Africa: The Appointment of Samah Norquist As Chief Advisor for International Religious Freedom to the Administrator of USAID

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Today, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is proud to announce the appointment of Samah Norquist as Chief Advisor for International Religious Freedom to the Administrator.

In this new capacity, Mrs. Norquist will lead USAID's implementation of President Trump's Executive Order on Advancing International Religious Freedom, which elevates the U.S. Government's prioritization of religious freedom as a moral and national security imperative. The Executive Order further solidifies religious freedom as a foundational principle of American foreign policy, and directs the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Administrator of USAID, to develop a plan to integrate international religious freedom into U.S. bilateral and multilateral foreign assistance and diplomacy.

Mrs. Norquist will lead the development of policy, programmatic, and public-diplomacy actions to advance religious freedom and belief. Deepening USAID's inclusive development mission, she will work across the Agency to anticipate, prevent, and respond to attacks on religious liberty, while working with a diverse coalition of partners to improve our reach into vulnerable and disadvantaged communities.

Mrs. Norquist also will continue to build on President Trump's already-unmatched record on advancing international religious freedom and recent policy priorities, such as the signing of the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act.

Previously, Mrs. Norquist served as Senior Advisor on Religious Freedom and Pluralism in USAID's Bureau for the Middle East and managed the Agency's Genocide Recovery and Persecution Reponse in Northern Iraq to help Christian and Yazidi communities recover from the atrocities and genocide committed by the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Mrs. Norquist also negotiated Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) between USAID and the Governments of Hungary and Poland to collaborate in the Middle East to help persecuted religious and ethnic minorities.

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Last updated: July 20, 2020

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