Refugees International Announces New Board Leadership

WASHINGTON—Refugees International announced today the election of Jeffrey Tindell and Natacha Weiss as co-chairs of its board of directors. Tindell and Weiss will serve as co-chairs following the distinguished tenure of Eileen Shields-West as board chair since 2010.  

“I am honored to stand beside Jeff and Natacha as leaders of Refugees International as we fulfill our organization’s solemn obligation to advocate for the rights of refugees and displaced people around the world,” said Refugees International President Eric Schwartz. “With their new leadership at the helm, I know we will continue to widen the breadth and depth of our advocacy work, building on the extraordinary contributions and years of dedication of our outgoing chair.” 

Natacha Weiss has served on Refugees International’s board of directors as Program Chair since 2004 and has been a Field Coordinator for World Connect, a grassroots international development organization, since 2017. Before that, Weiss worked as an advocate for Refugees International from 1995 to 2000 in the Great Lake region of Africa and in West Africa. In 2001, she founded “American Friends of the Bambi Homes Colombia,” a foundation for abandoned children in Colombia, and served as the organization’s president from 2001 to 2011. She also helped found Surgeons Overseas (SOS) in 2007, an organization aimed at advancing surgical capacity in developing countries. Weiss is an expert on development impact analysis with a special focus on gender. 

“After more than two decades of advocacy with Refugees International, I am honored to take on this new role as co-chair alongside Jeff,” Weiss said.  

Jeffrey Tindell has long been a core supporter of Refugees International’s efforts and has served on its board since 2011, including as the board’s treasurer. Tindell was a partner in the New York law firm Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP, where he practiced law in mergers and acquisitions for 35 years. His legal work has spanned many industries, including mining, gaming, beverage, oil, and insurance.  

“Refugees International’s work and mission is more critical by the day as humanitarian need around the world and the scope of displacement are at record levels,” Tindell said. “More than anything, Natacha and I deeply appreciate the commitment and esprit of the RI Staff and are grateful for Eric's sincere devotion to Refugees International’s continued growth.”

The board also elected Darya Nasr and Joanne Leedom-Ackerman as vice co-chairs, Vaithehi Muttulingam as treasurer, and Tatiana Maxwell as secretary. Refugees International is also pleased to welcome new board members Elena Kvochko, Farah Kathwari, and Andrea Lari.  

Refugees International advocates for lifesaving assistance and protection for displaced people and promotes solutions to displacement crises around the world. It does not accept any government or UN funding, ensuring the independence and credibility of its work. 

For press inquiries, contact Refugees International Director of Communications Chris Allbritton at or +1 305 741 9886.