Samah Norquist was appointed as Chief Advisor to the Administrator for International Religious Freedom in June 2020 to spearhead USAID’s efforts to implement President Trump’s Executive Order on Advancing International Religious Freedom.
In her previous capacity, Norquist led the Middle East Religious Freedom and Pluralism portfolio, which promotes efforts to strengthen religious freedom and pluralism in the region. This portfolio started with the Genocide Recovery and Persecution Response (GRPR) program, announced by Vice President Pence in 2018, to provide direct assistance to victims of ISIS-led genocide in Iraq.
Norquist also served as Senior Advisor for Public Diplomacy and Communication for the Arab and the Muslim worlds at USAID from 2004 to 2006. Before returning to the United States, she was a cultural affairs assistant at the US Embassy in Jordan, where she was responsible for cultural exchange programs between the US and Jordan. She holds an MA from the American University in Cairo.