Joseph Cella

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Joseph Cella
Joseph J. Cella official photo.jpg
16th United States Ambassador to Fiji
Assumed office
November 25, 2019
PresidentDonald Trump
Preceded byJudith Beth Cefkin
13th United States Ambassador to Kiribati
Assumed office
November 25, 2019
PresidentDonald Trump
Preceded byJudith Beth Cefkin
14th United States Ambassador to Nauru
Assumed office
November 25, 2019
PresidentDonald Trump
Preceded byJudith Beth Cefkin
16th United States Ambassador to Tonga
Assumed office
November 25, 2019
PresidentDonald Trump
Preceded byJudith Beth Cefkin
14th United States Ambassador to Tuvalu
Assumed office
November 25, 2019
PresidentDonald Trump
Preceded byJudith Beth Cefkin
Personal details
Born
Joseph James Cella

(1969-11-14) November 14, 1969 (age 51)[1]
Richmond, Michigan, U.S.
Spouse(s)Kristen Renee
Children7
EducationHillsdale College (BA)
Occupation
  • Diplomat
  • adviser
  • religious activist
WebsiteGovernment website

Joseph James Cella[2] (/ˈsɛlə/;[3] born November 14, 1969) is an American diplomat and adviser, serving as the United States Ambassador to Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga and Tuvalu.

Education and personal life[edit]

Joseph James Cella was born on November 14, 1969, to his father, Robert Cella, and his mother, Janice Jean Cox.[4] He was raised in Richmond, Michigan and graduated from Hillsdale College in 1991.[5][6][7] He lives in Augusta Charter Township, Michigan outside of Ann Arbor with his wife Kristen Renee, and their seven children.[8]

Religious work[edit]

Cella is a Roman Catholic.[6][8][9] In 2004, he founded the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast along with, Rick Santorum, and Leonard Leo. Which was created in response to Pope John Paul II's call for a new evangelization.[9] It has featured many notable guest speakers like George W. Bush, John Roberts, Paul Ryan, Raymond Leo Burke, Samuel Alito, and Antonin Scalia.[2]

Cella co-founded the Catholic advocacy organization Catholic Vote.[2][9][10] It has grown to over 700,000 members, as of 2019.[2][9]

Political career[edit]

Cella made his start in politics by managing two successful campaign, and one failed campaign for three Michigan state senators. From there, he went on to work for Senator Spencer Abraham as a regional director in Michigan for five years.[5] Cella then worked as a staff member in the Capitol Hill office of Representative Thaddeus McCotter for two years, before becoming a senior adviser to the House Republican Steering Committee and Republican Policy Committee.[6]

During the 2016 United States presidential election he served as lead Catholic advisory council, for then Republican candidate, Donald Trump. Cella was a part of the Trump Transition Team, as well.[2] He was offered a White House position after the transition was over, but he declined. Then after, Trump offered him an ambassadorship of either Malta, Uruguay, Slovenia, or Fiji. He chose Fiji.[5]

After being nominated by Trump in February 2019, Cella's nomination was approved 14-7 by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in April.[6] In September, the U.S. Senate voted 56–38 to approve Cella as Ambassador to Fiji, and concurrently as Ambassador to Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga, and Tuvalu.[11] He was sworn in on November 25, 2019.[2]

Diplomatic career[edit]

Ambassador to Fiji[edit]

Joseph Cella's first press conference, as Ambassador to Fiji

Joseph Cella was presented his credentials to be the 16th United States Ambassador to Fiji on December 23, 2019, by Jioji Konrote.[12]

He said, his main priorities within his first 30 days was to be a "very active, aggressive bridge builder, and public engager".[13] On January 30 of next year, Cella met with Joseph Lengyel, who at the time, was a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to "emphasize the importance of Fiji’s State Partnership Program with the Nevada National Guard".[14]

Cella was also able to help the Fiji Red Cross Society set up a blood drive. He was their first ever blood donor.[15]

COVID-19 pandemic[edit]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Cella received an additional US$27.7 million for his ambassadorial countries, from the United States Agency for International Development.[16] Cella obtained 1,400 liters of hand sanitizer, 1,000 boxes of sanitizing wipes, 9,000 face masks, 500 surgical gowns, and 50,000 pairs of latex gloves, and power generators from relief supplies, too.[17] He also got Fiji's leading alcohol beverages manufacturer, Paradise Beverages Limited, to donate another 1,400 liters of manufactured hand sanitizers.[18] General Manager of Paradise Beverages, Mike Spencer, said that "they were fortunate that the U.S. Embassy has come on board and contribute to this because if they did this themselves, they could not do it for long".[18]

Cella has been involved in on the ground charity work, helping the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission, during the pandemic. Cella's embassy has made donations to food banks that help people, and families impacted by COVID-19.[19]

