Katrina “Kat” Fotovat is currently the Senior Official to the Secretary of State in the Office of Global Women’s Issues (S/GWI), where she leads a team of gender experts promoting gender equality efforts including support of women, peace, and security, countering violent extremism, promoting women’s economic empowerment, and combatting gender-based violence. Ms. Fotovat has more than 20 years of experience advocating for gender and human rights globally, specifically in conflict and post-conflict settings.
Previously, Ms. Fotovat was Director for the Office of Communications, Policy, and Partnerships, in the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations where she oversaw an expert team that provided policy and strategy guidance to respond to atrocities, fragility, increase global stability and peacebuilding, and integrating women, peace, and security efforts in areas of conflict. Ms. Fotovat was also the Deputy Director for the Global Programs Office in the Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor where she oversaw more than one billion dollars in active programs geared toward supporting civil society and human rights in the most sensitive and fragile spaces, including internet freedom, transitional justice, and marginalized populations.
Ms. Fotovat’s other positions in the U.S. Government include serving as a Political Officer in the U.S. Embassy in Moldova, as Senior Grants Officer in the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, as Senior Human Rights Advisor in the Office of the Procurement Executive, and as an Interagency Liaison at USAID.
Before joining the U.S. government, Ms. Fotovat’s experience includes transitional justice and peace negotiations efforts with the Nobel Prize nominated, Public International Law and Policy Group (PILPG). This work included drafting post conflict constitutions in Iraq and Kosovo, and international crisis aid negotiations in Sri Lanka. Additionally, she has done extensive gender and human rights work through UNHCR, CEDAW, the American Bar Association, and other organizations. Ms. Fotovat previously worked as legal counsel at the International Human Rights Legal Clinic, focusing on trafficking in persons and asylum cases, with a special focus on Burma. Ms. Fotovat also helped to found an anti-trafficking in persons organization in Moldova, where she was also a Peace Corps Volunteer. She holds a Juris Doctor in International Human Rights Law and a master’s degree in Foreign Policy from American University. She lives in Rockville, Maryland with her son and husband.