Maggie Mitchell Salem

Maggie knew she wanted to work in the Arab world long before she ever visited. A Fulbright to Syria in 1990 shaped her understanding of the peoples of the region and shaped her career aspirations. As Press Secretary and Director of Communications and Marketing at the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, Maggie acts as a champion for refugees and migrants from around the globe. Prior to joining LIRS, Maggie served as the Executive Director of Qatar Foundation International (QFI) from 2009-2019. There, she spearheaded the development of programs to support the advancement of Arabic language and Arab culture in K-12 schools in the US, UK, and Germany. Maggie has also served as Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region at the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), a leading democracy and governance NGO, where she implemented innovative programs in Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, and Yemen. Prior to IFES, Maggie worked as an independent communications consultant to leading U.S., European and Middle Eastern companies, nongovernmental organizations and academic groups. She also served as director of communications and external relations at the Middle East Institute where she developed a five-year strategic media plan and placed more than a dozen op-eds and letters to the editor in American newspapers and magazines, including The Washington Post, Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle and The New Yorker. Maggie’s career began as a foreign service officer for the U.S. State Department where she served as a special assistant to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and as a staff assistant to Ambassador Martin S. Indyk at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel. Maggie completed coursework for a master’s degree in contemporary Arab studies at Georgetown University and holds bachelor’s degrees from Johns Hopkins University in political science and psychology.