As CEO and President of the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), Dr. Sarah Degnan Kambou leads a global research institute that focuses on realizing gender equity, social inclusion and shared prosperity worldwide. As a business strategist, her expertise centers on planning, organizational development and change management. As a development practitioner, her expertise spans sexual and reproductive health, men and masculinities, positive youth development and social norm change. Sarah has served as an advisor to multilaterals, leading corporations and governments seeking to integrate gender into policies and programs that seek to advance the status of women and girls and other marginalized peoples around the world. A seasoned development professional, Sarah has worked in Asia, Eastern Europe and sub-Saharan Africa for the past 35 years and has recently added Washington, DC as a geography of interest. She has served ICRW for 18 years, the past 10 as its executive.
As a development practitioner, Sarah believes that research is, in and of itself, a parallel process of social change. In collaboration with ICRW’s research bench, she has evolved ICRW’s work in global health, youth and development, gender-based violence, economic empowerment and livelihoods. She has further diversified ICRW’s business offerings to include a consulting arm serving the private sector as well as a robust advocacy platform. Under her leadership, ICRW has deepened its presence in Southeast Asia and East Africa and has expanded its footprint to include The Netherlands and soon the United Kingdom.
In December 2012, President Barack Obama appointed Sarah to the President’s Global Development Council, where she served as an advisor to the Administration until January 2017. Also in 2012, former President Bill Clinton tapped Sarah to serve as an Advisor to the Clinton Global Initiative. In 2010, United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appointed Sarah to represent ICRW on the U.S. Commission to UNESCO.
Sarah is honored to have been named to apolitical’s list of global 100 for gender equality for two years running, 2018 and 2019. The University of Connecticut conferred upon Sarah the Distinguished Honors Scholar award in 2017, Boston University its Distinguished Alumna award in 2015, and Boston University’s School of Public Health its Distinguished Alumni Award in 2010. Sarah is a recipient of the Perdita Huston Human Rights Award, conferred in 2013 by the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area. In 2011, Ashoka named Sarah as a ChangemakeHER, the inaugural celebration of the world’s most influential women. Sarah is a member of the Board of Directors of Global Impact and Kalanidhi Dance, a classical Indian dance performance center.
Prior to ICRW, Sarah lived in sub-Saharan Africa for more than a decade, managing signature programs for Care International. Through her work, she focused on addressing the social and economic vulnerability of marginalized populations, strengthening civil society in post-conflict settings, and promoting participatory development of underserved urban and rural communities. Prior to her work with Care in Africa, Sarah managed the Center for International Health, which she co-founded in 1987, at the Boston University School of Public Health.
Sarah lives in Maryland with her husband.