Ford Foundation appoints Noha El-Mikawy to lead its Middle East and North Africa Office

NEW YORK, 13 December 2011 — The Ford Foundation today announced the appointment of Noha El-Mikawy to lead its Middle East and North Africa office, which focuses on Egypt.

“At this seminal moment in Egypt, we are pleased to appoint a world-class leader like Noha El-Mikawy to guide the next generation of our work,” said Luis Ubiñas, president of the Ford Foundation. “In a region undergoing transition, Ford’s work will continue to focus on local initiatives for social justice so that all people have the opportunity to reach their full potential, contribute to society, have a voice in the decisions that affect them, and live and work in dignity.”

El-Mikawy brings more than 20 years of experience in governance and international development in the Middle East. She has held various posts with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) since 2006 including as governance and poverty adviser at UNDP’s Oslo Governance Centre. Currently she serves as the Governance Practice Leader for the Arab States Region. In this role, she provides policy and technical advice to 18 country offices, manages governance practice in the Arab States region and contributes to global corporate policy on democratic governance.

Previously, El-Mikawy taught politics of the Middle East at various universities, including the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany and the American University in Cairo. She also coordinated interdisciplinary comparative research on the Middle East at the University of Bonn.

“Noha’s proven expertise, record of accomplishment, and extensive networks in the region make her an ideal leader for our work,” said Darren Walker, vice president for Education, Creativity and Free Expression at the foundation. “Over the course of her career, she has demonstrated a deep commitment to the values of democratic governance and free expression, which are at the core of the Ford Foundation’s programs.”

El-Mikawy has a Ph.D. in comparative politics with a focus on Arab countries from the University of California, Los Angeles. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the American University of Cairo. Early in her career, she was the recipient of a Ford Foundation Graduate Fellowship in Egypt.

“I am deeply honored to lead the next chapter of the Ford Foundation’s work in the Middle East and North Africa,” El-Mikawy said. “Ford’s steady voice for social justice over more than 50 years in the region is as important now as ever before. I look forward to extending the incredible legacy of the foundation at this critical moment for the region.”

For more than half a century, the Ford Foundation has worked to empower marginalized communities in the Middle East and North Africa to achieve economic, social and cultural rights by supporting citizen groups and promoting increased government effectiveness, accountability and transparency. The foundation has been a continuous source of support for innovative civil society and government efforts to advance democratic and accountable government, fundamental human rights, voice and participation, and access to higher education.

El-Mikawy will begin her new position in March 2012. She was selected after a broad international search.

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The Ford Foundation

The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization. For more than 80 years it has worked with courageous people on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.