Ambassador Maura Harty (born c. 1959) was United States Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Consular Affairs, from November 21, 2002 to February 29, 2008. She was a career member of the senior Foreign Service.
Harty is a native of Staten Island, New York. Harty received her bachelor’s degree at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, where she was a member of the Mu Alpha chapter of the service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega. She began her career with the Department of State in 1981 as a vice-consul in Mexico City, Mexico. Following the initial assignment to the American Embassy in Mexico City, Ambassador Harty returned to Washington and immediately participated in the United States’ rescue mission to Grenada. She later served as a Watch Officer in the State Department’s Operations Center and was promoted to Senior Watch Officer during that assignment. In 1987-1988, Harty was a Special Assistant to then-Secretary of State George P. Shultz.
Harty returned overseas in 1988 as Chief of the non-immigrant visa section in Bogota, Colombia. Ambassador Harty subsequently served as Consul at the American Embassy in Madrid. During that time she also assisted in the opening of the American Embassy in Vilnius, Lithuania. In 1994, Harty served as the Managing Director of the Directorate of Overseas Citizens Services, where she created the office of Children’s Issues.
Harty was selected as a Deputy Executive Secretary of the Department in 1995 and subsequently served as Executive Assistant to Secretary of State Warren Christopher. Following that assignment, she became the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Paraguay.
During her tenure as Assistant Secretary, Harty oversaw the introduction of new security regulations in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks, as well as the identification and evacuation of American citizens after the tsunami in Indonesia and the war between Israel and Lebanon in 2006. In her position, she served as primary liaison within the Department of State to the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Patrol and Citizenship and Immigration Services on security and visa issues. She announced her February 2008 retirement from the Foreign Service on November 21, 2007, the five year anniversary of her swearing-in as Assistant Secretary.
Subsequent to her retirement in 2007, Ambassador Harty won the Thomas Jefferson Award, given by the American Citizens Abroad (ACA). This award honors State Department employees who have given exemplary service to American citizens residing abroad. ACA serves US citizens living outside of the United States on subjects such as taxation, citizenship, voting, Medicare, Social Security, education and many more.
Ambassador Harty is currently president and CEO of The International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC).