Statement by Secretary John Kerry on the Departure of Special Representative Farah Pandith

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
January 23, 2014

Farah always places people above politics, and she has performed groundbreaking work since her appointment in June 2009 as the first-ever Special Representative to Muslim Communities by my predecessor, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Farah’s legacy is an extraordinary record of thoughtfulness, balance, and sheer guts and determination. Anyone who’s work with Farah will note her uncommon ability to bring people of different backgrounds together. I’ve seen that commitment firsthand in her pioneering work to reach out to countries with both Muslim majorities and minorities.

For Farah, this isn’t just a career. It’s her life’s passion. It’s in her DNA as a first-generation immigrant who achieved historic firsts for America, from changing the way our Embassies engage with Muslim communities in Europe to getting a Quran placed in the White House Library.

On so many issues, Farah Pandith has been a trailblazer and a visionary. She traveled to more than 80 countries and launched critically important youth programs, including Generation Change, Viral Peace, and the Hours Against Hate campaign.

Farah’s career in public service has taken her from Chief of Staff of the Bureau for Asia and the Near East at USAID to Director for Middle East Regional Initiatives at the National Security Council to Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs. Throughout her time in government, and in every position she’s held, Farah has left an indelible mark on the issues that mattered most to her.

I am deeply grateful for Farah’s invaluable contributions as our Special Representative to Muslim Communities and wish her and her family well as she pursues an exciting new opportunity at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics. After Farah’s departure, her deputy, Adnan Kifayat, will serve as the acting Special Representative until a permanent replacement is named.