Cambridge, MA – The Center for International Development (CID) at Harvard University has named Fatema Z. Sumar, an innovative development and public policy leader, as its new Executive Director. Sumar will work closely with CID’s Faculty Director Asim Ijaz Khwaja in running CID, ranked as one of the world’s leading university-based research centers in International Development.

“I am thrilled to welcome Fatema to CID and partner with her to tackle the world’s most pressing development challenges,” said Khwaja. “Her brilliant leadership as a practitioner fighting under-development in dozens of countries will be invaluable to further leverage CID’s world-class research and academic programs as we shift and decolonize the development paradigm.”

Sumar has a distinguished career in the US government, including appointments as the Vice President of Compact Operations at the US Millennium Challenge Corporation, Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia at the US Department of State, and Senior Professional Staff Member on the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  She also worked in civil society at Oxfam America and the American Civil Liberties Union. In 2021, Sumar published her debut book, The Development Diplomat: Working Across Borders, Boardrooms, and Bureaucracies to End Poverty.

Sumar graduated with a MPA from Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs and a BA in Government from Cornell University.  She recently received an honorary doctorate from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.  

“I am delighted to join the Harvard community,” said Sumar. “CID is on the frontlines of marrying world-class research with the pressing needs of practitioners and leaders in every region of the world. As the world faces unprecedented crises from climate to COVID, hunger to inequality, I am excited to work with CID’s dynamic faculty, students, fellows, and staff to urgently find new solutions to reduce global poverty.”