Press release

Freedom House Welcomes Emily Waechter as COO and Anne Richard as Distinguished Fellow and Afghanistan Coordination Lead

The two new staff members bring ample expertise to their respective roles.

Today, Freedom House announced two major additions to its staff: Emily Waechter will join the organization as its new chief operating officer on December 1, and Anne Richard has joined as a distinguished fellow and Afghanistan coordination lead, effective immediately.

“Emily and Anne have dedicated their lives to public service and bring with them a wealth of experience and expertise in government, democracy support, and human rights,” said Michael J. Abramowitz, president of Freedom House. “Emily’s record of supporting the management and operations of human rights initiatives, not only in the US government but also in the private sector, make her an exciting addition to Freedom House’s leadership team. Anne’s tremendous expertise in foreign assistance and long-standing commitment to human rights and humanitarian aid worldwide make her the ideal person to lead Freedom House’s work supporting Afghan human rights activists. At this pivotal moment for global freedom and democracy, we are thrilled that Emily and Anne have joined Freedom House and our mission of ensuring that freedom flourishes around the world.”

“It is an honor and a delight to be joining Freedom House as chief operating officer,” Waechter said. “For decades, Freedom House has been a steadfast force for freedom and democracy around the world, and I am honored to now join them in that fight. I look forward to working with my colleagues at all levels to advance the vital cause of promoting democracy and countering authoritarianism.”

“I have long admired the work Freedom House does at home and around the globe in promoting freedom and human rights,” Richard said. “At this critical juncture in Afghanistan’s history, I’m grateful for this opportunity to support courageous Afghan human rights activists as they continue their fight for political freedoms and civil rights.”

Emily Waechter has held leadership positions managing all aspects of budgeting and operations for multiple US-government and nongovernmental organizations. Most recently, she served as the chief finance and administrative officer at America’s Promise Alliance, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring that every child in America can reach their full potential. She previously served as a senior adviser to the director of US foreign assistance resources at the State Department and as an examiner within the International Affairs Division at the White House Office of Management and Budget. She was vice president of administration and finance for the Millennium Challenge Corporation and chief of staff to the chief financial officer of the US General Services Administration. Emily received her BA and an MA in international affairs from the George Washington University.

From 2012 to 2017, Anne C. Richard served as assistant secretary of state for population, refugees, and migration, making her the administration’s top diplomat on refugee issues as well as a leader on humanitarian and migration policies for the US government. Since leaving the federal government, Richard has taught and lectured at a number of universities, including the University of Virginia, Georgetown University, Hamilton College, and the University of Pennsylvania. During that time, she has continued advocating on refugee issues and advising a wide range of refugee-support efforts. Prior to joining the Obama administration, Richard held multiple senior positions at the International Rescue Committee, State Department, Peace Corps Headquarters, and the White House Office of Management and Budget. Richard has a BS in foreign service from Georgetown University and a Master's in Public Policy Studies from the University of Chicago.