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Sarah Mendelson - Carnegie Mellon University. Pittsburgh, PA, US

Sarah Mendelson

Distinguished Service Professor | Carnegie Mellon University


Sarah Mendelson's current work is on creating a community of practice dedicated to growing the next generation of human rights experts.


Sarah E. Mendelson served as the U.S. Representative to the Economic and Social Council at the United Nations until January 20, 2017. She was the USUN lead on international development, human rights and humanitarian affairs. There she oversaw campaigns to get country-specific resolutions passed in the General Assembly and to get NGOs, including the Committee to Protect Journalists, accredited to the UN. She led efforts to elevate the issue of combating human trafficking and was senior lead for the President's Summit on Refugees.

Prior to her appointment as ambassador, she served as a deputy assistant administrator at USAID from 2010-2014 where she was the agency lead on democracy, human rights and governance. A long time policy entrepreneur, she has spent over two decades working on development and human rights as a scholar and practitioner including in Moscow with the National Democratic Institute, on the faculty of the Fletcher School at Tufts University and over a decade as senior adviser and inaugural director of the Human Rights Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. There she also worked as a senior fellow in the Russia and Eurasia Program where she over saw focus groups, public opinion surveys and social marketing campaigns in Russia on a range of issues. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Ambassador Mendelson serves on the Carnegie Mellon University Steering Committee on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). She is also a Nonresident Senior Fellow in Global Economy and Development for the Center for Sustainable Development at Brookings.

Areas of Expertise (6)

International Development

Human Rights

Ukrainian Politics

Russian Politics

Humanitarian Affairs

Human Trafficking

Media Appearances (5)

Putin's 'real vulnerability' exposed as Wagner boss issues major ultimatum

Daily Express  online


Vladimir Putin's "real vulnerability" has been exposed as Russian troops are reported to be dying at enormous rates in Ukraine - much like they did in another pivotal conflict that contributed to the collapse of the Soviet Union. Former US Ambassador Sarah Mendelson said the number of casualties could be a "real vulnerability" for the Russian President because of the impact on families in the country.

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Russia may be primed to hack America’s infrastructure

Yahoo! Finance  online


“I'm quite nervous about what is going to happen,” former-Ambassador to the U.N. Social and Economic Council Sarah Mendelson told Yahoo Finance.

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How One U.S. Company Is Safeguarding Their Employees And Operations In Ukraine

Forbes  online


Former ambassador Sarah Mendelson is an expert on Russia and the head of Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College in Washington, D.C. She had this blunt and urgent warning today for American companies and organizations in Ukraine: “Evacuate now. Get your team to a safe place as soon as possible. Find a country that can receive them. Facilitate their evacuation. Don’t wait."

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Putin honors unit accused of brutality

CNN  tv


A Russian military unit accused by Ukraine of brutality near Kyiv is honored by Vladimir Putin.

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What Will Happen When Trump Meets Putin in Helsinki?

The New Yorker  online


“Nothing of significance is said or done.”—Sarah Mendelson, the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Economic and Social Council under Obama, and a longtime Russia expert

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Industry Expertise (3)

International Trade and Development

International Affairs

Public Policy

Education (2)

Columbia University: Ph.D., Political Science

Yale University: B.A., History