Kellie C. Leeson leads the Refugee Self-Reliance Initiative with RefugePoint and the Women’s Refugee Commission. She has over fifteen years of experience working in East and West Africa, Latin America, and Russia. Kellie designed and led health, education, and livelihoods programs for the displaced. She served as Country Director for Kenya and Regional Deputy Director for East Africa with the International Rescue Committee (IRC), as well as Managing Director of New York University’s Development Research Institute. In addition, Kellie has held advisory and management positions with Concern Worldwide, the American Institutes for Research and Interaction.
Kellie was the initiator and architect of IRC’s urban refugee initiative, where she developed urban programs, partnerships and platforms and presented widely on the topic. Kellie’s work with urban refugees led to her current interest in self-reliance, including co-creating the Well-Being and Adjustment Index and co-founding the Refugee Self-Reliance Initiative.
She holds a B.A. from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a M.A. from Teachers College, Columbia University.