Washington, DC - Secretary of State John Kerry: "I am pleased to announce the appointment of Thomas Perriello as the Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa.

"I have high confidence in Tom and am grateful for his recent service as Special Representative for the Department’s successful Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review.

"Tom is a person of deep convictions who is driven by a strong commitment to justice and human rights. He gained experience in Africa in his capacity as adviser to the International Court for Sierra Leone, where he delved into issues involving mass atrocities, the use of child soldiers, the reintegration of former fighters, and the plight of amputees and other victims of war. Tom also served as a consultant to the International Center for Transitional Justice in Kosovo, Darfur, and Afghanistan, and was a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 2008 until 2010.

"This appointment is a timely one. Tom succeeds the indefatigable Russ Feingold in this important post at a critical moment. The Special Envoy will work closely with Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield on a portfolio that consists of the Great Lakes states of Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda. His priorities will be to strive -- in coordination with local officials and international partners -- to spur progress towards lasting peace, stability, and development throughout the region, including the strengthening of democratic institutions and civil society and the safe and voluntary return of refugees and the internally displaced.

"The appointment of a Special Envoy for the Great Lakes reflects the Obama Administration’s firm support for the people of that region as they attempt to build a future characterized by improved governance, an end to conflict, respect for civil and political rights, and economic opportunity for all."