Fatema Z. Sumar is a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs at the U.S. Department of State where she covers regional affairs. She joined the Department in August 2013 from the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where she served as a Senior Professional Staff Member for then-Senator John F. Kerry (D-MA) and Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ). At the committee, her responsibilities included oversight of U.S. foreign policy and foreign assistance in South and Central Asia, particularly Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India, and global Muslim engagement issues. She authored several high-profile committee reports on Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, and Central Asia, and worked extensively on the introduction and oversight of the “Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act,” (also referred to as the Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill or KLB) which tripled U.S. civilian assistance to Pakistan.
Before working on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, she was a Presidential Management Fellow. During her fellowship, Ms. Sumar served as the Regional Central Asia and Tajikistan Desk Officer at the U.S. Department of State, the Economics/Commercial Officer at U.S. Embassy Kabul in Afghanistan, and as a Congressional Fellow for Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-PA). Prior to joining government, she worked at the American Civil Liberties Union on drug policy and racial justice issues.
Ms. Sumar has a master's degree in Public Affairs from Princeton's University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and a Bachelor of Arts in Government from Cornell University. She also studied abroad at the American University in Cairo. She is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations and member of the Truman National Security Project.