implementing the Obama administration’s climate action plan, works directly under former Secretary of State John Kerry who is now Mr Biden’s special envoy for climate. He also helped negotiate the Paris Climate Agreement.

President Biden has also inducted two women from the Indian-occupied Kashmir into his team.

Sameera Fazili is the deputy director of the National Economic Council (NEC) and Aisha Shah is a partnership manager at the White House Digital Strategy team.

Uzra Zeya, another Ind­ian Muslim, has been appointed Undersecretary of State for arms control, democracy and human rights.

Published in Dawn, March 6th, 2021

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