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Mentor swears in new Southeast Asia ambassador

September 19, 2014

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — A newly appointed U.S. ambassador on Friday honored one of her first mentors, a federal appellate judge whom she chose to administer her oath of office.

Judge Harry Pregerson, who is 91 and one of the longest-serving members of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, swore in Nina Hachigian as American envoy to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN.

Hachigian, 47, of Los Angeles, will represent the United States in dealings with the economically powerful group of 10 Southeast Asian countries based in Jakarta, Indonesia, which will be her new home.

Hachigian became Pregerson’s law clerk upon graduating from Stanford University Law School in 1994. She said that during her rise through government posts, she stayed in touch with the judge who has been her role model of compassion and integrity.

“He’s such an inspiration for me,” Hachigian said in an interview, noting that Pregerson’s former clerks regularly have reunions with the judge.

“I’m so proud of her,” said Pregerson. “I know she will do a great job for our country.”

Hachigian said her mission is to protect America’s political and security interests and strengthen ties with a region that is America’s fourth largest trading partner and produces a half-million U.S. jobs.

She will join President Obama at the second ASEAN-U.S. Summit and the East Asia Summit in November.

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