Curriculum Vitae

Chloe Gould Schwenke, Ph.D.

2258 Winter garden Way
Olney, Maryland 20832, USA
Tel: 1-301-448-2953
Skype: chloe.schwenke1
Twitter: @chloemaryland

August 12, 2018


Dr. Chloe Schwenke is an experienced executive manager, author and researcher, educator and trainer. She is also an international development strategist and practitioner, human rights advocate and activist, and ethicist.

With over three decades of international experience – nearly half of it while living in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, Chloe has a long record of success in the management of non-profit organizations. Currently, Chloe is serving as the Interim Executive Director of the Association of Writers & Writing Programs, a 52-year-old non-profit that supports creative writing programs and writers throughout North America and beyond. Previous to this interim assignment, she successfully completed a one-year grant-funded contract as the Director of the Global Program on Violence, Rights and Inclusion at the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) in Washington. In prior employment, she has served as vice president for global programs at Freedom House in Washington, D.C. and (as a political appointee under the Obama Administration) as Senior Advisor on Human Rights at the Africa Bureau of the US Agency for International Development (USAID). While at USAID, Chloe was involved in shaping USAID’s new Strategy for Democracy, Human Rights and Governance, and in participation in the drafting of the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security. She also provided leadership for USAID’s development policies and programs supporting the development needs of sexual and gender minorities, and represented USAID’s Africa Bureau in contributing to various Agency initiatives and policy efforts on gender equality, GBV issues, women’s empowerment, and anti-trafficking.

Chloe’s writing is inspired by her own experience as an openly transgender woman who has lived an international life, mostly in the Global South. In her scholarship and programmatic work, she is informed by feminist ethics, the capability approach, social inclusion, and human rights moral concepts. She received her Ph.D. in public policy at the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland at College Park, where she was Alumna of the Year for 2013. In that same year, she was 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. Recently, in 2018, she was made an honorary member of Lavender Leadership Honor Society, at the University of Maryland. She is the author of two books: Self-ish: A Transgender Awakening (Red Hen Press 2018) and Reclaiming Values in International Development (Praeger 2008).

Chloe is also an accomplished public speaker, including two significant speaking engagements at the White House and one engagement at Camp David. She also speaks frequently at conferences, high schools and middle schools, and at universities.



Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP)                                April – December 2018

College Park, Maryland, USA

Interim Executive Director

I am currently providing executive management for North America’s oldest and largest non-profit organization supporting creative writing programs (primarily but not exclusively MFA programs) and writers. I have been engaged during a time of physical relocation and extensive staffing changes, as well as leading the association through a substantial institutional reconfiguration in its core business model, with a mandate to bring order, stability, responsiveness, transparency, and direction to the organization. This has included a detailed and rapid assessment of needs, opportunities, resources, and threats, as well as the establishment of more effective communications between the staff and the board. This interim assignment allows the organization to return to effective operations, member responsiveness, and income generation, while a national search ensues for a new permanent Executive Director.


International Center for Research on Women                         February 2017-February 2018

Washington, D,C., USA                        

Director, Global Program on Violence, Rights and Inclusion                                   

Under a one-year grant-funded contract (non-renewable), I provided strategic direction, thought leadership, and technical oversight and quality assurance to projects within the new Global Program on Violence, Rights and Inclusion (VRI). My duties included:

  • Establishing a Global Research Platform on gender based violence, human rights, and social inclusion (VRI) that has a shared vision and set of priorities across ICRW’s offices in DC, India and Uganda
  • Directing and/or providing technical assistance on projects addressing violence, human rights, and social inclusion with a focus on women, girls, and members of marginalized populations, on topics including but not limited to research on gender based violence (GBV), cyber violence, child brides, migration, land rights for women, urbanization, social inclusion, and human rights protections for sexual and gender minorities.


