President Barack Obama announced the appointment of Rashad Hussain as his Special Envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on February 13, 2010. The OIC is comprised of 56 nations and is the second largest international body after the UN.
As U.S. Special Envoy to the OIC, Mr. Hussain seeks to deepen and expand the partnerships that the United States has pursued with OIC countries and Muslim communities around the world.
Mr. Hussain has also served as Deputy Associate Counsel to President Obama, focusing on national security, new media, and science and technology issues. Mr. Hussain worked with the National Security Staff in developing and pursuing the New Beginning that President Obama outlined in his June 2009 address in Cairo, Egypt. Before joining the White House, Mr. Hussain was a member of the legal staff for the Presidential Transition Team. Mr. Hussain previously served as a Trial Attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice. Earlier in his career, Mr. Hussain was a legislative assistant on the House Judiciary Committee, where he focused on national security-related issues.
As U.S. Special Envoy, he has traveled extensively around the world, meeting with government and civil society leaders as part of his work on a number of issues involving Muslim-majority countries in bilateral and multilateral settings. He has also been active in efforts to combat violent extremism and protect religious freedom, including initiatives to protect the rights of religious minorities in Muslim-majority countries.
Mr. Hussain received his J.D. from Yale Law School, where he served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal. Upon graduation, he served as a Law Clerk to Damon J. Keith on the U.S. Court of Appeals. Mr. Hussain also earned his Master’s degrees in Public Administration (Kennedy School of Government) and Arabic and Islamic Studies from Harvard University. He attended college at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His academic writings have focused on national security, constitutional law, and civil liberties.
Upon his appointment, President Obama stated, “As an accomplished lawyer and a close and trusted member of my White House staff, Rashad has played a key role in developing the partnerships I called for in Cairo, and as a Hafiz of the Quran, he is a respected member of the American Muslim community, and I thank him for carrying forward this important work.”
In January 2013, Mr. Hussain received the Distinguished Honor Award which is given for “exceptionally outstanding service to the agencies of the U.S. Government resulting in achievements of marked national or international significance.”