Mariah Mercer is Principal Deputy to the Ambassador-At-Large in the Office of International Religious Freedom (J/IRF) at the Department of State, where she leads a team of experts promoting international religious freedom and promoting freedom of religion and belief for all as a core objective of U.S. foreign policy. Ms. Mercer has more than 15 years of experience in communications and human rights.
She joined the office in 2016 as Unit Chief for Near East Asia, then the Unit Chief for East Asia Pacific, Deputy Coordinator for the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, and senior advisor for atrocity prevention before assuming her current role.
Ms. Mercer joined the State Department as an intelligence analyst and served as senior human rights analyst from 2010 to 2016 in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research's Office of the Geographer and Global Issues. She has expertise in rights advocacy and governance in authoritarian and closed countries, including Burma and China.
Before joining the U.S. government, Ms. Mercer was a journalist with the Findlay Publishing Company. She won several Associated Press awards for her work, including for best features reporting. She also worked as a media relations assistant at First Step: Family Violence Intervention Center.
Ms. Mercer received a B.A. in political science and creative writing from Miami University and M.A. in International Affairs from the Australian National University. She was born and raised in Findlay, Ohio.