In May 2020, Cella's Embassy requested grant proposals to "support economic resilience" in Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga, and Tuvalu at the "grassroots level" during the COVID-19 pandemic.[20] The grants were accepted on August 27, 2020.[21]

In July 2020, Cella joined Government of Fiji officials to launch “Health Care on Air", a radio program that "boosted the capacity of health workers to protect themselves and deliver quality health services to communities" during the COVID-19 pandemic.[22]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bewig, Matt (February 20, 2018). "U.S. Ambassador to Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga, and Tuvalu: Who Is Joseph Cella?". AllGov. Retrieved August 29, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "U.S. Department of State - Bio Archive". Archived from the original on July 25, 2020. Retrieved August 28, 2020.
  3. ^ "Ambassador Cella's message to Kiribati" on YouTube
  4. ^ Bewig, Matt (February 20, 2018). "U. S. Ambassador to Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga, and Tuvalu: Who Is Joseph Cella?". AllGov. Archived from the original on June 27, 2020. Retrieved August 29, 2020.
  5. ^ a b c Cook, Jameson (September 6, 2020). "Cella's choice: Macomb County native selects Fiji to serve as U.S. Ambassador". Macomb Daily. Retrieved October 2, 2020.
  6. ^ a b c d Burke, Melissa Nann (September 25, 2019). "Senate approves Michigan's Cella to be Fiji ambassador". The Detroit News. Archived from the original on August 24, 2020. Retrieved December 5, 2019.
  7. ^ "Hillsdale College Alumnus Nominated As U.S. Ambassador to Fiji". Hillsdale College. Archived from the original on August 24, 2020. Retrieved December 5, 2019.
  8. ^ a b Otzman, Rosemary K. (October 3, 2019). "Augusta resident Joseph Cella approved as ambassador to Fiji". Belleville-Area Independent. Retrieved August 28, 2020.
  9. ^ a b c d "National Catholic Prayer Breakfast website". Retrieved August 25, 2020.
  10. ^ "CatholicVote website". Retrieved October 7, 2020.
  11. ^ "U.S. Congressional Records". Retrieved October 2, 2020.
  12. ^ Ravuwai, Ilaijia (December 24, 2019). "New US Ambassador To Fiji, Cella Presents His Credentials". The Fiji Sun. Archived from the original on August 20, 2020.
  13. ^ Chaudhary, Felix (December 24, 2019). "US Ambassador Cella loves Fiji". The Fiji Sun. Archived from the original on July 8, 2020.
  14. ^ "General Lengyel Visits Suva to Promote State Partnership Program". U.S. Department of State. Archived from the original on September 22, 2020. Retrieved October 7, 2020.
  15. ^ "Cella Donates Blood". Twitter. Archived from the original on July 28, 2020. Retrieved August 28, 2020.
  16. ^ "U.S.- Donated Ventilators to Boost Kiribati's Fight Against COVID-19". U.S. Department of State. Archived from the original on October 6, 2020. Retrieved October 7, 2020.
  17. ^ Singh, Shanil (May 14, 2020). "Fiji receives $175,000 worth of relief supplies from the US". FijiVillage. Archived from the original on August 24, 2020. Retrieved August 29, 2020.
  18. ^ a b Naivalurua, Navitalai (May 14, 2020). "Paradise Beverages Limited donates 1,400 litres of Hand sanitizers to Health Ministry". FijiVillage. Archived from the original on July 19, 2020. Retrieved August 29, 2020.
  19. ^ "Fijian Competition And Consumer Commission Thanks US Embassy For Donation To Veilomani Food Bank". Archived from the original on April 28, 2020. Retrieved August 28, 2020.
  20. ^ "U.S. Embassy Offers Grant Opportunity to Promote Grassroots Economic Recovery". U.S. Department of State. Archived from the original on July 18, 2020. Retrieved August 28, 2020.
  21. ^ "Beneficiaries Announced for the U.S. Embassy Economic Resilience Grants". U.S. Department of State. Archived from the original on September 23, 2020. Retrieved October 7, 2020.
  22. ^ "U.S. Government Supports Health Care on Air for Pacific Islands COVID-19 Response". U.S. Department of State. Archived from the original on August 20, 2020. Retrieved August 28, 2020.

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Judith Beth Cefkin
United States Ambassador to Fiji
2019–present
Incumbent
Preceded by
Judith Beth Cefkin
United States Ambassador to Kiribati
2019–present
Incumbent
Preceded by
Judith Beth Cefkin
United States Ambassador to Nauru
2019–present
Incumbent
Preceded by
Judith Beth Cefkin
United States Ambassador to Tonga
2019–present
Incumbent
Preceded by
Judith Beth Cefkin
United States Ambassador to Tuvalu
2019–present
Incumbent