On April 23, 2021, President Joe Biden has nominated Sarah Margon as Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy Human Rights and Labor. This is the top human rights post in the United States government. This is the top American global human rights watchdog and the most important human rights position in the US foreign policy bureaucracy.
In 2015, I had Sarah Margon in the podcast for a longform interview about her life and career in human rights. At the time she was the Washington Director at Human Rights Watch and since then she has worked at the Open Society Institute, which was her post when she was nominated for this senior administration position.
I thought it would be interesting to re-release this now six year old episode, which does a good job of introducing listeners to Sarah Margon’s personal and professional background, including some of the key events that shaped her worldview and understanding of human rights.
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Sarah Margon, Nominee for Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Department of State
Sarah Margon currently serves as the U.S. Foreign Policy Director at the Open Society Foundations. Previously, she served as Washington Director and, before that, Deputy Washington Director for Human Rights Watch. Margon also was Associate Director for Sustainable Security and Peacebuilding at the Center for American Progress and Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to Senator Russ Feingold and Staff Director for the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs. Earlier in her career she was Humanitarian and Conflict Policy advisor for Oxfam America. Margon holds an M.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and a B.A. in American Studies from Wesleyan University.