Herro Mustafa

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Herro Mustafa
Herro Mustafa.JPG
Coalition Provisional Authority Coordinator for Nineveh
In office
May 2003 – June 2004
Preceded by Misha'an al-Juburi
Succeeded by Usama Yousif Kashmula
(Interim Governor)
Personal details
Born 1973
Arbil, Iraq
Alma mater Georgetown University
Princeton University

Herro K. Mustafa (Kurdish: Hêro Mistefa‎; born 1973) is an American diplomat.

Mustafa's family story was the subject of the documentary film American Herro. She is multilingual and speaks English, Kurdish, Arabic, Turkish, Spanish and Greek.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Mustafa was born in Arbil, Iraq, in the Kurdistan region, to a Kurdish family and spent two years of her childhood in a refugee camp.[2] Her family sought asylum in the United States in 1976. Her father was a Kurdish political activist and an opponent of the regime of Saddam Hussein. The family was taken in by Zion Lutheran Church at Minot, North Dakota in 1976.

Mustafa graduated from Minot High School in 1991 and earned her undergraduate degree from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in 1995 where she studied national security and the Middle East. She also received a master's degree in international relations from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.[3]


After graduation, she directed a non-governmental organization for Kurdish studies in the U.S., traveled to Bosnia to supervise provincial elections and served as the Senior Editor for the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Mustafa joined the United States Foreign Service in 1999 and served in Athens (as a Political Officer for human rights and trafficking), Beirut (as a consular official), Washington, D.C. (as Iran desk officer at the National Security Council under Elliot Abrams, and special assistant to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William Joseph Burns,[4] and Iraq (as Coalition Provisional Authority coordinator for Nineveh under L. Paul Bremer).[2][5]

Mustafa was appointed as senior advisor on the Middle East to Vice President Joe Biden in March 2009.[6]

Mustafa has been nominated for the Department of State Human Rights and Democracy Achievement award and has received the Superior Honor Award and Meritorious Honor Award for her work.[1]