The Ford Foundation announced it has appointed Salih Booker as its new Senior Program Officer for International Cooperation and Global Governance. In this newly created role, Mr. Booker will be responsible for launching the Foundation’s efforts to inform and convene global institutions and actors that are instrumental to addressing inequality, and will work to foster dialogue and strategic alliances among INGOs and governments around the world, with a specific focus on American foreign policy.
This appointment signals the Foundation’s next steps to broaden its global footprint and strengthen ties between actors on the international stage that play key roles in addressing issues that affect inequality and access to resources ranging from global human rights to collective responses to global crises.
“Inclusivity is the antidote to inequality, and in order to ensure a more just future for generations to come, we must mobilize ideas, institutions, and people from different backgrounds and perspectives toward a shared goal,” said Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation. “We need more skilled leaders to bring people together, not chip away at the widening gaps between us. Salih has consistently proven throughout his career that this is a mission he is ready to perform, and we have no doubt that he will accomplish even more as he starts this new endeavor.”
“Every day we face new challenges, and these challenges must be faced with cooperative, inclusive solutions that benefit all people,” said Martin Abregu, Ford Foundation Vice President of International Programs. “We are so fortunate to have Salih on board because he understands that our international governance system needs a revamp to meet the needs of the modern age, and he has the experience, dedication, and vision to build the networks that will break down barriers and spur inclusive, positive change.”
“I am thrilled to return to the Ford Foundation to take the organization’s global cooperation initiatives to the next level,” said Salih Booker. “I look forward to building bridges and strengthening bonds between the dedicated advocates and organizers that fuel movements of change with the policymakers who are ready to make a difference.”
With more than three decades experience working in international affairs and U.S. foreign policy, Booker most recently worked as the President and CEO of the Center for International Policy (CIP), where he led the organization’s work to facilitate international cooperation to promote human rights and solve global challenges — specifically addressing issues related to racism and militarism in US foreign policy.
Prior to his role at CIP, he worked as Vice President for External Relations at the U.S. Institute of Peace, an American federal institution tasked with promoting conflict resolution and prevention worldwide, where he oversaw the organization’s public outreach and communications strategy. Previously, he was the Executive Director at Africa Action, a nonprofit focused on U.S. foreign policy toward Africa.
Booker began his career focused on U.S.-Africa relations at the Washington D.C.-based advocacy group TransAfrica, later with the U.S. Congress’ Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, and then as Program Officer for the Ford Foundation’s Office for Eastern and Southern Africa. He also served as a Senior Fellow and Director of the Africa Studies Program at the Council on Foreign Relations.
He has also spent much of his career as a human rights advocate and organizer on a global scale, having served as Executive Director of the Center on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE), where he worked in 10 countries to promote the human right to adequate housing, and as Executive Director of Global Rights, where he specialized in capacity building with local organizations around the world to undertake human rights research, litigation and advocacy.
Booker has also worked as Advisor to the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission on Africa (UNECA) on urbanization in Africa; and Associate Director of Catholic Relief Services Southern Africa Regional Office.
He holds a Bachelor’s degree in African Studies and Government from Wesleyan University, and has traveled to nearly 50 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America for work—residing overseas for over 15 years.