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Humanitarian response, USAID policy reform, global outbreak preparedness
Jeremy Konyndyk is a senior policy fellow at the Center for Global Development. His research focuses on humanitarian response, USAID policy reform, and global outbreak preparedness.
He previously served in the Obama Administration from 2013-2017 as the director of USAID’s Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), where he led the US government’s response to international disasters. Konyndyk led a global team of nearly 600 humanitarian professionals, managed annual resources of more than $1.4 billion, and oversaw OFDA’s responses to an average of 70 disasters in 50 countries every year. He led major US government humanitarian responses to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the 2016 Ethiopia Drought, the complex emergency in Northern Nigeria, the Nepal earthquake, the Iraq crisis, Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, the conflict in South Sudan, and the ongoing war inside Syria, among other crises. He also led the Agency’s preparations for the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit.
Konyndyk previously worked for Mercy Corps as director of Global Policy and Advocacy. From 2008-2013, he led the organization’s high-level strategic outreach to governments, donors, the United Nations, and other partners. From 2003-2008, he served as the American Refugee Committee’s country director in South Sudan, Uganda, and Guinea, designing and leading humanitarian responses in conflict and post-conflict settings. Konyndyk earlier worked with the US Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, and for an NGO in the Balkans.
He is currently a member of the World Health Organization’s high level Independent Oversight and Advisory Committee, which oversees the agency’s Health Emergencies Programme. Previously, he served on the independent Advisory Group to the WHO Director General that helped to design the agency’s post-Ebola emergency response reforms.
Consider this statement: Science knows how to deal with a pandemic outbreak, but policy gets in the way. That was how we framed a recent event at CGD with key people who led the US government’s response to the Ebola outbreak in 2014. Drawing from that event, this podcast brings you some ideas of how to improve the global system of response and increase our preparedness for the next inevitable outbreak. Speakers include Jeremy Konyndyk, Amy Pope, David Smith, Rebecca Martin, and Amanda Glassman.
After months of speculation inside the foreign aid community, President Trump’s vision for development assistance is coming into clearer focus. Foreign Policy this week published a leaked copy of an Administration planning document on the FY2018 foreign aid budget request. The bottom line: less aid, done less effectively. Here are a few major takeaways from the document.
Long-simmering conflict in Myanmar’s Rakhine state has exploded in recent weeks, leading to the rapid flight of more than 400,000 members of the country’s Rohingya population into neighboring Bangladesh. The pace of this flight has few precedents in recent history, faster even than the massive flight of Albanians from Kosovo during the 1999 war. The Rohingya are fleeing what appears to be a conscious campaign of violence by Myanmar’s security forces, in what numerous observers argue constitutes a policy of ethnic cleansing. Those who have survived the violence and escaped to Bangladesh face enormous humanitarian needs, and uncertain prospects for ever returning to their now-razed villages and homes. Refugees International, Human Rights Watch, and numerous other agencies are assessing and documenting the violence and have deployed personnel to the border region to interview survivors.
With Hurricane Irma now pushing a devastating path through the Caribbean, USAID is gearing up to do what it does best. Its Disaster Assistance Response Teams (DARTs) do amazing work—deploying rapidly in the wake of natural hazards like hurricanes and often bringing the logistical might of the US military with them. These teams go in big and fast to save lives, distribute food, set up emergency shelter, and prevent secondary impacts like disease outbreaks. But then things begin to falter.