Sarah Sewall is Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights at the U.S. State Department. Previously, she was a Senior Lecturer at Harvard Kennedy School and a member of the Secretary of Defense's Defense Policy Board. She served as the first Deputy Assistant Secretary for Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Assistance during the Clinton administration and served on President Obama's national security and foreign policy transition team. Sewall was formerly the Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard.
Sewall graduated from Harvard College and Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. During the Clinton Administration, Sewall served in the Department of Defense as the first Deputy Assistant Secretary for Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Assistance. From 1987-1993, she served as Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to Senate Majority Leader George J. Mitchell, delegate to the Senate Arms Control Observer Group, and on the Senate Democratic Policy Committee. Sewall has also worked at a variety of defense research organizations and as Associate Director of the Committee on International Security Studies at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is the lead author of MARO Mass Atrocity Response Operations: A Military Planning Handbook, and co-author of Parameters of Partnership: Civil-Military relations in the 21st Century. She was also lead editor of The United States and the International Criminal Court: National Security and International Law (2000) and has written widely on U.S. foreign policy, national security, and military intervention.
During the 2008 presidential campaign, Sewall served as one of US Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's foreign policy advisers, and subsequently worked for the Obama transition, overseeing program review in the national security area, including the Department of State, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, foreign assistance, and Intelligence Community agencies.
Sewall is the founder and Faculty Director of the Mass Atrocity Response Operations (MARO) Project, a collaborative effort between the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, and the U.S. Army Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute. The MARO Project seeks to enable the United States and the international community to stop genocide and mass atrocity as part of a broader integrated strategy by explaining key relevant military concepts and planning considerations. Sewall is also a member of the Center for Naval Analyses Board of Trustees, founder of the White House Project's National Security Boot Camp, and a board member for Oxfam America.
Sewall's current research focuses on ethics in counterinsurgency, civil-military relations and collateral damage during military operations. She is writing a book about civilian harm in war.
Sewall is married to Massachusetts State Representative Tom Conroy and has 4 children.
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