Tressa Rae Finerty
Senior State Department Fellow
Tressa Rae Finerty is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service with more than twenty years of experience at the Department of State, most recently serving as Deputy Executive Secretary. A specialist in multilateral diplomatic engagement, Finerty led teams at the U.S. Missions to the United Nations in New York and Geneva. An expert in humanitarian and refugee policy, she had strategic oversight of U.S. funding to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), International Organization for Migration (IOM), and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), among others, and taught courses on international refugee practices at New York University (NYU). In 2023, she led an emergency humanitarian operation to welcome more than two hundred freed political prisoners from Nicaragua. In 2021-2022, Finerty worked extensively to galvanize the international response to the war in Ukraine, traveling to the region repeatedly with the Secretary of State. In 2021, she led operations at the Dulles Afghan Refugee Transit Center, which rapidly brought nearly fifty thousand Afghans to safety. In 2008-2009, she built the first-ever in-country refugee processing center for Iraqis fleeing the war there.
Finerty has served at the U.S. Embassies in Malaysia, Iraq, Armenia, and Thailand; in Washington in the office for North Korea policy; and as a board member of Executive Women @ State, supporting women for senior leadership positions. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, she was a business strategy and change management consultant. Finerty holds a B.A. and an M.B.A. from The George Washington University and is a member of the Board of Directors of Up With People, an international youth leadership organization.