Refugees International Welcomes New President Jeremy Konyndyk

Konyndyk brings decades of experience in humanitarian practice and advocacy 

WASHINGTON—Refugees International is excited to announce Jeremy Konyndyk as its next president. A career-long humanitarian operator and advocate for displaced people, Konyndyk served over the past two years as the Executive Director of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) COVID-19 Task Force and a Senior Advisor to USAID Administrator Samantha Power. 

“I am thrilled and humbled at the opportunity to lead this incredible organization,” said Konyndyk. “The global refugee and asylum commitments enshrined following the second world war face growing risks—and the next decade will be pivotal to either safeguarding them or seeing them falter. In recent years we have seen an abrupt weakening of global political support for refugees and asylum-seekers, increasing demagoguery and punitive treatment toward people seeking safety, and widespread attacks on humanitarian action. Meanwhile the world’s outdated model of humanitarian relief is increasingly struggling to keep pace with overlapping emergencies. 

Refugees International’s advocacy with and for refugees and forcibly displaced people has never been more vital. I am eager to build on the organization’s long legacy of expertise and vocal leadership, while developing new partnerships and approaches for the years ahead. The challenges of the next decade call for smart policy solutions—but also for building new coalitions to reinforce global political and public support for asylum and humanitarian action.”

Konyndyk previously served from 2013-2017 as the Director of USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) and oversaw the U.S. government’s humanitarian OFDA’s global programs and responses to dozens of disasters in countries around the world, including the U.S. government’s humanitarian responses to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the war in Syria, the 2015 Nepal earthquake, the 2014-15 Iraq crisis, Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, the conflict in South Sudan, the 2016 drought in the Horn of Africa, and numerous others.

Between his service in government, Konyndyk was a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, where his humanitarian research focused on re-centering humanitarian power dynamics around crisis-affected people. He also researched pandemic preparedness and commented widely on the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier in his career, Konyndyk served as a policy and practice leader at NGOs including Mercy Corps and the American Refugee Committee, and served as a refugee officer in the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration at the U.S. State Department.

“Jeremy is a world-class leader and thinker on one of the most critical issues of our lifetime: the forced displacement of more than 100 million people worldwide—and the need for global policies that not only protect them but enable them to thrive,” said interim Refugees International President Maureen White. Added board co-chair Jeffrey Tindell, “His deep knowledge of U.S. policymaking, ability to lead diverse teams, and optimistic vision for the future of humanitarian response and displacement policy will lead Refugees International into a bold, new chapter, building on the institution’s decades-long legacy of excellence.” 

Konyndyk has an MS in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and a BA in History & Classical Civilizations from Calvin College.

His appointment with Refugees International will begin in early 2023. 

For more information, please contact Refugees International Vice President for Strategic Outreach Sarah Sheffer at or +1 202 540 7029.