Carla Koppell

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Carla Koppell
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Born (1966-11-18) November 18, 1966 (age 57)
New York, NY
CitizenshipUnited States of America
EducationCornell University, BS; Harvard University, MPP
  • Oliver Koppell (father)
  • Kathleen Sunshine (mother)

Carla Koppell (born November 18, 1966) is a distinguished fellow with the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University,[1] where leads the University Leadership Council on Diversity and Inclusion in International Affairs.[2] In that role, she works with deans of graduate schools of international affairs and Public policy school|public policy to incorporate attention to diversity and inclusion in their curricula and programs. In July 2020, she was reported to be leading a policy working group on international women's and girls' issues for the Joe Biden 2020 presidential campaign.[3]

She previously was a Vice President with the U.S. Institute for Peace. During the Presidency of Obama Administration, she served as Chief Strategy Officer and, prior to that, inaugural Senior Coordinator for Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment at the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Early life and education

Carla Koppell was was born and grew up in New York City. She is the daughter of formerNew York Attorney General Oliver Koppell and Professor Kathleen Sunshine. She has two younger siblings, Jonathan Koppell and Jacqueline Koppell.

She obtained a bachelor's degree in communications at Cornell University in 1988. In 1992, she received a master's degree in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School.


Carla Koppell has almost thirty years experience working in a wide range of sectors for public, private and non-governmental organizations internationally. Currently, Koppell is a Distinguished Fellow at the Georgetown University Institute for Women, Peace and Security and teaches in the School of Foreign Service.[1] She leads the Institute's University Leadership Council on Diversity and Inclusion in International Affairs,[4] a nationwide effort to advance the focus on diversity and inclusion in international affairs and public policy education.[5] She has said that incorporating issues of diversity and inclusion in educational curricula is important for achieving the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goal 16, which focuses on establishing "peace, justice, and strong institutions."[6]

Koppell has commented in interviews that emphasizing diversity and inclusion in international development efforts is both morally correct and conducive to stability and development.[7] She has suggested, for instance, that the 1993 Oslo Accords would have been more supportive of community integrity had women been involved in negotiations.[8] In 2020, she and Melanne Verveer criticized a deal struck between the US Government and the Taliban regarding US military troops' withdrawal from Afghanistan, on the grounds that negotiations had not been inclusive of women.[9]

Previously, Koppell was Vice President of the Center for Applied Conflict Transformation for the United States Institute of Peace (USIP)[10] overseeing Institute publications, grant-making, fellowships, training and a suite of global programs addressing a wide range of peace building and development issues. Urging greater women's inclusion in international conflict resolution, she noted that post-conflict regions are significantly more likely to remain peaceful when women are involved in conflict resolution processes.[11]

Before joining USIP, Koppell served as Chief Strategy Officer for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and USAID’s first senior coordinator for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment.[12] As senior coordinator for Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment, she pushed to have attention to gender issues integrated into all aspects of USAID's and international development organizations' programming.[13][14] Crucial, she explained, would be "enabling...technical specialists in every area to be able to think about those [women's] issues on their own."[15] At the time, she highlighted education as a "silver bullet" for women and girls' empowerment.[16]

Prior to joining USAID, Koppell directed The Institute for Inclusive Security and the Washington, D.C. office of Hunt Alternatives Fund led by Swanee Hunt|Ambassador Swanee Hunt. She also was a senior advisor and, prior to that, interim director of the Conflict Prevention Project at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. At the Wilson Center, she published a book on often-overlooked global trends with negative implications for international security.[17] During the Presidency of Bill Clinton|Clinton Administration, Koppell served as deputy assistant secretary of international affairs for U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. She also worked for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.[12]

Koppell serves on the boards of the Society for International Development-Washington,[18]Norwegian Refugee Council-US,[19] and Equal Access International.[20]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Georgetown University Faculty Directory". Retrieved 2020-08-26.
  2. "University Leadership Council on Diversity and Inclusion in International Affairs". Georgetown Institute of Women Peace and Security. Retrieved 2020-09-12.
  3. Palder, Colum Lynch, Robbie Gramer, Darcy. "Inside the Massive Foreign-Policy Team Advising Biden's Campaign". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 2020-09-11.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. "University Leadership Council on Diversity and Inclusion in International Affairs". Georgetown Institute of Women Peace and Security. Retrieved 2020-09-12.
  5. "Colleges need to reform international affairs education to consider issues of diversity and heterogeneity (opinion) | Inside Higher Ed". Retrieved 2020-09-11.
  6. "THE to host forum focused on peace and justice". Times Higher Education (THE). 2019-12-17. Retrieved 2020-09-12.
  7. "How to Know You're Moving the Needle on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion". International Youth Foundation. 2019-12-02. Retrieved 2020-09-03.
  8. "The Old Boys Club and the Failure of Peacekeeping". Time. Retrieved 2020-09-11.
  9. "Afghan Women: Essential for Peace". TheHill. 2020-03-06. Retrieved 2020-09-11.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  10. "Strategist Carla Koppell Named USIP Vice President". United States Institute of Peace. Retrieved 2020-08-27.
  11. "Women and War: Securing a More Peaceful Future". New Security Beat. Retrieved 2020-09-11.
  12. 12.0 12.1 "SID-Washington". Retrieved 2020-08-27.
  13. "An Interview with Carla Koppell, USAID's Senior Coordinator for Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment". Banyan Global. 2017-05-17. Retrieved 2020-09-11.
  14. "Digging Deeper: Water, Women, and Conflict | Wilson Center". Retrieved 2020-09-11.
  15. Hudson, Valerie M., 1958-. The Hillary doctrine : sex and American foreign policy. Leidl, Patricia,. New York. ISBN 978-0-231-53910-4. OCLC 907951694.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link) CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  16. Weiner, Joann. "Literacy advocate wins Rubenstein prize, but teaching the world to read remains a challenge". Washington Post. Retrieved 2020-09-11.
  17. "Preventing the Next Wave of Conflict | Wilson Center". Retrieved 2020-09-12.
  18. "SID-Washington". Retrieved 2020-09-12.
  19. "Norwegian Refugee Council - USA". NRC. Retrieved 2020-09-11.
  20. "Carla Koppell". Equal Access International. Retrieved 2020-09-12.

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