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Open Society Foundations Announce Winter 2018 New Executives Fund Recipients

NEW YORK—Eight newly appointed leaders of nonprofit organizations, in countries ranging from Mexico to South Africa, have been awarded New Executives Fund grants to help implement their vision of change, the Open Society Foundations announced today. The recipients represent a wide array of organizations focused on open society concerns, including but not limited to LGBTQ rights, conflict prevention, rule of law, and the strengthening of democratic institutions.

Since its inception in 2013, the New Executives Fund has awarded 102 grants for a total of $10,027,000. These competitive two-year awards—ranging from $20,000 to $250,000—are designed to give a new executive the flexibility to invest in the organization’s development or their own leadership.

The awards are given out twice per year. The latest grantees received their awards in late 2018 and include the following:

Akila Radhakrishnan, Global Justice Center

Akila Radhakrishnan became the president of Global Justice Center (GJC) in May 2018. GJC conducts innovative legal analysis, undertakes strategic advocacy, and builds collaborative partnerships with grassroots actors and peer organizations to ensure equal access to justice for women under the law and in practice. Radhakrishnan served in various capacities with GJC for eight years prior, including as vice president, legal director, senior counsel, staff attorney, and legal fellow. She also worked with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, DPK Consulting, and Drinker, Biddle & Reath, LLP. She has published widely on issues of international law, gender equality, and human rights.

Henry Kwasi Prempeh, Ghana Center for Democratic Development

Henry Kwasi Prempeh became executive director of the Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) in January 2018. CDD-Ghana is an independent research and advocacy institute dedicated to the promotion of democracy, good governance, and economic openness in Ghana and throughout Africa. Previously, Prempeh was a professor of law at Seton Hall University School of Law and a corporate lawyer in Washington, D.C. He served as a Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy in 2011 and as a constitutional advisor to the United Nations Special Envoy to Yemen from 2013–2014. He has taught at Central European University since 2014.

Liberty Matthyse, Gender DynamiX

Liberty Matthyse became executive director of Gender DynamiX in February 2018. Gender DynamiX is a trans-led and trans-specific human rights organization advocating for transgender rights in South Africa and southern Africa. Previously, Matthyse served as Gender DynamiX’s national legal, policy, and education officer. Before joining Gender DynamiX, Matthyse worked in various capacities at the University of the Western Cape, and served as a partner and advisor to numerous national and regional initiatives, including the South African National Aids Council, National Hate Crimes Working Group, and the United Nations Development Programme.

Lisa Sánchez, México Unido Contra la Delincuencia

Lisa Sánchez became the executive director of México Unido Contra la Delincuencia (Mexico United Against Crime or MUCD) in February 2018. MUCD is a nonpartisan organization that works to promote security, justice, and rule of law in Mexico. Before becoming executive director, Sánchez directed MUCD’s Drug Policy Programme for six years. Prior to that, she worked for the Inter American Drug Abuse Control Commission of the Organization of American States, the Mexican government, Espolea, International AIDS Society, and the Mexican Consulate in Paris, France. She is the author of several publications on drug policy and is a regular contributor to national and international media.

Maeve Cohen, Rethinking Economics

In November 2017, Maeve Cohen became the director of Rethinking Economics, an international network of students, academics, and professionals building a better economics in society and the classroom. Previously, Cohen worked with the Institute for Public Policy Research North, a progressive think tank undertaking policy research on the quality of life in North England. While a student at the University of Manchester, Cohen co-founded the Post-Crash Economics Society. Shortly after joining Rethinking Economics, Cohen created a co-directorship and became the co-director of campaigns, overseeing strategy, fundraising, and external relations for the organization.   

Masen Davis, Freedom for All Americans Education Fund

Masen Davis became the chief executive officer of Freedom for All Americans Education Fund (FFAAEF) in November 2017. FFAAEF works to unite supporters from diverse and disparate political ideologies, people of faith, and allies in making the case for comprehensive LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections in the United States. Previously, Davis was the senior director of special projects at the Gill Foundation. He also served as co-director at Global Action for Trans* Equality and executive director at Transgender Law Center, where his work was critical to the elimination of discriminatory insurance exclusions in California. Davis currently serves as steering committee co-chair of the International Trans Fund.

Robert Malley, International Crisis Group

In January 2018, Robert Malley became president and chief executive officer of International Crisis Group, an independent organization working to prevent wars and shape policies that will build a more peaceful world. Previously, Malley served in the Obama administration as special assistant to the president, senior adviser to the president for the counter-ISIL campaign, and White House coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa, and the Gulf region. He also served as special assistant to President Clinton for Arab-Israeli affairs and director for Near East and South Asian affairs at the National Security Council. Before joining the Obama administration, Malley served as International Crisis Group’s program director for the Middle East and North Africa.

Sonja Tošković, Belgrade Center for Human Rights

Sonja Tošković became the executive director of the Belgrade Center for Human Rights (BCHR) in January 2018. BCHR is Serbia’s foremost human rights organization, with the aim of advancing knowledge in the field of human rights, supporting democratic development, rule of law, and the strengthening of civil society in Serbia and the region. Tošković served in various capacities at BCHR for nine years before becoming executive director, including as head of the center’s asylum and refugee work. She has served as a consultant to the Human Rights Unit of the Office of the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Serbia, Serbia’s Gender Equality Directorate, and the United Nations of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Kosovo.

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