Mariah Mercer has served as Deputy to the Ambassador at Large for Religious Freedom and Deputy Director of the Office of International Religious Freedom since 2021, where she leads a team of experts promoting freedom of religion and belief for all as a core objective of U.S. foreign policy. Ms. Mercer has 20 years of experience in communications and human rights. Previous roles in the office have included Unit Chief for Near East Affairs, Unit Chief for East Asia Pacific, Deputy Coordinator for the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, and senior advisor for atrocity prevention. Ms. Mercer joined the State Department as an intelligence analyst and served as senior human rights analyst in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research’s Office of the Geographer and Global Issues. She focused on human rights in conflict and post-conflict settings, with expertise in authoritarian and closed countries, including Burma, China, and Syria. Before joining the U.S. government, Ms. Mercer was a journalist with the Findlay Publishing Company. She won several Associated Press awards for her work, including for best features reporting. She also worked as a media relations coordinator at First Step: Family Violence Intervention Center. Ms. Mercer received a B.A. in political science and creative writing from Miami University and M.A. in International Affairs from the Australian National University. She was born and raised in Findlay, Ohio.