Catherine Wiesner

Advisory Board

Catherine is a Board member of Valar Global Development, a 501(c)(3). She is a seasoned Africa expert with 20 years of experience serving in numerous strategic capacities on the continent and in Washington D.C. Catherine served 8 years in the US Government, first as Principal Director to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs at the Pentagon (2009-2012) and then Deputy Assistant Secretary for Population, Refugees and Migration at the Department of State (2012-2017) where she was responsible for the Offices of Assistance Programs for Africa, Multilateral Coordination and External Relations, and International Migration Policy. While at the Department of State, she led cross-Bureau efforts to respond to the global refugee and migration crisis, including as a chief architect of President Obama’s Leaders’ Summit on Refugees at the United Nations in 2016.

Throughout her government service, Catherine has been involved in the full range of Somalia policy and program developments. While at the Pentagon, she oversaw Department of Defense action on stabilization, security assistance and defense sector reform in Somalia in coordination with the Department of State. Attention to the humanitarian impact of military offensives and ensuing population movements has been a theme of policy engagement throughout her tenure at both the Department of Defense and State. Catherine holds a BA in Comparative Area Studies from Duke University and an MPP in International Security & Political Economy from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

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