Ray Offenheiser appointed director of McKenna Center for Human Development and Global Business and senior advisor to Keough School dean

Raymond C. Offenheiser has been appointed director of the McKenna Center for Human Development and Global Business, part of the University of Notre Dame’s Keough School of Global Affairs, effective July 1, 2023. He also has been named senior advisor to Scott Appleby, Marilyn Keough Dean of the Keough School.

Founded as part of the Keough School in 2016, the McKenna Center aims to understand the critical role of global business in reducing poverty and inequality. Its programs focus on three specific areas: entrepreneurship, the future of work and workers, and global supply chains. By creating enduring partnerships between the private sector, governments, colleges and universities, and international development professionals, the center seeks to advance sustainable development while mitigating risk to companies, vulnerable populations, and our shared environment.

Offenheiser takes on his new role after serving as the McKenna Center’s interim director and as the inaugural William J. Pulte Director of the Pulte Institute for Global Development, also part of the Keough School. As a professor of the practice, he has taught courses on the foundations of sustainable development, ethics and leadership, and development policy. He is a member of the Dean’s Leadership Council.

Before coming to Notre Dame, Offenheiser served as CEO and president of Oxfam America for 20 years, positioning the organization as an influential voice on international development, human rights and governance, humanitarianism, and foreign assistance. He is a widely known nonprofit leader and innovator with a broad range of international development experience in Asia, Africa and Latin America. 

Prior to joining Oxfam, Offenheiser represented the Ford Foundation in Bangladesh and the Andean and Southern Cone regions of South America. He has directed programs for the Inter-American Foundation in Brazil and Colombia, and he has worked for Save the Children Federation in Mexico. At the 2012 G20 Summit, he was appointed by the Obama administration to represent civil society interests on the leadership council of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition in Africa.

Offenheiser has served as honorary president of Wetlands International, and he was a co-founder of the ONE Campaign, the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network and the Food Policy Action Network. He has served on the advisory boards of the World Economic Forum, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Aspen Institute, the World Agricultural Forum, the Gates Foundation, the Clinton Global Initiative, Harvard Business School, the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, and Cornell University. He holds a master’s degree in development sociology from Cornell and is a 1971 graduate of Notre Dame. 

“Ray is respected worldwide for his expertise in development, human rights and public policy, and for his leadership of major humanitarian and development organizations,” said Scott Appleby, Marilyn Keough Dean. “At Notre Dame, in addition to building the Pulte Institute, serving as acting director of the McKenna Center, and sitting on the Keough School’s Leadership Council, he has served as a superb instructor while also participating in numerous university-wide committees. I am delighted that he will take on these important new roles at the Keough School.”

Offenheiser said the McKenna Center will advance research on some of the most urgent challenges facing businesses today: the fragility of global supply chains and financial markets; disruption from war and other violent conflicts; the rapid emergence of artificial intelligence; and the urgency of climate change. With its faculty expertise in everything from social entrepreneurship to AI and a mission that prioritizes human dignity, the McKenna Center is well positioned to address these business challenges with both cutting-edge scholarship and the lens of ethics.

“I believe businesses can do well while doing good,” Offenheiser said. “At the McKenna Center we aim to shape businesses that see themselves as accountable not only to governments and shareholders, but also to stakeholders in their communities and in wider society, especially the most vulnerable populations. I am honored to lead these efforts at the McKenna Center and the Keough School.”

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