President of Oxfam to Address U.S. Foreign Aid During IPJ Distinguished Lecture

Disaster relief has been in the forefront of the news since an earthquake destroyed parts of Haiti on January 12. The death toll after the 7.0 earthquake is believed to be more than 150,000, with more than 1 million left homeless. The United States and other countries have been called upon to lead recovery efforts for those injured and misplaced and to assist with the rebuilding of this torn country.

Raymond Offenheiser, president of Boston-based Oxfam America, will address this issue and other U.S. foreign aid concerns as a Joan B. Kroc Distinguished Lecture speaker at 7 p.m., Feb. 25, at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice Theatre.  Offenheiser will discuss “Aid That Works: Creating a 21st Century Vision for U.S. Development Assistance.”  Oxfam America, an international relief and development organization, has continuously worked to create lasting solutions to poverty, hunger and injustice. The DLS Speaker Series is free and open to the public. Because events frequently fill up, it is suggested that participants register before Feb. 18 at

In a statement released after President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address, Offenheiser said the U.S. is headed in the right direction regarding the crisis in Haiti, but that more needs to be done.

"The increased attention to Haiti has exposed a history of inadequate and contradictory development assistance policies,” he said. “Responding to the crisis in Haiti should be the catalyst for the key reforms needed to increase the effectiveness of the US foreign aid system in reducing poverty. The Administration is moving in right direction but greater commitment is needed to aid and development policy reform.”

Offenheiser has led Oxfam America for thirteen years. During his tenure, he has overseen the growth of the organization from a small non-profit agency into a recognized world leader in the global social justice movement.  Under his direction, Oxfam America has increased its annual budget fivefold to $75 million.

Offenheiser recently joined a high level group of think tanks to promote the modernization of foreign assistance. The intent is to replace the Kennedy and Cold War era vision for American aid with a new strategy, mandate, legislation and structure to guide America’s international aid efforts into the 21st century. 

Before joining Oxfam America, Offenheiser served for five years as the Ford Foundation Representative in Bangladesh and, prior to that, in the Andean and Southern Cone regions of South America. He has also directed programs for the Inter-American Foundation in both Brazil and Colombia and worked for Save the Children Federation in Mexico.

With more than 30 years of work in the field of international agricultural development, Offenheiser is active as member and advisor to numerous organizations on issues of food security, climate change, trade reform and sustainable development including the World Agricultural Forum, Biovision, World Fish Center and the Green Group of leading environmental CEOs.   He is currently the Honorary President of Wetlands International.

Offenheiser is available to address such issues as foreign aid, international debt, human rights, humanitarian crises and global trade policies. He has appeared in programs on major US news networks as well as BBC and CNN International and has been a quoted source in the New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe and numerous other major newspapers. 

About the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice

The Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice (IPJ) is beginning its ninth year of its mission to foster peace, cultivate justice, and create a safer world. Since 2000, the IPJ has been in the field working with local partners in conflict-affected countries such as Nepal, Guatemala, Uganda and Sierra Leone to bring together governments, the military, human rights advocates, and civil society, particularly marginalized groups, to address the inequalities that fuel conflict and find paths to sustainable peace. Through dialogue, training, negotiations and advocacy, the Institute includes social justice in peace processes in order to prevent a cycle of violence.

As part of the University of San Diego's Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, the Institute employs best practices in peacebuilding and uses its experience on the ground to inform academics and practitioners on effective peacebuilding strategies and techniques.

About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego sets the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative Changemakers confront humanity’s urgent challenges. With more than 8,000 students from 75 countries and 44 states, USD is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States. USD’s eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. USD recently concluded our successful $317M Leading Change: The Campaign for USD, which represented the most ambitious fundraising effort in the history of the university. In September 2016, USD introduced Envisioning 2024, a strategic plan that capitalizes on the university’s recent progress and aligns new strategic goals with current strengths to help shape a vision for the future as the university looks ahead to its 75th anniversary in the year 2024.