Position Title
Assistant to the Administrator

Sarah Charles leads USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA), the U.S. government lead for international disaster response. With a mandate to save lives, alleviate human suffering, and reduce the impact of disasters, BHA monitors, mitigates, and responds to global hazards and humanitarian needs. The Bureau also promotes resilience by preparing communities for disasters before they strike, and by helping people recover and move beyond crises.

While at BHA, Ms. Charles has led the U.S. government’s humanitarian response to several major humanitarian crises, including the global food security crisis, the war in Ukraine, historic drought and conflict in the Horn of Africa, the war in Sudan, and natural disasters and complex emergencies in Haiti, Pakistan, Türkiye, and Syria. She has also driven BHA’s work to advance localization in humanitarian responses, sanctions reforms, and protection for vulnerable groups with a particular focus on responses to gender-based violence in emergencies. In addition, Ms. Charles has championed BHA’s transformational work to adapt and respond to climate impacts in crisis settings.

Prior to BHA, Ms. Charles was the Senior Director for Policy and Advocacy for the International Rescue Committee. During the Obama Administration, she served as the Director for Humanitarian Affairs and then as the Director and Acting Senior Director for Strategic Planning at the White House National Security Council (NSC). Before the NSC, Ms. Charles covered the Middle East for USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives. Earlier in her career, Ms. Charles worked for the International Rescue Committee throughout the Horn of Africa and in Afghanistan.

Ms. Charles was the co-chair of the World Bank’s Global Facility for Disaster Risk Reduction and Recovery currently serves on the Advisory Board for the U.N. Secretary General’s Central Emergency Relief Fund (CERF). She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Government and Geography from Dartmouth College and a Masters in Public Affairs from Princeton University.

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