Thought leaders

Oxfam America’s staff are available for comment and background briefings for the media on a wide range of issues. Please contact any member of the media team listed on this page.

  1. Abby Maxman

    President & CEO, Oxfam America

    Abby Maxman joined Oxfam America as president and CEO in 2017. With more than 30 years of experience in international humanitarian relief and development, she brings a strategic focus on addressing the policies and systems that perpetuate global poverty. Maxman has particular experience in gender and power in social change; humanitarian preparedness and response; and organizational development, behavior and culture. Throughout her career she has also focused on prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse within the aid sector, and currently plays an important role within the Oxfam Confederation and among US-based NGOs to improve safeguarding practices. 

    Prior to joining Oxfam, Maxman served as Deputy Secretary General of CARE International in Geneva, providing leadership across the CARE confederation. She previously served as Vice President of International Programs and Operations for CAREUSA, and in other country and regional leadership roles in Africa, Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East.

    Before CARE, Maxman had assignments with the U.S. Peace Corps, German Agency for Technical Cooperation, UN World Food Programme, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. She has a Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science from Colorado College and a Masters of International Administration from The School for International Training in Brattleboro, Vermont.

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  2. Isra Chaker

    Migration and Protection Campaign Lead

    Isra Chaker leads Oxfam America’s Migration and Protection Campaign, managing a dynamic team that works to defend and support refugees, Temporary Protected Status holders, and asylum-seekers. Isra leads efforts to influence public opinion and policymakers, often collaborating with NGO coalitions and partners across multiple sectors.

    Isra previously served as the Advocacy and Outreach Coordinator at Syria Relief and Development; a humanitarian NGO working in Syria, where she consulted on gender justice and spoke at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Isra is an appointed Global Ambassador for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency USA (UNRWA) and an active social media influencer, reaching more than 200,000 people of people on her platform, @Israspeaks.

    Isra has been interviewed on Democracy Now, ABC News, Al Jazeera, CNN, the Associated Press, AJ+, and NowThis, among others. She was recently chosen by the Amplifier Foundation as one of the ten faces of the We the Future campaign, which will bring educational resources on social justice topics into more than 20,000 schools across the country.

    From 2008-2012, Isra served as a Fellow and grassroots organizer for President Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns in Colorado. Isra received her bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the University of Colorado Boulder and her master’s degree in Global Affairs and Public Policy from George Mason University.

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  3. Barbara Durr

    Director of Strategic Partnerships, Executive Office

    Barbara joined Oxfam America in 2010, after a 15-year career with CARE. She is currently Director of Strategic Partnerships under President and CEO Abby Maxman, covering Abby’s external relationships and exploring innovative partnerships and sources of earned revenue.

    Previously, Barbara was interim director in 2016 for the Accountable Development Finance team, and before that for six years she was Deputy to the Vice President of Policy and Campaigns. She is based in Washington, DC, and a member of the OA Executive Group. During her years at CARE, she held a variety of posts including Director of Internal Communications and Director of Research and Documentation. Prior to that she was a journalist, reporting for The Financial Times of London and CBS News Radio, among others, and was an editor for National Public Radio's All Things Considered.

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  4. Ian Gary

    Director, Accountable Development Finance

    Ian Gary directs Oxfam America’s policy, advocacy and program work focused on promoting transparent and accountable financial flows – for example from taxes, foreign aid or oil and mining revenues – to fight poverty and reduce inequality.

    Previously he was Senior Policy Manager – Extractive Industries, at Oxfam America. He has authored Oxfam's report, Ghana's Big Test: Oil's Challenge to Democratic Development (2009) and has co-authored many other reports and papers on the oil and gas sector in the developing world. He has been a leader in the fight to bring more transparency to oil and mining corporate payments to host governments and has been instrumental in the passage and implementation of US legislation requiring payment disclosure.

