Ambassador Maura Harty is President and CEO of the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC), an Alexandria, VA-based not-for-profit organization working worldwide to advance child protection and safeguard children from sexual abuse, exploitation and abduction. Through research-based advocacy, training, technical assistance and a collaborative approach to addressing these issues, ICMEC empowers and equips global partners – in government, academia, law enforcement, private industry and the NGO community – to make the world a safer place for children.
Ambassador Harty previously served 27 years as a Foreign Service officer with the U.S. Department of State. As Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs, Ambassador Harty oversaw the bureau charged with protecting American citizens abroad, issuing passports to U.S. citizens and providing visa services to foreign nationals. She also directed widespread change in policy and procedure in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks, and placed a strong emphasis on national security while facilitating legitimate travel to the United States by foreign visitors.
An expert in crisis management and issues affecting the welfare of American citizens abroad, Ambassador Harty created the Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues (OCI) to address the challenges of intercountry adoption and international parental child abduction. Since its inception, OCI has helped secure the return of hundreds of abducted American citizen children and has facilitated countless intercountry adoptions.
Ambassador Harty also served as Special Assistant to Secretary of State George P. Shultz, Executive Assistant to Secretary Warren Christopher, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Paraguay and Executive Secretary of the Department of State under Secretary Colin Powell.
Ambassador Harty is the recipient of the Presidential Distinguished Service award, the Presidential Meritorious Service award (twice), and the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Honor award. Throughout her Foreign Service tenure, Harty inspired a culture of leadership and reinforced a strong sense of mission, unity and service.
Upon retiring from the Foreign Service, Ambassador Harty joined ICMEC as Senior Policy Director and Director of The Koons Family Institute on International Law & Policy. She subsequently served as President and CEO of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Mid-Atlantic.
Ambassador Harty is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of CNA, a non-profit research and analysis organization devoted to independent and objective analysis of public issues and is a member of the Board of the Senior Living Foundation of the Foreign Service. She is a life member of the Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity and belongs to the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training, the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs and the American Academy of Diplomacy.