OGP Selects Linda Frey to Be New Executive Director

31 October 2012

The Open Government Partnership Oct. 31 announced that Linda Frey of the Hewlett Foundation will be the new OGP Executive Director.

The same announcement also says Joseph Foti is the OGP’s Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) Program Manager. (See previous FreedomInfo.org report.)

Further expansion is in the offing. Job postings are now on the OGP website for a deputy director and a program associate.  Frey will replace Julie McCarthy, OGP’s current director. The OGP’s main office willl be in the new OpenGovHubin Washington, D.C. In addition, Hivos is looking to hire a “Learning Officer” to assist the OGP Civil Society Coordinator.

Frey, who will begin Jan. 3, 2013, she has been a program officer for Hewlett’s global development and population program since 2004. She manages is the “Think Tank Initiative,” designed to help create research institutions in the developing world.

This effort, announced in May 2009, is explained by Frey in an interview on the Hewlett website.

A July 2009 Hewlett press release says Hewlett, Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC ), and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation were giving $30 million in grants to 24 independent policy think tanks in East and West Africa. “The three donors have committed a total of $90 million to what they intend to be a long-term commitment to this African initiative.” The release states, “The funds are part of a total of $100 million over ten years that the Hewlett Board of Directors approved in 2006 for work to support think tanks in the developing world.”

Frey Previously Worked at NDI

Her bio on the Hewlett Website states:

Since 2005, Linda has managed a growing portfolio of grants to promote transparency and accountability in public spending and service delivery in developing countries. She has developed grantmaking strategies to promote budget transparency and aid transparency, as well as to improve the effectiveness of U.S. development assistance.

In addition, Linda manages the Foundation’s “Think Tank Initiative” to strengthen policy research institutes based in the developing world. 

Prior to joining the Hewlett Foundation, she managed democracy-building projects in Latin America for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), based in Washington, D.C. At NDI, Linda’s responsibilities included managing a civic education program in Haiti, an international election monitoring program in Peru, a political party training program in Mexico, and supporting a domestic election monitoring effort in Ecuador.

She holds a master’s in public affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University and an undergraduate degree in political science from Duke University. She speaks English, French and Spanish.

Perspectives on Advocacy

A quote attributed to Frey appears next to several articles on advocacy of uncertain vintage on the Aspen Institute website which were based on intervierws with persons includeing Frey.  Her quote says:

Advocacy is a tactical response to an agenda, so the entire issue of agenda-setting is critical. The more foundations move toward strategic investments to achieve specific policy goals, the more they must look for groups who have similar goals and would be most effective in reaching them.

Another Frey quote on the same site says:

Groups are often able to identify their ultimate policy goal, but it’s much harder to determine what incremental progress toward that policy goal would look like, as well as to identify appropriate indicators to measure this incremental progress. Number of web hits and letters sent to congress may not be the best indicators.

Duties at OGP

At OGP, Frey “will manage the secretariat of the Open Government Partnership, working closely with the Steering Committee to outline clear strategic priorities and cultivate high-impact partnerships to achieve these goals,” according to an announcement.

“Reporting to the Governance and Leadership sub-committee of the Steering Committee, Linda will work in close contact with senior government officials and civil society leaders to execute OGP’s strategic plan, while managing a multi-million dollar budget funded by governments and private foundations,” according to the OGP announcement.

Foti to Manage IRM  

OGP said Foti will be the Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) Program Manager. He began last week.

The announcement says:

 As IRM Program Manager, Joseph’s responsibilities include working with the International Expert Panel to develop an assessment template for all OGP countries, helping to identify local researchers for OGP’s participating countries, working closely with each of the selected local researchers, shepherding draft reports through a government and IEP review process, preparing final reports for publication, and assisting in report outreach and dissemination.  

Joseph has over 6 years of experience in sustainable development and assessing good governance. Prior to joining the Open Government Partnership, he worked as a Senior Associate for the Access Initiative, a network led by the World Resources Institute (WRI). During his time at WRI, he helped to develop a number of indicator-based toolkits to assess access to information, public participation, and access to justice for matters affecting the environment. In particular, he led work in Latin America, work on poverty and access rights, and citizen participation in climate change adaptation policy. He was the lead author on a number of papers and reports on access to information, public participation, and access to justice in the environmental context, including Voice and Choice Opening the Door to Environmental Democracy and A Seat at the Table: Including the Poor in Decisions for Development and Environment. Prior to his work at WRI, he worked at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars on election runoff processes in Latin America and, for five years, as a public school teacher in the cities of Baltimore, Maryland and Oakland, California.

Two New Jobs to Be Posted

“In the coming days,” the OGP will be advertising for two additional positions, a Deputy Director and a Program Associate.

“The Deputy Director will report to and work closely with the Executive Director to implement the Support Unit’s work plan, including providing direct support to the rotating lead chair of the Partnership as needed.  In close coordination with the Executive Director, the Deputy will also be responsible for supporting regional and country-level outreach to OGP participants. The Program Associate will report directly to and work closely with the Executive Director to support the OGP Steering Committee and subcommittees.   This position will entail approximately 50 percent administrative support and 50 percent research and writing to support senior management. Full public announcements for these positions and application details will follow shortly.”

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