Salih Booker is senior program officer, International Programs. In this role, he is responsible for launching the foundation's efforts to inform and convene global institutions and actors that are instrumental to addressing inequality, and works to foster dialogue and strategic alliances among INGOs and governments around the world, with a specific focus on American foreign policy. He has over 30 years of experience in international affairs and US foreign policy, including leadership of several US and international research and advocacy organizations.
Before joining the Ford Foundation, Salih was president and CEO of the Center for International Policy, a leading progressive and independent nonprofit founded to reorient US foreign policy to advance international cooperation as the primary vehicle for solving global challenges and promoting human rights. In addition to leading and managing CIP’s overall strategy and operations, Salih has raised CIP’s public profile and cultivated relationships with organizations and leaders in the advocacy, foreign policy, and research communities. In particular he has promoted relationships between CIP program staff and social movements, NGOs, and advocacy organizations working, in particular, to end racism and militarism in US foreign policy.
Prior to CIP, he applied his leadership, research, analytical and advocacy skills to a range of organizations focused on international relations and US foreign policy including the US Institute of Peace (as vice president of External Relations); Africa Action, which focuses on US policy toward Africa (as executive director); the Council on Foreign Relations (as senior fellow and director of the Africa Studies Program); and TransAfrica (as a legislative assistant). Importantly, he also was a staff member of the US Congress's Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Africa.
Additionally, Salih has extensive experience as a human rights advocate and organizer globally. He served as executive director of the Center on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE) implementing programs in 10 countries to promote the human right to adequate housing, and to research and advocate on economic and social rights more broadly. Earlier, he was executive director of Global Rights, which worked globally to build the capacity of local partners to undertake human rights research, litigation and advocacy work at the national and international level. In addition, he has served as an advisor to the executive secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission on Africa (UNECA) on urbanization in Africa; associate director of Catholic Relief Services Southern Africa Regional Office, and a program officer for Ford’s Office for Eastern and Southern Africa. His broad experience has given him familiarity with both multilateral institutions and philanthropy.
Salih has a BA in African studies and government from Wesleyan University and completed graduate level coursework at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He has traveled for work to nearly 50 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America—residing overseas for over 15 years.