Judy Van Rest, executive vice president of the International Republican Institute (IRI) was nominated by President George W. Bush to serve as a member of the board of directors of the United States Institute of Peace.  The Institute of Peace is an independent, nonpartisan federal institution created by Congress to promote the prevention, management and peaceful resolution of international conflicts.  The nomination now goes to the U.S. Senate to consider for confirmation.   

“Judy’s commitment and hard work to help people allover the world will be valuable asset to the Institute of Peace,” said Lorne Craner, president of IRI.  “Her nomination is an honor and we are proud to have her as part of IRI’s team.”

Van Rest was appointed executive vice president for IRI on August 2, 2004.  From April 14, 2003 to July 1, 2004, she served as senior advisor for governance for the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), Baghdad, Iraq.  In that capacity, she conducted outreach programs for Iraqi women to assist them in participating in the democratic development of their country.  She also served as CPA’s director of the Office of Democratic Initiatives, coordinating programs ranging from election administration, civic education, political party building, women’s leadership training, and nongovernmental organization development to local government, media infrastructure building, and transparency in government and civil society.

Van Rest was appointed to the Peace Corps as associate director for management and chief information officer in September 2001 and was responsible for formulating policies and implementing operation plans for both domestic and overseas Peace Corps missions.  She became regional director for the Europe, Mediterranean and Asia Region on May 13, 2002, and managed a broad range of operational, policy, and procedural issues in support of more than 1800 volunteers and several hundred staff in 21 countries.

Prior to the Peace Corps, Van Rest served as regional director for the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) programs for IRI (1994 to 2001).  She served as acting IRI president in summer 2001.

Van Rest was chief of staff for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management from 1989 through 1992.  In addition, she held management positions at the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Smithsonian Institution and the Republican National Committee.  She was deputy to the special assistant to the president for White House Intergovernmental Affairs in1981.  She also worked in a variety of communications positions, including as editor of Commonsense, a quarterly political journal, and general assignment reporter for an Oklahoma daily newspaper, the Lawton Constitution/Morning Press.

Van Rest was born in Kansas City, Kansas, and graduated from the William Allen White School of Journalism, the University of Kansas, Lawrence.

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