Harriet C. Babbitt

Harriet C. Babbitt Of Counsel

P: 202.292.4741
F: 202.371.9025
L: Washington, D.C.

Ms. Babbitt practices in our Washington, D.C. office, assisting clients on issues of public policy and strategy, especially with regard to their international operations. She is an accomplished attorney with a distinguished background in both private and public service. Over the course of her career she has provided counsel to diverse interests at the intersection of law, policy, and public interest.

Ms. Babbitt serves on a number of non-for-profit and for-profit boards. She is chair of the U.S. Water Partnership (USWP) and Population Action International (PAI), co-chair of the Global Water Challenge (GWC), serves as vice-chair of World Resource Institute (WRI) and serves on the boards of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), The Water Initiative (TWI), Everyone Counts, and the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University (ISD). She is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

From 1997 to 2001, Ms. Babbitt served as Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development. As the second most senior official for U.S. foreign assistance programs, she oversaw programs in the fields of democratization, humanitarian relief, women’s empowerment, climate change, economic growth, education, health, and the environment. Her responsibilities included oversight of USAID efforts to assist post-conflict reconstruction in the Balkans and East Timor. Ms. Babbitt served at the Department of State from 1993 to 1997 as U.S. Ambassador to the Organization of American States. While in that role she led the U.S. negotiating effort to completion of the world’s first anti-corruption convention and worked to strengthen the Inter-American Human Rights Commission and Inter-American cooperation against arms trafficking.

Ambassador Babbitt also served as a Senior Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Areas of Focus

  • Public Policy

Professional Background

  • Senior Vice President, Hunt Alternatives Fund, Washington, D.C. (2002-2006)

  • Senior Public Policy Scholar, The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, D.C. (2001)

  • Deputy Administrator, United States Agency For International Development (USAID), Washington, D.C. (1997-2001)

  • United States Permanent Representative (Ambassador) to the Organization of American States (OAS), Department of State, Washington, D.C. (1993-1997)

  • Partner, Robbins & Green, P.A.  (1973-2001)

Articles, Publications and Presentations

  • Article, "Why Are U.S. Lawmakers Coming Down So Hard on the OAS?,” Inter-American Dialogue’s Latin American Advisor (November 30, 2012)

  • Panelist, “Mexico-U.S. Border Issues: An Update,” National Association of Attorneys General, 2009 Summer Meeting (June 2009)

  • Presenter, “New Legal Developments of Doing Business with Mexico, “The International Law Section/Inter-American Legal Affairs Committee, In co-sponsorship with the United States-Mexico Bar Association (2008)

  • Speaker, “U.S. Policy Towards Mexico: Opportunities and Challenges,” Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (2008)

  • Presenter, Aspen Institute Ideas Festival, “The World Economy: What is Sustainable Development?” and “Global Dynamics: Water, The New Currency?” (July 2006)

  • Co-Chair, Aspen Institute and Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions (Duke University), Task Force on Clean Water and Sanitation, preparing for the 4th World Water Forum in Mexico (2005-2006)

  • Moderator, American Bar Association International Rule of Law Symposium, Rule of Law and Global Poverty panel (November 2005)

  • Presider, Council on Foreign Relations, Iraq and Afghanistan Prospects and Challenges for Reconstruction meeting (November 2005)

  • Presenter, The New America Foundation, “Beyond Bullets: Economic Strategies in the Fight Against Terrorism” (September 2005)

  • Panelist, International Summit on Democracy, Terrorism and Security, “From Conflict to Peace: Lessons Learned from the Frontline” (March 2005)

  • Participant, Brookings Institution, Conference on America’s Role in the Fight Against Global Poverty (July 2004)

  • Presenter, Aspen Institute Biodiversity Policy Forum, Multilateral and Bilateral Lending and Assistance Policies (April 2004)

  • Roundtable Participant, Council on Foreign Relations, Africa Policy Studies Roundtables: “Strengthening Governance: The Role of Women in Rwanda’s Transition, Overview” (September 2003) and “From Combat to Community: Women and Girls of Sierra Leone, Overview” (February 2004)

  • Moderator, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Program on “Wilson’s Ghost: Reducing the Risk of Conflict, Killing and Catastrophe in the 21st Century” (June 2001)

  • Roundtable Participant, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Project on the Information Revolution and World Politics (December 2000)

  • Discussion Leader, Intellibridge Global Scenarios Series on Emerging Markets, Emerging Technologies (June 2000)

  • Moderator, Harvard University Academy for International and Area Studies Symposium on Cultural Values and Human Process (April 1999)

Other Languages

  • Spanish (Fluent)

Professional Affiliations

  • U.S. Water Partnership
    Chair, 2012-present
  • Global Water Challenge
    Co-Chair, 2011-present
    Board of Directors, 2006-present
  • World Resources Institute
    Vice Chair Executive Board, 2008-present
    Board of Directors, 2006-present
  • Council on Foreign Relations
    Member, 1997-present
  • American Bar Association-Latin America Law Initiative
    Executive Board Chair, 2007-2008
  • Mexico Bar Association
    Board of Advisors, 2007
  • American Bar Association–Central European and Eurasian Law Initiative (ABA-CEELI)
    Vice Chair Executive Board, 2001-2007
  • National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI)
    Board of Directors, 1988-1993, 2001-present
    Vice Chair, 2011
  • North American Center for Transborder Studies (NATCS) at Arizona State University
    Board of Advisors, 2006-present
  • Population Action International (PAI)
    Chair Executive Board, 2013-present
    Board of Directors, 2002-present
    Vice Chair, 2010-2013
  • Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, Georgetown University
    Board of Directors, 2004-present
  • The President’s Management Council (PMC)
    Member, 1998-2001
  • Baltic-American Partnership Fund
    Founding Member, Ex Officio
    Board of Directors, 1998-2001
  • Inter-American Foundation
    Board of Directors, 1994-1999
  • Alan Guttmacher Institute
    Board of Directors, 1991-1993
  • Citibank (Arizona)
    Board of Directors, 1986-1993
  • The Arizona Chapter of the International Women’s Forum
    Member, 1984-present
    Founding Member, 1984-1993
    President, 1989
  • Planned Parenthood of Central and Northern Arizona
    Recipient of the Golden Anniversary Honor Roll Award
    Board of Sponsors, 1978-1993
  • Babbitt Brothers Trading Company
    Board of Directors, 1985-1990
  • Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME)
    Member, 1985-1989
  • Great Western Bank (Arizona)
    Board of Directors, 1981-1986
  • Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF)
    Board of Directors, 1981-1985
    Finance/Fundraising Committee, Co-Chair, 1983-1984
  • American Bar Association
    Dispute Resolution Section, Member
    International Law Section, Member

Admitted to Practice

  • District of Columbia

Court Admission

  • U.S. Supreme Court


  • J.D., Arizona State University College of Law, Political Science, 1972
    With Distinction
    Recipient of John S. Lancy Distinguished Law Journal Alumna Award, 2004
  • B.A., Arizona State University, Spanish, 1969
    With Honors

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