The Development Diplomat: Book Talk with Fatema Sumar


March 3


03:00 pm - 04:30 pm

Event Category:

Special Events

Join WorldBoston in partnership with NEID Global for a conversation with Fatema Sumar on her groundbreaking book that shares her insights from many years of experience working in and with governments around the globe to address poverty and create effective development projects. The conversation will be moderated by Elaine Martyn of Fidelity Charitable.


When first-generation Muslim-American Fatema Z. Sumar was given the chance to serve and lead across the US government, she seized it. Traveling more than three-quarters of a million miles worldwide, from Afghanistan and Pakistan to Jordan and Mongolia, Sumar worked to fight poverty and create economic opportunities for the world’s most vulnerable even as she raised three daughters at home. Documented within the pages of The Development Diplomat: Working Across Borders, Boardrooms, and Bureaucracies to End Poverty, Sumar shares captivating first-hand accounts of what both success and failure look like in our foreign aid efforts from Capitol Hill to world capitals.

Sumar’s powerful vision of development diplomacy is a must-read for anyone interested in an international career. When foreign policy and international development experts come together, the possibilities to fight poverty are endless. The Development Diplomat creates a roadmap for current practitioners and the next generation of development diplomats to take on their journey toward changing the world.


Leveraging her expertise in international development, foreign policy, diplomacy, and advocacy, Fatema Z. Sumar leads efforts to fight poverty by transforming global systems in reaching vulnerable populations.

As Vice President of Compact Operations at the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), Ms. Sumar oversees all compacts which are MCC’s signature grant investment vehicle to reduce poverty through economic growth. In this role, she manages all of MCC’s technical and regional divisions working on infrastructure, the environment and climate change, the private sector, gender and social inclusion, human and community development, land and agriculture, procurement, financial management, strategic partnerships, and contracts and grant management globally. She previously served as MCC’s Deputy Vice President for Europe, Asia, the Pacific, and Latin America where she managed all MCC compacts in these regions.

Ms. Sumar returned to MCC after working in civil society as the Vice President of Global Programs at Oxfam America where she oversaw regional development and humanitarian response to fight the injustice of poverty. Her work contributed to initiatives on gender justice, climate justice, local humanitarian leadership, strategic monitoring and evaluation, digital rights, and grant management systems.

Ms. Sumar has a distinguished career in the U.S. government in both executive and legislative branches. She previously served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia at the U.S. Department of State where she led U.S. efforts to expand regional economic and energy connectivity and as a Presidential Management Fellow (PMF). In Congress, she was a Senior Professional Staff Member on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee focused on Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the broader region.

Ms. Sumar sits on Advisory Boards for Princeton, Cornell, and Indiana universities. Her work has been published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, The New Republic, The Hill, and other outlets. She is a frequent guest speaker and has testified before the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate.

Ms. Sumar graduated with a Master of Public Affairs from Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs, where she received the prestigious Stokes Award, and a Bachelor of Arts in Government from Cornell University. She studied abroad at the American University in Cairo.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Footer Form

WorldBoston: 33 Broad Street, Suite 803, Boston, MA 02109

Make A Donation