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Catherine Essoyan

Thematic Unit Manager, Governance and Financial Flows and Conflict and Fragility, Oxfam Novib, Netherlands
Catherine Essoyan is currently leading two Thematic Clusters in Oxfam Novib focusing on Governance and Financial Flows and Conflict and Fragility. The aim of the Thematic Units is to develop multi country thematic programs with a strong emphasis on influencing to attract funding from institutional donors. Catherine has worked at Oxfam Novib based in the Hague since 1992 when she started as a program officer for the Middle East and Maghreb region. In this capacity she supported local development partners in Lebanon, Egypt, OPTI and Morocco working on human rights, women’s rights, workers’ rights and livelihoods programs. She was also active in supporting the humanitarian response of Oxfam and its partners to crises and conflicts in Gaza, Lebanon, and Syria. From 2003 to 2015 Catherine was a Regional Director at Oxfam Novib, first for Eastern Europe, Former Soviet Union, Middle East and Maghreb and then for Middle East and Maghreb when Oxfam Novib withdrew from the Former Soviet Union. Catherine has also had an active role in Oxfam cooperation since the mid 1990s when Oxfam Novib joined the Oxfam confederation. She has led the Middle East and North Africa regional governance group for Oxfam, promoting cooperation between Oxfam affiliates and partners in the MENA region in fields such as social and political participation and gender justice and women’s transformative leadership. Catherine has also played an important role in Oxfam advocacy efforts in relation the Israeli Palestinian conflict. She serves on the Steering Committee of the Oxfam Knowledge Hub on Governance and Citizenship. Prior to working with Oxfam Novib, Catherine worked for 10 years with the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), initially in relation to Lebanon relief and reconstruction work after the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon and later on legal aid and early childhood programs in the West Bank and Gaza. She then served as the Regional Manager for the MENA region for AFSC. Catherine was raised overseas as the daughter of a foreign correspondent, living in Moscow, Hong Kong, Cairo and Beirut as a child. She graduated from high school at the American Community School in Beirut and has a BA in Literature from Yale University and a MA in Middle East conflict resolution from Harvard University.

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