World Affairs Council CEO Jane Wales Joins Aspen Institute

February 8, 2008  • Institute Contributor

World Affairs Council CEO Jane Wales Joins Aspen Institute
Named Vice President, Philanthropy and Society, And Executive Director, Nonprofit Sector and Philanthropy Program

Washington, DC, February 8, 2008–The Aspen Institute today announced the appointment of Jane Wales as Vice President, Philanthropy and Society, and Executive Director of the Nonprofit Sector and Philanthropy Program, effective March 3, 2008. Wales is President and CEO of the World Affairs Council of Northern California, headquartered in San Francisco, and she is co-founder of the Global Philanthropy Forum (GPF), a path-breaking and fast-growing network of donors and social investors committed to international causes.

While assuming this new role, Wales will continue as CEO of the Council and the Global Philanthropy Forum. She will also continue to host and moderate the nationally syndicated National Public Radio interview show, It’s Your World, broadcast by KQED-FM.

“Collaboration is the hallmark of the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors. I look forward to this opportunity to marry the work of the Aspen Institute’s research and policy program to a growing community of philanthropists in Silicon Valley and worldwide,” said Jane Wales. “At the Global Philanthropy Forum, we are dedicated to building a community of donors and helping to inform and enhance the strategic nature of their giving. Aspen’s research and policy program will add an important dimension to this work. Its seminars will allow donors to gain greater insight into the values that animate their work. And through its engagement of policymakers, it can help ensure an environment that allows the nonprofit sector to be forever innovative and increasingly robust.”

As Vice President of Philanthropy and Society and Executive Director of the Nonprofit Sector and Philanthropy Program, Wales will manage a broad range of programs aimed at improving the effectiveness of nonprofit organizations and philanthropy through research, leadership and communications. Wales will also play a cross-Institute role, prompting dialogue and other interactions among programs at the Institute and within the philanthropic sector.

Wales has devoted her career to advancing the citizen sector’s policy role, as a grant-maker, nonprofit leader and governmental policymaker. She served as the Senior Director of the National Security Council and the Associate Director for National Security and International Affairs of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. She also chaired the international security programs at the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the W. Alton Jones Foundation, and directed the Rockefeller brothers’ Fund’s Project on World Security. Along with creating both the Global Philanthropy Forum and North American Forum, she also was National Executive Director of Physicians for Social Responsibility, which shared in the Nobel Peace Prize during her tenure. Wales serves as Interim Co-Director of The Elders, founded by Nelson Mandela and Graca Machel.

Alan Abramson, who led the Nonprofit Sector and Philanthropy Program (NSPP) for 11 years, stepped down in January, and will remain with the program as a Senior Fellow. Cinthia Schuman Ottinger has served as Interim Director and will resume her position as Deputy Director in early March.

“All of us at the Institute appreciate the work that Alan has accomplished with NSPP and his leadership over the past decade, and we thank Cinthia for her time and effort as interim director as we undertook our nationwide search to find Alan’s replacement,” said Walter Isaacson, President and CEO of the Aspen Institute. “Jane’s wealth of experience in the nonprofit and philanthropy world is unmatched, and we could not be more pleased that she’ll be joining us.”

The Nonprofit Sector and Philanthropy Program was founded in 1991 to improve the operation of the nonprofit sector through research and dialogue focused on public policy, management, and other critical issues affecting nonprofit organizations and philanthropies. For additional information about NSPP, please contact the program’s deputy director, Cinthia Schuman Ottinger, at 202-736-5811 or In addition, more information on NSPP can be found at   

The World Affairs Council is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization dedicated to engaging the public in international issues. It hosts over 200 public programs each year at its San Francisco headquarters just off Union Square, and at its chapters throughout Northern California. It was founded in 1947 after the signing of the United Nations charter. It recently hosted UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in San Francisco.

The Aspen Institute, founded in 1950, is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering enlightened leadership and open-minded dialogue. Through seminars, policy programs, conferences and leadership development initiatives, the Institute and its international partners seek to promote nonpartisan inquiry and an appreciation for timeless values. The Institute is headquartered in Washington, DC, and has campuses in Aspen, Colorado, and on the Wye River near the shores of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. Its international network includes partner Aspen Institutes in Berlin, Rome, Lyon, Tokyo, New Delhi, and Bucharest, and leadership initiatives in Africa, Central America, and India.



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