NAFSA Board of Directors Selects New CEO Dr. Esther Brimmer


Statement from NAFSA Board of Directors


Rebecca Morgan, 202.737.3699 x4449,

WASHINGTON, September 27, 2016–The Board of Directors of NAFSA: Association of International Educators, following an extensive search process, has named a new executive director and CEO. Esther Brimmer, DPhil, a foreign policy expert and academic, will lead NAFSA, effective January 1, 2017. She will succeed Marlene M. Johnson, who has served as NAFSA executive director and CEO since 1998.

Dr. Brimmer’s distinguished career includes three appointments within the U.S. Department of State, serving most recently as the assistant secretary for International Organization Affairs from April 2009 to 2013. She is currently professor of practice of international affairs at The George Washington University, serves as an adjunct senior fellow for international institutions at the Council on Foreign Relations, and as a senior advisor at McLarty Associates. She was previously deputy director and director of research at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at the Johns Hopkins University's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) from 2001-2009, and was a member of the SAIS faculty. She also taught at the College of Europe in Belgium, and from 1995-1999, she was a senior associate at the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict. Earlier, she served on Capitol Hill as a legislative analyst for the Democratic Study Group in the U.S. House of Representatives. Immediately after earning her doctorate from Oxford University, she spent two years as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company.

“I am deeply honored to be selected by the Board to be the next executive director and CEO of NAFSA: Association of International Educators,” said Dr. Brimmer. “I look forward to working with the membership and the staff to continue NAFSA's long and distinguished history of advancing the exchange of students, scholars and ideas. I commend Marlene Johnson on her years of service to international education and greater mutual understanding.”

NAFSA president, Dr. Fanta Aw in relation to Dr. Brimmer’s appointment stated, “Thanks to the incredible groundwork laid over the past 18 years, today NAFSA plays an important role in framing thought leadership around global learning and international education, and creates an environment in which professionals supporting international education can thrive. As the foremost advocate for policies that make a more welcoming and globally engaged United States, NAFSA’s work is vital in today’s interconnected world. The NAFSA Board of Directors is thrilled to have attracted Dr. Brimmer to assume the leadership of this important agenda and organization. She is a highly respected leader and diplomat who has worked globally to address a range of issues, including global education, international affairs, multilateralism and peacekeeping. She is the right leader at the right time.”

“This is an exciting time for NAFSA,” also commented Marlene M. Johnson, NAFSA’s current executive director and CEO. “Esther Brimmer’s rich experience in the broader field of international affairs will be a tremendous asset to NAFSA, and I look forward to working closely with her to ensure a successful transition.”