WASHINGTON : The Obama administrations’ first-ever Special Representative to Muslim Communities, Farah Pandith, is leaving her post, Secretary of State John Kerry announced Thursday.
“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,” Kerry said. “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.”
Srinagar-born Pandith, who was appointed to the post by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2009, is leaving to become a fellow at Harvard University. Pandith worked on the National Security Council in the George W. Bush administration.
“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 programmes, including Generation Change, Viral Peace, and the Hours Against Hate campaign,” Kerry said. “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.