President Obama has appointed actor Kal Penn to his Committee on the Arts and Humanities, the White House announced late Monday. 

Penn, whose full name is Kalpen Suresh Modi, joins other well-known members, such as actor Forest Whitaker; Secretary of State John Kerry’s wife Teresa Heinz; cellist Yo-Yo Ma; actor Edward Norton; Vogue’s Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour; and actresses Kerry Washington and Sarah Jessica Parker, among many others.

Penn is known for his roles on the TV show “House” and the “Harold and Kumar” movie series.


This would be his second stint working for the Obama administration. Penn served as associate director in the White House Office of Public Engagement from 2009 to 2010. He worked in that role on and off while taking up acting gigs in the meantime.

The president’s committee also includes government officials, such as Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and Kerry.

The late President Ronald Reagan created the committee in the early 1980s to serve as an advisory committee to the White House on cultural issues.