WASHINGTON — Carmen G. Cantor was sworn in today as Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs by Secretary Deb Haaland.
“With decades of experience working as a diplomat and on issues critical to island communities, Carmen is ready to lead the Department’s mission to support Insular Areas and freely associated states by ensuring that they have the resources and support needed to address their unique needs and mitigate climate-related challenges. Her knowledge will also be indispensable as Interior works with international partners to grow America’s clean energy economy and protect and conserve biodiversity,” said Secretary Deb Haaland.
“Growing up in Puerto Rico and having lived in the Federated States of Micronesia, I have a deep appreciation of the unique challenges faced by island and coastal communities,” said Assistant Secretary Cantor. “I’m thrilled to join the Department of the Interior to tackle these challenges through collaborative efforts across the federal government, territories, freely associated states and our international partners.”
Carmen most recently served as U.S. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Federated States of Micronesia. Previously, she served in various roles within the Department of State, including as the Executive Director of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and Bureau of International Information Programs, Executive Director of the Bureau of Counterterrorism, Director of the Office of Civil Service Human Resource Management and as Deputy Director for Recruitment, Examination, and Employment.
Carmen also served as Director of the Office of Civil Rights for the Foreign Agricultural Service, and as Director of the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity at the Federal Maritime Commission. She earned a B.A. from the University of Puerto Rico and an M.A. from the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico.
The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs carries out the Secretary of the Interior’s responsibilities for the U.S. territories; administers and oversees federal assistance under the Compact of Free Association (COFA); oversees international engagement in support of the Department’s mission and U.S. foreign policy; and leads the Ocean, Great Lakes and Coastal Program, helping to coordinate ocean and coastal programs across the Department’s bureaus and federal, state and territorial partners.