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Newsroom Press release

Open Society Shapes Leadership Team to Steer Global Priorities

NEW YORK—The Open Society Foundations have announced four directors for their new Global Programs, continuing a drive to strengthen their impact around the world in promoting and defending Justice, Equity, and Expression.

The new Global Programs team will be responsible for directing Open Society’s global priorities, working in close coordination with the leadership of its six regional offices in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe and Eurasia, Asia Pacific, Africa, and the Middle East.

“These four individuals all bring deep experience both inside and outside the Open Society Foundations,” said Salil Shetty, vice president of Global Programs. “As we institute a new organizational structure that puts our regional offices at the heart of our strategy, it will be vital that we have a team at the center that can coordinate, respond, and direct our priorities at a global level.”

Brian Kagoro, Director, Justice and Intersectionality. Currently the director of programs for our Africa Regional Office, Brian brings more than 24 years of strategic leadership experience across international, regional, and intergovernmental organizations, such as the United Nations Development Program, ActionAid International, and several African Union institutions. In this new role, Brian will guide Open Society’s work at the global level to advance democratic freedoms and ensure accountability for human rights abuses. He will lead the strategy design to enable us to redress abuses of power that undermine democratic practices and rights, and secure equal rights and their recognition in law and policy for underserved communities.

Mary Fitzgerald, Director, Expression. As director of the Open Society Information Democracy program, Fitzgerald was recently appointed to lead on our global work to support high-quality journalism, help build new media business models, and hold big tech accountable across social platforms and emerging technology. In this new role, she will further build on this work and provide a bold and comprehensive vision for the Global Programs’ work on Expression that effectively leverages our resources to foster vibrant public debate, artistic expression, and education; strengthens and helps to rebuild our media ecosystem; and advances cultural and academic freedom 

Emily Martinez, Director, Initiatives. As director of the Open Society Human Rights Initiative, Martinez's strong programmatic leadership and expertise has already been an enormous asset in helping to shape our global approach during this organizational transformation. She brings extensive experience in human rights and equality, alongside a deep understanding of civil society’s role in promoting the rule of law, challenging discrimination and exclusion, and holding governments accountable.

Gregory Maniatis, Director, Office of the Vice President for Global Programs. As director of the Open Society International Migration Initiative, Maniatis has been a recognized leader within and outside the Open Society network thanks to his team’s innovative approaches to improving protections for refugees, mitigating the exploitation of migrant workers, and building multi-sectoral partnerships to advance systemic change. In this role, Maniatis will serve as the principal representative of the vice president for Global Programs, as a thought partner to Global Programs colleagues on the development and implementation of global strategies, and he will lead special projects and crisis response.

All four will report to Salil Shetty, vice president for Global Programs, alongside Yamide Dagnet, whose appointment as climate justice director was announced earlier this month. An additional Global Programs position of director of Equity remains under recruitment. Fitzgerald, Maniatis, and Martinez will continue to lead our Information Democracy, Human Rights Initiative, and International Migration Initiative work, respectively, to ensure a smooth transition until these thematic programs come to a close.

Open Society announced earlier this year that going forward, our global priorities will fall under three enduring commitments that have underpinned the vision of Founder and Chair George Soros since he began his philanthropic work over 30 years ago.

  • Justice—We will seek to hold governments accountable in upholding the rights of all citizens, ensure intersectional justice, protect dissent and activism, and resource innovations to challenge elected authoritarianism.
  • Equity—We will seek to advance an effective and just financial recovery, promote fiscal justice through effective tax and anticorruption policy, strengthen systems for social protection and resourcing for essential public services, replace punitive drug policies to limit harm, and develop new models for refugee protection.
  • Expression—Our work in this area will recognize that around the world, the abuse and misuse of narratives, culture, and information have too often become tools for limiting public debate, deepening divisions, and spreading disinformation and misinformation, and we will seek to deploy new tactics to counter these issues. 

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