    Gary has testified before Congress and has given presentations at venues including the World Bank, Royal Institute of International Affairs, United Nations, US State Department, and Harvard University. Gary is a frequent commentator in the media including The New York Times, The Washington Post Financial Times, BBC, and NPR. He holds an MA in the politics of international resources and development from the University of Leeds.

    Prior to joining Oxfam in 2005, Gary held positions with the Ford Foundation, Catholic Relief Services and other international development organizations in the US and Africa. He has conducted field work in more than 20 developing countries.

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  5. Gawain Kripke

    Director of Policy

    Gawain Kripke is the director of policy and research at Oxfam America and has more than 20 years of experience working on public policy and advocacy issues. His department conducts research and policy advocacy focusing on the effectiveness of foreign aid and development, climate change, trade and agriculture, humanitarian issues, and extractive industries.

    Kripke is a frequent commentator on foreign aid, human rights, humanitarian issues, and agricultural policies in major news media, including The New York Times, CNN, NPR, BBC World News, and Marketplace. In addition, he has testified before Congressional committees.

    At Oxfam, Kripke previously served as senior policy advisor on Oxfam's Make Trade Fair campaign, which aims to reform unfair trade rules so that international trade can become a powerful force for reducing global poverty.

    Before joining Oxfam, he served as director of economic programs for the environmental organization Friends of the Earth. Kripke earned a BA in government from Harvard College, and has authored numerous opinion pieces and briefing papers on trade and development issues.

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  6. Carlos E Mejia

    Humanitarian Change Goal Manager

    Carlos works with Oxfam to develop effective leadership among local humanitarian actors in Sudan, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Peru and Central America as part of Oxfam’s core strategy to transform the humanitarian system. Carlos is an international humanitarian expert with over 20 years of experience leading programs and teams to effect strategic aid worldwide.

    Before joining Oxfam, he served as Deputy Program and Operations Manager for Save the Children. Carlos has spent time in numerous conflict and disaster areas including South Sudan, Colombia, Ethiopia, China, Kosovo, and Yemen. Carlos was the Helen Hamlyn Senior Fellow at the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs at Fordham University in New York. He also worked for the Jesuit Refugee Service and American Friends Service Committee.

    Carlos received his BAs in Theology and Philosophy and a MA in Theology from Javeriana University in Bogota, Colombia. He has numerous publications to his credit including Amor y Gracia; A Theological Approach to the Humanitarian Crisis of Displaced Communities in Colombia and Mapmakers of Life, a basic manual for humanitarian workers, among others.

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  7. Muthoni Muriu

    Senior Director of International Programs

    As senior director of Oxfam America’s international programs department, Muthoni leads the organization’s efforts to design innovative, effective programs that reduce poverty and achieve lasting change. Muthoni’s passion for social justice issues began when she witnessed poverty and injustice as a young activist in Kenya, and has guided her through more than 20 years of international development work.

    Before joining Oxfam in 2001, Muthoni worked with various regional organizations in Africa, focusing on international policy and development. She is passionate about continuous learning and leading through service. Affiliated with various international non-profits, she currently serves as vice chairwoman on the board of the Partnership for Transparency Fund. Muthoni holds a BSc in Politics and International Relations from the London School of Political Science and Economics and an MSc in Public Policy and Management from the University of London. Originally from Kenya, she is fluent in English, French, Kiswahili, and Kikuyu.

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  8. Paul O'Brien

    Vice President for Policy and Advocacy

    Paul O'Brien is the Vice President for Policy and Advocacy at Oxfam America where he oversees our research, policy, advocacy, and campaigning work to influence the US government and US corporations. Before joining Oxfam in 2007, he lived in Afghanistan for five years where he worked in the office of the President and the Ministry of Finance as an advisor on aid coordination, development planning, and policy reform. Prior to that, he worked for CARE International as their Afghanistan Advocacy Coordinator and Africa Policy Advisor.

