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Ending global poverty begins with women’s rights

Oxfam Canada welcomes Lauren Ravon as new Executive Director and Kate Higgins as Interim Executive Director

Oxfam Canada welcomes Lauren Ravon as new Executive Director and Kate Higgins as Interim Executive Director

January 20, 2020

Following a rigorous international search, the Oxfam Canada Board of Directors is thrilled to announce that Lauren Ravon will be the next Executive Director of Oxfam Canada.

Lauren has been with Oxfam Canada since 2011, holding a number of roles and working tirelessly to put women’s rights at the heart of Oxfam’s work. She is currently Oxfam Canada’s Director of Policy and Campaigns, leading a team of campaigners and policy experts working to advance gender justice, tackle growing inequality, support social movements and promote active citizenship.

Lauren has a long history of feminist activism, strong management skills and extensive experience in international development practice. Prior to joining Oxfam, Lauren worked at the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development (Rights & Democracy) where she was program manager for the Americas and oversaw the Centre’s office and human rights programming in Haiti. She has also worked on programs to tackle gender-based violence and promote sexual and reproductive rights, including with Planned Parenthood Global in Sub-Saharan Africa and the International Rescue Committee in East Timor. Lauren has lived in the United States, Canada, France, Kenya, Mexico and Belgium, and has worked on assignment in many other countries. She holds Masters Degrees in international affairs and development studies from Columbia University and the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po).

The Chair of Oxfam Canada’s Board of Directors, Ricardo Acuña expressed the Board’s unanimous enthusiasm over this appointment. “Lauren has impressed us over the years with her strategic leadership and her feminist values. Her deep commitment to Oxfam and our mission makes her perfectly suited to lead the organization in the coming years.”

“Oxfam Canada is the place I call home,” says Ravon. “Over the past eight years, I have been incredibly fortunate to work with a team of dedicated social justice advocates and inspiring partners, here in Canada and around the world. I truly believe Oxfam is uniquely placed to address some of the biggest challenges of our times – from mass displacement to growing economic inequality, from the backlash against women’s rights to closing civic space – by working in solidarity with others. There is no organization I would rather serve, and it is a great privilege to be given the opportunity to lead Oxfam Canada.”

In the style of a truly feminist organization, Lauren will be in the role for only a few months before she leaves for nine months of parental leave. During the period of her leave, Kate Higgins, who is the current Deputy Executive Director and Director of Communications of Oxfam Canada, will be interim Executive Director. In addition to her current role, Kate has worked at CIVICUS, the North-South Institute, the Overseas Development Institute and AusAID in a number of strategy, policy and research roles focused on global sustainable development, inequality, women’s rights and citizen action. Kate has lived and worked in Australia, Canada, Papua New Guinea, South Africa, Thailand and Uganda and has worked on assignments in a number of other countries. Kate has degrees in economics and development studies from the University of Oxford and the University of Sydney.

“This is an incredibly exciting time for us as an organization,” notes Higgins. “I am extremely motivated to continue transforming our organizational culture to become a more feminist, more diverse and safer Oxfam for our staff and the people we serve, while positioning Oxfam Canada as a significant actor in the global fight to end poverty, tackle inequality and advance women’s rights and climate justice. I look forward to working with Lauren towards our shared ambitions.”

“The board is incredibly fortunate that the organization has such a strong senior management team,” notes Acuña. “Kate is an accomplished leader, an experienced manager, a staunch women’s rights and social justice advocate and a substantive expert on poverty, inequality and women’s economic justice. Kate has taken a lead role in building the new Oxfam strategy and action plan and is perfectly suited to lead the organization in the coming year.”

“In addition to thanking both Lauren and Kate for taking on their respective roles, I also want to take a moment to thank the Board, the staff and the senior management team at Oxfam Canada for their support. The Board especially thanks Julie Delahanty, the outgoing Executive Director, for her strong leadership and vision for Oxfam Canada over the past five years. The strength of the current management team is a testament to her robust leadership.”

Higgins and Ravon will co-lead the organization from January 20th through to the end of March, when Kate will take over until Lauren’s return from parental leave in January 2021.

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For more information: 

Paula Baker
Oxfam Canada
Media Relations
(613) 240-3047

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