Susan Ruffo, NOAA’s deputy assistant secretary for International Affairs. 

Susan Ruffo

Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Affairs

Susan Ruffo is NOAA’s deputy assistant secretary for international affairs. In this role, she is responsible for developing and coordinating NOAA’s approach and direction on international policies that support and promote U.S. interests in ocean conservation, ecosystem-based management, climate change, oceanic and atmospheric research, Earth observation and weather forecasting.

A demonstrated leader on ocean and climate issues, Ruffo brings more than 20 years of experience leading the development and implementation of policies focused on environmental conservation and combating climate change in the U.S. and internationally. Most recently, she was senior director for ocean and climate at the UN Foundation, where she built a program focused on advancing ocean-based climate solutions, particularly decarbonizing shipping.

Ruffo has extensive government experience. From 2011 to 2015, she served as associate director for climate preparedness at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, focused on development and implementation of the climate preparedness pillar of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan. She began her career as a diplomat with the U.S. Department of State, serving in China, Argentina, Nigeria and Washington, D.C. 

Ruffo was also executive director of The Circulate Initiative, an NGO focused on ending ocean plastic; managing director of international initiatives at Ocean Conservancy, where she led the organization’s international work on issues such as climate change, marine plastics, and ocean acidification; and the lead on the Vibrant Oceans portfolio for Bloomberg Philanthropies, where she supported the reform of local and industrial-scale fisheries.

Ruffo earned bachelor of science degrees in economics and political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She has lived and worked in Nigeria, Argentina, China, Singapore and the United States.