    Previously, Paul was the President of the Echoing Green Foundation and a litigator in New York for Cravath, Swaine and Moore. He is the co-founder of the Legal Resources Foundation in Kenya and the founder of the Human Rights Research and Advocacy Consortium in Afghanistan, both of which are thriving organizations today. Paul has juris doctorate from Harvard Law School and has published on humanitarian policy, human rights, and emerging trends in development.

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  9. Scott Paul

    Humanitarian Policy Lead

    Scott Paul leads Oxfam America’s policy advocacy on a number of emergencies and cross-cutting humanitarian issues. During his tenure at Oxfam, Paul has spearheaded the organization’s work on a number of acute crises, including those in Yemen, Somalia, Nigeria, Myanmar, and Bangladesh. His advocacy in these emergencies often focuses on the political drivers of violence and vulnerability, as well as the financial exclusion of vulnerable individuals and the remittance companies and charities that serve them.

    Paul is a frequent media commentator with outlets including the New York Times, Washington Post, Foreign Policy, and Al Jazeera and has testified before Congress. His published work focuses on international humanitarian law, the use of force, and bank de-risking, among other issues. Apart from his work on humanitarian emergencies, Paul is also responsible for formulating Oxfam America’s approach to US foreign policy as it relates to multilateralism and global governance.

    Before joining Oxfam, Paul was the UN representative for CIVIC and led campaigns at Citizens for Global Solutions to strengthen the US government’s commitment to international cooperation and the rule of law. As a student and young professional, he was a co-founder and the first Chair of SustainUS. Paul graduated from New York University Law School and did his undergraduate work at Columbia University and St. Petersburg State University.

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  10. Kimberly Pfeifer

    Head of Research

    Kimberly Pfeifer is the Head of Research at Oxfam America, where she oversees the production of research and trends analysis. She serves as the editor of Oxfam America's Research Backgrounder Series and is a member of the organization’s Gender Resource Group. Kimberly co-founded and co-leads the Oxfam Confederation’s Research Network.

    She has written a number of Oxfam International Policy Briefing Papers focused on trade and agricultural issues, and has managed numerous research projects, including on issues of biotechnology, the future of agriculture, food security, agricultural innovation, trade, extractive industries, and economic inequality.

    Prior to joining Oxfam, Kimberly worked for the AFL-CIO as a researcher with the Center for Strategic Research in Corporate Affairs. She has also worked for the Aga Khan Foundation in Zanzibar, Tanzania. While in Tanzania, Kimberly held a Research Fellowship with the Institute of Development Studies, University of Dar es Salaam. She received her MA and PhD from the University of Florida in Political Science and African Studies. She has a number of publications and papers critiquing models of development, and on land and natural resource politics.

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  11. Shannon Scribner

    Humanitarian Policy Manager

    Shannon Scribner has been with Oxfam America since 2003 and is currently leading the humanitarian policy team in Washington, DC. She has worked on Oxfam’s humanitarian responses in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Ethiopia, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other countries.

    In 2009, Scribner testified on the US strategy in Somalia before the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Africa. Scribner was also invited to present the nongovernmental organization perspective at the Obama administration’s policy review on Somalia at the National Defense University in 2010.

    From 1997 to 1999, Scribner served as a Peace Corps health care volunteer in a small, rural village in the Republic of Zambia. Following that, she earned a master’s degree in public administration from American University and worked at Amnesty International USA.

    She has been interviewed on a range of humanitarian topics for The Christian Science Monitor, Congressional Quarterly, NPR, PBS, and Fox News.

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  12. Robbie Silverman

    Senior Advisor, Private Sector Department

    Robbie Silverman is a Senior Advisor for Oxfam America’s Private Sector Department, where he leads engagements with for-profit corporations to advance Oxfam’s mission to combat poverty, hunger, and injustice worldwide. Robbie works on the strategy and implementation of Oxfam’s global “Even it Up” campaign against inequality, with a particular focus on stopping corporate tax avoidance.

