Sarah Yager
Washington director, Human Rights Watch, Washington, DC
2024 Speaker

Sarah Yager is the Washington director at Human Rights Watch and leads the organization’s engagement with the U.S. government on global human rights issues, with a particular focus on national security and foreign policy. Before joining Human Rights Watch, she was the first senior advisor on human rights in the Chairman’s Office at the Joint Staff of the U.S. Department of Defense. Before that, she served as deputy chief of staff for policy at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations under Ambassador Samantha Power. For nearly a decade Yager was executive director of Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC), leading efforts to advise warring parties on civilian protection and responsible use of force.  was a member of the Clinton Administration’s White House AIDS policy team, a senior associate at West Wing Writers, and consulted for Human Rights Watch, the Ford Foundation, the William J. Clinton Foundation, and the International Committee of the Red Cross.  was a senior fellow on security issues at Open Society Foundations and the U.S. Institute of Peace. She holds degrees from Georgetown and Columbia universities, is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a senior fellow at New America, a board director at the Center for Civilians in Conflict, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and a professor of practice at Arizona State University. She lives with her daughter, husband and very large cat in Washington, D.C.