President Biden has appointed former Ambassador David Satterfield as the Special Envoy for Middle East Humanitarian Issues. Special Envoy Satterfield will lead U.S. diplomacy to urgently address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, including work to facilitate the provision of life-saving assistance to the most vulnerable people and promote the safety of civilians, in coordination with the United Nations and U.S. partners. He will lead a whole-of-government campaign to mitigate the humanitarian fallout of Hamas’ terrorist attack against Israel, supporting critical efforts by the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration. His role builds on the long-standing U.S. commitment to supporting peace and stability in the region.
Special Envoy Satterfield’s decades of diplomatic experience and work amidst some of the world’s most challenging conflicts will be instrumental in our continued effort to address urgent humanitarian needs. His regional experience spans over forty years including assignments in Syria, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, and two tours in Lebanon. He has served as Acting Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs, as Director of Arab and Arab-Israeli Affairs in the Department of State, and as Director for Near Eastern Affairs on the National Security Council Staff from 1993 to 1996, where he worked primarily on the Arab-Israeli peace process. Since leaving government, Special Envoy Satterfield has served as the director of Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.
I deeply appreciate Special Envoy Satterfield’s willingness to take on this role and look forward to working with him closely in this new capacity.