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Dodin first Arab named in Biden’s White House

25th Dec 2020

Nadine Osman

Palestinian-American Reema Dodin is to be appointed Deputy Director of the White House Office of Legislative Affairs, making her the first Arab American woman to hold the post and the first Arab-American in President-elect Joe Biden’s Adminstration. Dodin, who shares the position with Shuwanza Goff, will be joining the Legal Affairs team in January 2021.
She currently serves as Deputy Chief of Staff and Floor Director to the Democratic senator Dick Durbin. She previously served as Durbin’s floor counsel and research director. Dodin also served as an aide to the Judiciary Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law, which Durbin chaired.

Rebecca Abou Chedid, a Truman National Security Fellow, described the appointment as, “historic for the Arab-American community.” Adding, “What gives me real pride is her excellence and her integrity. In a city as divided as Washington, Reema is the rare public servant whose professionalism and decency is acknowledged by both sides of the aisle.”

Senator Durbin Tweeted his approval of her appointment writing, ‘Excited that my Floor Director, Reema Dodin, will be joining Biden’s Legal Affairs team. She is smart, trusted, & has the respect of members on both sides of the aisle. Reema is just what our new President needs to help him in the Senate.’

Senator for Oregon, Ron Wyden, echoed the sentiments. ‘You would be hard-pressed to find someone as talented, passionate, and whip-smart as Reema Dodin in Washington DC. The Biden administration couldn’t have picked a more capable person to join its team to work with Congress,’ he tweeted.

In January 2021, her role in the Biden administration will make her the highest-ranking Palestinian-American to serve in the Executive Office of the US President. She was born in North Carolina to Palestinian-Jordanian parents, Bajis and Samia Dodin. Her parents immigrated in the 1960s from Dura, Hebron, in the West Bank. Her grandfather is Mustafa Dodin, a social affairs minister in Jordan who was involved Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations in the 1970s.

Dodin earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Berkeley, in political science and economics in 2002. At the university, she participated in pro-Palestinian activism and in 2006 she interned in Dick Durbin’s office. That same year, she earned her Juris Doctor from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign.
She volunteered for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. Dodin’s uncle Ahmed Dodin, a resident of

Dura, told Anadolu Agency that the family is “happy with this appointment” and called it “a success for every Palestinian.” Ahmed said she frequently visited Dura and her last visit was four years ago. “She is the daughter of Palestine and her origins are Palestinian,” said Ahmed, who added that he hopes the “post will be good for her and her mother country.”

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