Pakistani-American, Huma Mahmood Abedin is an American political staffer who serves as vice chairwoman of Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign for President. Prior to that, she served as the deputy chief of staff to U.S. Secretary of State

Huma Mahmood Abedin

Professional Achievements

Pakistani-American, Huma Mahmood Abedin is an American political staffer who serves as vice chairwoman of Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign for President. Prior to that, she served as the deputy chief of staff to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from 2009 to 2013. And before that she was traveling chief of staff and served as assistant for Hillary Clinton during her campaign for the Democratic nomination in the 2008 presidential election.

With parental roots in Pakistan, Huma Mahmood Abedin was born on July 28, 1976, in Kalamazoo, Michigan, to Syed Zainul Abedin and Saleha Mahmood Abedin. She is a practicing Muslim and in addition to English and Urdu, Huma also speaks fluent Arabic. At the age of two, she moved with her family to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where she was raised and lived until returning to the United States for college.

She travelled frequently during her childhood and teenage years and has also attended a British girls' school. At the age of 18 Huma Mahmood entered George Washington University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree. As a teenager, she aspired to be a journalist like her role model Christiane Amanpour, and wanted to work in the White House press office.

While a student at George Washington University, Huma began working as an intern in the White House in 1996, assigned to then-First Lady Hillary Clinton. From 1996 to 2008, she was an assistant editor of the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs. For several years, she served as the back-up to Hilary Clinton's personal aide. She officially took over as Hillary Clinton’s aide and personal advisor during Hilary Clinton's successful 2000 U.S. Senate campaign in New York and later worked as traveling chief of staff and ‘body woman’ during Hillary Clinton's unsuccessful campaign for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.

Writing in Vogue during the 2007 campaign, Rebecca Johnson called her ‘Hillary's secret weapon’ and noted that what seemed to motivate Huma was not the details of policy or political horse-racing, but rather the way that politicians are uniquely invested with the power to help individuals, as with, say, the woman whose legs were badly broken by a piece of plane fuselage on September 11, whom Huma and Hillary Clinton visited in the hospital. Huma told Johnson, to me, that’s one of the blessings of this job. In some tiny, tiny way I am part of history, but I am also able to help people.

According to a number of Hillary Clinton associates, Huma is also a trusted advisor to Hilary Clinton, particularly on the Middle East, and has become known for that expertise. She is a person of enormous intellect with in-depth knowledge on a number of issues, especially issues pertaining to the Middle East, said Senator John McCain.

In 2009, Huma was appointed deputy chief of staff to Clinton in the State Department, under a special government employee arrangement created by the department which allowed her to work for private clients as a consultant while also serving as an adviser to the Secretary of State. Under this arrangement, she did consultant work for Teneo, a strategic consulting firm whose clients included Coca-Cola and MF Global, and served as a paid consultant to the Clinton Foundation, while continuing her role as body woman to Clinton. The New York Times reported that an associate of Huma's said that the arrangement also allowed her to work from her home in New York City, rather than at the State Department’s headquarters in Washington, to be able to spend more time with her child and husband.

After leaving her post at the State Department in 2013, Huma served as director of the transition team that helped Clinton return to private life, continued her work for the Clinton Foundation, and set up a private consulting firm, Zain Endeavors LLC. In 2010, Huma was included in Time magazine's ‘40 under 40’ list of a new generation of civic leaders and rising stars of American politics.

Huma has served as vice chairwoman for Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign for president since 2015 and continues in her role as personal assistant to Clinton. Her elevation to the No. 3 position in the campaign was a transformative shift to campaign power centre of her own, according to Politico. She screened and interviewed applicants for key campaign roles, including campaign manager Robby Mook, and was the primary channel for communications to Clinton before the campaign officially began. After Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump proposed banning Muslims from entering the United States, she wrote an open letter to Clinton supporters calling herself a proud Muslim and criticized Trump's plan as literally (writing) racism into our law books.

Both of her parents were educators. Her father, who was born on 2 April, 1928 in Delhi (British India), was an Islamic and Middle Eastern scholar, who received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, and then in 1978 founded the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs, an organization devoted to the study of Muslim communities in non-Muslim societies around the world. In 1979 he founded the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, which his wife took over after his death in 1993. Huma was listed as an associate editor in 1996 to 2008. Her mother, who was born in Pakistan, also received her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania, and is currently an associate professor of sociology and dean at Dar Al-Hekma College in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Hillary Clinton has been described as a mentor, and a mother figure to Huma. Once, Hilary Clinton said: I have one daughter. But if I had a second daughter, it would (be) Huma. During a trip that Hillary Clinton and Huma made to Saudi Arabia, Huma’s mother, Saleha Mahmood Abedin, said to Hillary Clinton: Hillary, you have spent more time with my daughter than I have in the past 15 years. I’m jealous of you!