Wendy Patten is a senior policy analyst at the Open Society Foundations in Washington. She works to develop and implement advocacy strategies on immigration, human rights, and counter-terrorism issues. Patten has worked on many issues as a legal aid lawyer, government official, and advocate for prominent NGOs.
Prior to joining Open Society, Patten was the U.S. advocacy director at Human Rights Watch, where she handled legislative, policy, and media advocacy on human rights in the United States.
From 1997 to 2002, Patten held several senior positions in the U.S. government. She served as senior counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice, focusing on criminal justice, violence against women, and immigration, and as special counsel on trafficking in persons in the Civil Rights Division. Patten also was the director of multilateral and humanitarian affairs at the National Security Council at the White House, managing a portfolio that included refugee, migration, and human rights issues.
In 2010 and 2011, Patten was appointed to a high-level post at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, serving as the first Special Representative of the OSCE Chair-in-Office on Gender Issues.
Patten began her legal career as a Skadden Fellow and legal aid lawyer at Ayuda, where she represented immigrant and refugee women in domestic violence, family law, and immigration matters.
Patten received her JD magna cum laude from Harvard Law School and an AB from Princeton University. She studied international relations in Strasbourg, France and taught international women’s human rights at Georgetown University.