Eileen O’Connor



Eileen O’Connor is the senior vice president for Communications, Policy, and Advocacy, a member of the Foundation’s executive team, overseeing all government relations and strategic communications for all program priorities. Before joining the foundation, O’Connor spent her career as an attorney and award-winning journalist, serving as vice president of Yale University, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Obama administration, for South and Central Asia, and White House and foreign correspondent for CNN and ABC news. As an attorney, O’Connor specialized in complex litigation, political investigations, multi-party dispute negotiations, and crisis management in the U.S., Russia, and Ukraine.  In government, O’Connor was awarded several Superior Honor awards for her work in Afghanistan, where she was posted for 14 months, Pakistan and South and Central Asia, countering violent extremism and building democratic institutions, including a focus on women’s peace and security programs. As a journalist she earned the Peabody Award, the DuPont Award, multiple Overseas Press Club awards, an Emmy, Cable Ace, and National Headliner awards for her documentary, investigative, and war-zone coverage in the former Soviet Union, Africa, and the Middle East. Her documentary on Russian organized crime garnered a NY Film Festival Golden Eagle award.  O’Connor has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a Juris Doctor from Georgetown University, and a post-graduate Diploma in world politics, centering on Africa and the Middle East, from the London School of Economics and Political Science.  O’Connor is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, consults for the Department of Homeland Security on incident response and offers commentary to Fox, CNN, and MSNBC, as well as the New York Times and CNN.com.