Maura Harty served 27 years as a Foreign Service officer with the U.S. Department of State. During her last five years of service, she was the Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs, the Bureau charged with protection of American citizens abroad, passport issuance to U.S. citizens and the provision of visa services to foreign nationals. Harty directed widespread change in policy and procedure in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks, and placed a strong emphasis on national security while facilitating legitimate travel to this country by foreign visitors. In order to more readily respond to change and new challenges, Harty inspired a strong culture of leadership among the Bureau’s 10,000-strong globally-deployed workforce and in so doing helped reinforce a strong sense of mission, unity and service.
Ambassador Harty served as Special Assistant to Secretary of State George P. Shultz, Executive Assistant to Secretary Warren Christopher, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Paraguay and Executive Secretary of the Department of State under Secretary Colin Powell. An expert in crisis management and issues affecting the welfare of American citizens abroad, Harty created the Department’s Office of Children’s Issues in order to address the challenges of intercountry adoption and international parental child abduction. Since its inception, that office has helped secure the return of hundreds of abducted American citizen children and has facilitated countless intercountry adoptions. Ambassador Harty is the recipient of the Presidential Distinguished Service award, the Presidential Meritorious Service award (twice), and the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Honor award. At the conclusion of her service as U.S. Ambassador, she also was decorated by the Government of Paraguay.
Since retiring, Ambassador Harty served as Senior Policy Director and Director of the Koons Family Institute on International Law and Policy at the Alexandria, VA-based International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children. She is the immediate past president and CEO of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Mid-Atlantic. Ambassador Harty is a Trustee of CNA, a non-profit research and analysis organization devoted to independent and objective analysis of public issues. She a member of the Board of the Senior Living Foundation of the Foreign Service, a life member of the Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity, and belongs to the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training, the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs and the American Academy of Diplomacy. Ambassador Harty also serves periodically as an inspector with the Department of State’s Office of the Inspector General.
Ambassador Harty received her Bachelor of Science degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. She is married to James Larner, Forensic Document Design Coordinator, U.S. Department of State, and resides in Kensington.