Search for Common Ground welcomes Marjorie Newman-Williams as New President

Home / Search for Common Ground welcomes Marjorie Newman-Williams as New President
March 14, 2023

After an extended search, Search for Common Ground is delighted to announce the appointment of our new President, Marjorie Newman-Williams. Marjorie assumes the role that was previously held by Isam Ghanim and will begin her work with Search for Common Ground in January 2023. Isam Ghanim will join the organization’s Board of Directors in 2023.

Marjorie brings to the position decades of executive leadership experience, including nearly three decades in increasingly senior positions within the UN system and more than a decade in senior leadership roles with non-governmental organizations and international development agencies, including as COO of the Children’s Defense Fund, COO of FHI 360, and President of MSI United States.

Speaking ahead of her appointment, Marjorie shared that “I am delighted to be joining Search for Common Ground as President in 2023. The partnership with CEO Shamil Idriss and Search teams across 30 countries is a wonderful and unexpected opportunity to continue to serve. The mission of Search to end violent conflict is a quest to restore lifeblood to conflict-ravaged communities, overcome poverty, protect people’s human rights, and refocus collective action on addressing the truly existential threats of our time – climate change and nuclear warfare.”

Marjorie began her career in international development when the advertising company she worked for was contracted by USAID to support a reproductive health project in her home country of Jamaica. She then joined the United Nations system, advancing in the organization in successive roles at UNICEF as Deputy Director of the Task Force for Change Management and as Deputy Director of UNICEF’s Program Division. With her communications and marketing skills she rose to serve as UNICEF’s Global Director of Communications for four years.

In her subsequent roles leading international NGOs, Newman-Williams directly managed major change initiatives — including FHI’s acquisition of the Academy for Education Development — and the building of communications and philanthropic fundraising operations. Most recently, as President of MSI United States, Newman-WIlliams led a major expansion of the organization’s philanthropic fundraising operation, more than quadrupling unrestricted revenue in just four years.

Speaking of her appointment, Search for Common Ground CEO Shamil Idriss said “We are thrilled to welcome Marjorie Newman-Williams as our new President. We look forward to her enriching and strengthening our entire organization with the exceptional executive leadership and management qualities she has honed over decades of senior leadership at the United Nations and in the international development sector. We could not have done better than to attract a leader with such a strong track record of driving growth with enthusiasm, unmatched professionalism and profound humanity, humility and a people-first mentality.”

Together, we can transform the way the world deals with conflict.