    During his time at Oxfam, Robbie led company engagement in a campaign seeking to improve health and safety conditions for US poultry workers, worked to set up a new impact investing fund to support women entrepreneurs in Guatemala, and, in partnership with major food growers and retailers, launched a new certification label, the Equitable Food Initiative, to support the rights of US farmworkers.

    Prior to Oxfam, Robbie spent several years working on affordable housing policy in the United States, pushing for inclusionary zoning and supportive housing in New York City and advocating for policies to prevent evictions and foreclosures as a Skadden Legal Fellow in Chicago. He holds a BA and MBA from Harvard and a JD from Yale.

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  13. Minor Sinclair

    Director, US Regional Office

    Minor Sinclair directs Oxfam’s US regional office and the domestic program on Decent Work, which seeks policy and workplace solutions for low-wage workers in America’s food system. He serves as co-chair of the Equitable Food Initiative, a consortium of major food buyers, growers, farm worker groups and consumer advocates working to improve working conditions and food safety.

    Prior to his current role, Minor co-founded Oxfam International’s Cuba office and worked for many years on human rights and global issues including overseas service with the Mennonite Central Committee.

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  14. Fatema Z. Sumar

    Vice President of Global Programs

    Fatema Z. Sumar joined Oxfam America in 2018 as Vice President of Global Programs, where she oversees our regional development and humanitarian response programs. Fatema comes to Oxfam with a distinguished career in the U.S. government, leading U.S. efforts to advance sustainable development and economic policy in emerging markets and fragile countries. Most recently, she served as Regional Deputy Vice President for Europe, Asia, Pacific, and Latin America at the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), where she managed investments focused on international growth and poverty reduction. Prior to MCC, she served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia at the U.S. Department of State and as a Senior Professional Staff Member on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

    Fatema holds a Master’s in Public Affairs from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School and a Bachelor of Arts in Government from Cornell University. She studied abroad at the American University in Cairo.

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  15. Irit Tamir

    Director, Private Sector Department

    Irit Tamir is the Director of Oxfam America's Private Sector Department. In her role, she is focused on working with companies to ensure that their business practices result in positive social and environmental impacts for vulnerable communities throughout the world. Irit leads Oxfam America’s work on business and development including shareholder engagement, value chain assessments, and collaborative advocacy initiatives, such as the successful “Behind the Brands” campaign.

    Irit is co-author of Community Voice in Human Rights Impact Assessments and has contributed to numerous reports at Oxfam focused on business and human rights issues. She is a frequent commentator on agricultural policies, labor, human rights and their intersection with business in major news outlets including NPR, The Guardian, and the New York Times.

    Tamir has a JD from Boston College Law School and a master’s in international law from the University of Miami Law School where she was a Ford Foundation fellow. A devoted human rights activist, she has spoken publicly about human rights, climate resilience, and the food system. Tamir has had years of experience in government relations and is a former prosecutor who supervised civil rights prosecutions and hate crimes.

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  16. Sasanka Thilakasiri

    Senior Policy Advisor, Climate Change and Energy

    Sasanka Thilakasiri is a Senior Policy Advisor for Climate Change and Energy at Oxfam America. He works on issues of energy poverty and clean energy access, in shifting international financing towards more pro-poor clean energy investments. He is the energy policy lead for Oxfam International and co-led the development of organization’s global energy policy. Previously he was Oxfam International’s economic justice policy lead for international financial institutions, leading on advocacy efforts toward the World Bank Group and IMF on climate, energy, land and agriculture.

    Prior to joining Oxfam, he worked at The Energy and Resources Institute in New Delhi, working on domestic climate policy, industrial energy efficiency, and distributed rural off-grid renewable energy projects, as well as the international UNFCCC negotiations. He has also has extensive experience in the Australian mining sector having worked on environmental and energy policy and projects. He received a Master’s of Natural Systems Engineering from the University of Western Australia in 2008 and a Bachelor’s of Chemical Engineering from Curtin University of Technology in 2002.

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