Jeanne Bourgault was appointed by the Board of Directors of Internews to be its second President & CEO, succeeding founder David Hoffman. She will shepherd its mission to empower local media throughout the world, overseeing $62 million in programs currently in 46 countries, and a staff of nearly 690 across offices in 26 countries.
Bourgault joined Internews in 2001 to continue her work in international media development. Since that time, she has seen the organization quadruple its programs, and helped shape them to respond to ever-changing humanitarian, technological and health needs, among other issues, in developing and transitioning countries.
“We are dedicated to empowering local media, communities and citizens worldwide,” said Bourgault, who recently participated in the Global Philanthropy Forum where she discussed the role of independent sources of information in developing nations.
“Local news and information are absolutely critical and even lifesaving, particularly in information-vulnerable countries like Afghanistan,” she says. “We have seen media innovations support humanitarian and gender equality initiatives, and believe that our work provides the framework to encourage government accountability and a platform for economic and political stability.”
Internews projects focus on assisting local media in developing countries to report on the stories that matter most to their communities and ensuring a wide variety of voices are represented in the media. Major projects in recent years have included building a network of independent radio stations in Afghanistan, assisting media outlets in the Middle East and North Africa with professional training after the Arab Awakening, and providing life-saving information in local languages through the media in response to humanitarian disasters such as the earthquake in Haiti.
Prior to Internews, Bourgault served as a strategic advisor for media development programs in post-war Kosovo, as well as a manager of community development projects in Serbia and Montenegro. She served six years with the U.S. Agency for International Development, including three years at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow where she managed a $250 million portfolio of democracy assistance and educational exchange programs.
Bourgault speaks regularly on issues of international media and development, as a guest speaker at the Skoll World Forum, Guardian Activate in New York, and the Social Capital Markets conference in San Francisco, and serves on the Digital Media Steering Committee for the World Economic Forum. She has consulted on international program design and evaluation for the Open Society Institute, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Research Triangle Institute, and the United Nations Centre for Human Rights, among others.
Bourgault holds a Master of Arts in International Studies and a Masters in Public Affairs from the University of Washington.