The Ford Foundation today announced the appointment of David Barth as director of its Youth Opportunity and Learning program. In his new role, Barth will leverage his global expertise and connections with broad, diverse networks to support and empower young people who have been historically marginalized.
Barth will join the foundation following a distinguished 20-year career at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). He recently served as mission director for Bosnia and Herzegovina, overseeing the US mission’s efforts to increase stability and foster more accountable institutions that meet citizens’ needs and build an economy capable of providing better economic opportunities for all citizens.
“We are thrilled that David is joining the Ford Foundation and continuing our robust history of working on education to strengthen youth outcomes and opportunities,” said Darren Walker, president of the foundation. “In order to address inequality in a meaningful way, it is imperative to build and support the next generation of leaders and ensure pathways of success for all young adults.”
Among the major challenges in the world today, youth face daunting obstacles to educational and economic advancement, as well as to legitimate political power and voice. As Ford shifts its overall focus to addressing inequality, Barth will guide the foundation’s efforts to realize young people’s potential to be forces for progress and positive social change in the world.
“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to join the Ford Foundation, and to work to expand opportunities for youth around the world. Beset by social and economic inequality, a changing climate, and frequent denial of their basic human rights, too many of our young people face uncertain futures,” said Barth. “I am humbled to be a link in a chain extending back nearly 80 years, and to take part in the continuing fight to promote social and economic justice here and around the globe.”
Prior to his most recent role as mission director at USAID, Barth had served as deputy chief of staff for USAID, acting deputy assistant administrator for Legislative and Public Affairs, and director of the Office of Education, where he led the development of USAID’s education strategy—with emphasis on girls and youth, education in conflict areas, and immigration. He also spent over a decade working in the Middle East and North Africa region, where he was director of the Office of Middle East Programs and regional legal adviser for Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, Morocco, and Lebanon.
“We are excited to find in David a leader who combines global expertise and knowledge of the US context. He is adept at mobilizing global teams of professionals toward shared goals, building and sustaining partnerships at all levels, and holds a deep commitment to social justice,” said Hilary Pennington, Ford’s vice president of Education, Creativity, and Free Expression.
Barth graduated with honors from Boston University and the National Law Center at George Washington University. He was the recipient of the Harold Shapiro Public Service Award and the Murray Snider Public Interest Fellowship. In 2014, he was named Personality of the Year by Dnevni Avaz, the leading daily newspaper in Bosnia. EuroManager magazine named him Top Manager in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He was also the only foreign recipient of the tri-annual Silver Light Award for altruism for his work with children and adults with disabilities. He has received numerous commendations and awards for his service at USAID, including multiple Superior Honor Awards.