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Chloe Schwenke is an educator, author, researcher, international development practitioner and human rights activist with extensive senior level and management experience in academia, government, nonprofit, and for-profit organizations. She has work experience in over 40 countries, including 15 years based in sub-Saharan Africa. Her executive and senior management experience includes her current job as the interim executive director of North America’s largest support organization for the literary profession – the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP). In previous employment, she carried out a one-year research grant as the first director of the Global Program on Violence, Rights and Inclusion at the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) in Washington, DC. Before that posting, she served as vice president at Freedom House, after leaving the Obama administration where she had spent three years as a senior political appointee assigned to USAID’s Africa Bureau, focused on human rights, gender equality and LGBTQ issues.


Her memoir, SELF-ish: a transgender awakening, was published in May 2018 (Red Hen Press). Her first book was published in 2008, titled Reclaiming Values in International Development: The Moral Dimensions of Development and Practice in Poor Countries. She has also written many chapters for edited volumes, articles for various journals, and she regularly contributes to her award-winning blog series on human rights. She received her PhD from the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland at College Park, where she was chosen as Alumna of the Year for 2013. In that same year she was also awarded a National Public Service Award by the National Center for Transgender Equality, and in 2016 she was awarded the Global Advocate Award by DC Center – Global.

Areas of Interest
  • Ethics in public policy, gender equality/equity, LGBTQ studies, international development, human rights