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Open Society Foundations Announce New Director of Education

NEW YORK—The Open Society Foundations are pleased to announce that Camilla Croso, a leading global advocate for the right to education, will lead our newly integrated education funding and advocacy work with effect from July 21.

“We are delighted to welcome Camilla Croso, who will steer the development of our new Education Program,” said Patrick Gaspard, president of the Foundations. “Camilla has a wealth of international experience that will be invaluable at this time of intense disruption and change.”

The new Education Program will integrate the existing portfolios of the Higher Education and Education Support Programs and undertake new grant making and advocacy.

“At the Open Society Foundations, we recognize that education is a holistic project,” said Leonard Benardo, vice president. “Placing primary, secondary, and tertiary education within one program will help actualize that reality.”

Croso joins Open Society from the Latin American Campaign for the Right to Education, where she was general coordinator. Based in Brazil, Croso led the regional network, working for effective implementation of the right to education in 18 Latin American countries. She sat on the Board of Directors of the Global Partnership for Education, and has integrated both Global and Regional Sustainable Development Goal 4 and Education 2030 Steering Committees. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted learning on a global scale and further exposed the inequalities in our education systems,” Croso said. “The Education Program must build on Open Society’s remarkable achievements so far to adapt to this new landscape—determining where our work can be most effective in response to this challenge and recognizing opportunities at the national, regional, and international level.”

George Soros, the founder and chair of the Open Society Foundations, has been a champion of the right to education since he began his international philanthropic career by funding university scholarships for Black students in South Africa in the late 1970s. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Soros moved swiftly to support the re-emergence of the critical thinking in the former Soviet bloc, funding an array of scholarships and academic exchanges, and launching Central European University, now based in Vienna, and the American University of Central Asia in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

Over the past three decades, the Open Society Foundations have promoted student-centered high-quality schooling and teacher training, while seeking to strengthen good governance and accountability across educational institutions and systems. Open Society focuses in particular on supporting students and academics whose educational opportunities are blocked by factors such as entrenched discrimination, political constraints, or the disruption of war and civil conflict, funding more than 400 scholarships and fellowships a year.

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