IFP History

IFP Secretariat Staff in 2007IFP began with the conviction that social justice is advanced through equitable opportunities for higher education. Building on more than 50 years of international grant-making experience and a strong network of field offices and international staff, the Ford Foundation decided to create a new kind of fellowship program geared toward grassroots leaders and social innovators.

The program relied on a unique, multi-actor structure overseen by the International Fellowships Fund (IFF), a legal entity separate from the Ford Foundation that served as the principal grantee for the program. A Board of Directors comprised of experts from the higher education, government, and philanthropic sectors advised IFF. The International Fellowships Fund hosted the IFP Secretariat, based in New York, which developed global program policies and parameters. The structure was rounded out by 22 International Partners representing a wide range of local, regional, and international organizations who were responsible for local program design as well as outreach, selection, pre-academic training, and monitoring of Fellows during their study, as well as reentry programming.

Board of Directors

  • Ambassador Donald McHenry, Chair
  • Abassador Harriet Elam-Thomas
  • Pablo J. Farias
  • Victor J. Goldberg
  • Karen A. Holbrook
  • Jeannie Oakes
  • Barron M. Tenny
  • Darren Walker


  • Joan Dassin, Executive Director
  • Mary Zurbuchen, Director for Asia and Russia
  • Rob Oppegard, Director of Finance & Administration
  • Adriana Thoen, Administrative Manager
  • Barbara Wanasek, Grants Manager
  • Alan Divack, Senior Project Manager, Archives and Knowledge Management
  • Diana Whitten, Director of Communication
  • Rachel Clift, Communications Officer
  • Daniel Reisner, Multimedia and Archives Officer

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