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Binaifer Nowrojee named President of George Soros’ Open Society Foundations

In 1896, Nowrojee's family moved from India to Kenya, where she was born.

Binaifer Nowrojee has been named president of the Open Society Foundations, a $25 billion non-profit organization founded by George Soros. / OSF

Human rights attorney Binaifer Nowrojee was named president of the Open Society Foundations, a $25 billion non-profit organization funded by billionaire businessman George Soros, which gives grants to 100 countries on March 11 .

“When I established the Open Society Foundations, I wanted them to be truly global,” said Soros in a statement. “At the outset, that was merely an aspiration. But now I feel that this ambition has been fulfilled with Binaifer Nowrojee as president of the Foundations, supported by an international team.”

The Kenya born Nowrojee currently serves as vice president of programs at the foundation. She will step into her new role in June, as current president Mark Malloch-Brown steps down.

“Heading this remarkable institution, the world’s largest funder of human rights, at a time when justice and compassion are under siege, is by far the biggest, and best, challenge I have ever faced,” said Nowrojee. “Now is the time to redouble our commitment to advancing and promoting human rights with our partners and the world. I'm proud of the work we’ve done together over the past 20 years  look forward to all that we will accomplish,” she tweeted. 

Soros’ son Alex, chairman of the Open Society Foundations, wrote on X, “I’ve seen firsthand Binaifer's compassionate leadership in the face of difficult circumstances. She is an incredible human rights advocate who believes in the transformative power of OSF's work. She embodies the spirit of OSF, and I’m confident that she will ably lead our next chapter.”

Nowrojee brings over three decades of experience and dedication to her new role. At OSF, she has held a variety of positions, including: East Africa Foundation director, regional director for Asia Pacific, and vice president for Organizational Transformation. Prior to her tenure at Open Society, Nowrojee also served as legal counsel at Human Rights Watch and as a staff attorney at the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights.

The activist has worked extensively on prosecuting sexual violence under international law and testified as an expert witness at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Nowrojee played herself in the 2015 documentary, “The Uncondemned,” which examined the first trial that prosecuted rape as a war crime and an act of genocide.  

Nowrojee follows in the footsteps of her father, Pheroze Nowrojee, an acclaimed human rights lawyer who currently serves as senior counsel to the High Court of Kenya. The Nowrojee family migrated from India to Kenya in 1896 to work on the railroads. Pheroze Nowrojee has written a book about the family’s migration: “A Kenyan Journey,” released in 2019.

The Open Society Foundations work throughout the world. OSF began working in India in 1999, initially offering scholarships to students seeking higher education.In 2014, OSF launched a grant-making program, supporting organizations that work in three areas: extending access to medicine; promoting justice system reforms; and strengthening and establishing rights, public services, and community living for people with psychosocial disabilities. 

The Open Society actively invests in India to benefit smallholder farmers and small businesses, as well as in programs that make health care, education, and financial services more available and affordable to a broader range of people. 

Its Soros Economic Development Fund has supported agricultural supply chain companies — such as Leaf, SV Agri, and Allfresh — which give farmers better returns on their produce. Since 2008, Open Society has invested over $90 million in start-up and early funding projects managed by Bangalore-based Aspada Investments. In 2021, the Open Society Foundations expended $406,000 in India.
 

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