The International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC) announced today that Maura Harty has been appointed by the Board of Directors to be the organization’s new President and CEO.

Harty previously worked for ICMEC from 2008 to 2010 as Senior Policy Director of the organization’s Koons Family Institute on International Law & Policy.  In that role she worked with foreign leaders to create a global missing children’s network to protect children and supervised the organization’s efforts to implement new legislation and strengthen existing international child pornography laws.  Between 2010 and 2012 she served as the President and CEO of Make-a-Wish Foundation Mid-Atlantic.

Harty is also an experienced diplomat with 29 years of experience at the U.S. Department of State.  During her tenure at the State Department, she served as Special Assistant to Secretary of State George P. Shultz; Executive Assistant to Secretary Warren Christopher; U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Paraguay; and Executive Secretary of the Department under Secretary Colin Powell.  From 2002 until she retired in 2008 she served as Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs.  Most recently she returned to the State Department in 2012 where she has been a part-time Inspector with the Office of the Inspector General.

Harty will succeed ICMEC’s long-term President and CEO Ernie Allen who created the organization and has headed it for the past sixteen years.  Under his leadership, ICMEC became the leading international resource used today by governments and policymakers around the world on the issues of child abduction, child sexual exploitation and child sex trafficking.  He built a global missing children’s network involving 23 nations, trained law enforcement in 121 countries and worked with parliaments in 100 countries to enact new laws on child pornography.   Earlier this year Allen announced plans to retire at the end of October.