Catherine Wiesner assumed the position of Deputy Assistant Secretary in February 2012, overseeing the Offices of Assistance Programs for Africa, Multilateral Coordination and External Relations, and International Migration. Ms. Wiesner served previously as Principal Director to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs at the Pentagon (2009-2012). Prior to government service, Ms. Wiesner worked as a practitioner and consultant in the fields of humanitarian assistance, peace process, and post-conflict programming.
Ms. Wiesner’s most recent overseas post was in Sudan, where she worked for the UN Children’s Agency (UNICEF) in a variety of roles, including in Juba on the mediation team for the 2006-2008 peace talks between the Government of Uganda and the Lord’s Resistance Army, in Khartoum on the design and implementation of the child DDR program mandated by the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), as well as North-South IDP return issues, and the initial emergency response in Darfur in early 2004.
From 2001 to 2003, Ms. Wiesner directed all of the International Rescue Committee (IRC)’s programs for war-affected children and adolescents in Sierra Leone. Ms. Wiesner also worked with the IRC’s emergency response team, traveling to Jordan, Kuwait and Iraq in the spring of 2003, Liberia in the summer of 2003, and Indonesia in January 2005 after the Tsunami.
Previously, between 1997 and 2000, Ms. Wiesner interned with USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance in Washington, DC, worked for the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Geneva and Ethiopia, and for Save the Children in Zimbabwe.
Ms. Wiesner holds a B.A. in Comparative Area Studies from Duke University, and earned a Masters degree in Public Policy in International Security and Political Economy from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.