Consultant                                                                               December 2014 – January 2017

Olney, Maryland, USA

During this period I was engaged in a number of short-term consulting assignments, including advising the World Bank on policy and development matters associated with LGBTI issues, assisting the Human Rights Campaign to develop a new Global Equality Index, and providing guidance to World Learning in their creation of a new Toolkit on Transforming Agency, Access, and Power (TAAP). Prior consulting work included  advising the International Republic Institute (IRI) on how best to address LGBTI issues in their programmatic work, and assistance in the preparation of a transportation sector policy paper and institutional strengthening initiative for the Ministry of Public Works of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (as a consultant to Amec Foster Wheeler PLC). I also provided diversity training for senior staff at the Peace Corps, and consulting services in Jordan in the context of the water sector, specifically regarding civil society capacity strengthening and gender equality issues.


Vice President for Global Programs                        February 2013 – November 2014           

Freedom House                                                                                 Washington, DC, USA

I oversaw the rapid growth and operation of Freedom House’s five diverse emergency assistance funds to assist embattled civil society organizations and human rights defenders. I also oversaw very active global programs on gender equality, freedom of expression, Internet freedom, religious freedom, and the human rights of LGBTI persons. I made significant improvements to the quality and competitiveness of Freedom House’s grant proposals, moving the win rate from 27% to over 45%, including diversifying the revenue stream of the organization.  I frequently spoke about human rights on behalf of the organization at leading fora, and as very active in strategic advocacy to influential decision-makers in many contexts (the Hill, foreign capitals, leading NGOs, senior USG officials, etc.).  I also helped move the organizational ethos of Freedom House to be significantly more attuned to issues of gender equality, diversity, and results-based thinking, and to be more sensitive to the mentoring needs of younger staff.

 Senior Advisor (Africa): Democracy, Human Rights, & Governance at the US Agency for International Development, Africa Bureau    October 2010 –                 January 2013Washington, DC, USA
Senior Advisor (Global): LGBT Policy at the US Agency for International Development    February 2012 –            January 2013Washington, DC, USA

As a senior level Obama Administration political appointee, I provided expert advice, leadership, and guidance to improve Africa-sensitive democracy, human rights, and governance (DRG), with a particular emphasis on gender equality and human rights policies and programming. In teamwork with 8 others in the USAID Policy Task Team for the new DRG Strategy, we formulated this new Agency-wide strategy, and through my leadership we introduced an innovative development-focused approach to elevating human rights.  In pursuit of USAID priorities I had frequent contact and collaboration with high-ranking officials in the interagency, congressional staff officials, and executives of comparable non-profit and private sector organizations. I led the Agency in providing technical advice on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) human rights policies and programs, and I participated with two others in a management team to successfully launch a new practice area in LGBT health and human rights.  I regularly advised on gender equality and development ethics, as well as on the practical applications of human rights to the Agency’s policies and programs. I strengthened the capacity of USAID’s Africa Bureau on issues of gender equality, DRG policy advocacy, and improving political leadership in sub-Saharan Africa.

Illustrative accomplishments while at USAID include:

  • I identified improvements through advising the new Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Policy Task Team, the Countering Trafficking in Persons Policy Task Team, and co-chairing the LGBT Equality for All Policy Task Team;
  • As the Africa Bureau Front Office’s Point of Contact for Gender Equality, and for LGBT, I ensured that these two sets of issues have received significantly greater attention in Bureau-wide policy and programming, and through direct and sustained advocacy I was able to achieve and fill a new full time staff position for a gender advisor in the Sustainable Development Office of the Africa Bureau;
  • I provided leadership and advice in preparations for and participating in the successful testimony to the Congressional Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, on the human rights of Indigenous Peoples in Africa;
  • On behalf of USAID, I prepared and presented policy papers at eight leading international academic conferences, and engaging in numerous public speaking events, successfully articulating to the public the Agency’s human rights and LGBT policies, gender equality and gender based violence (GBV) policies, the President’s New Strategy for Africa, and the Agency’s policy and strategy on LGBT health and human rights;
  • Building on 30 years of close, diverse, and regular development connections with Uganda, I provided a critically needed longer-term viewpoint as a member of the USAID Democracy and Governance Assessment team for Uganda;
  • At regular monthly White House meetings, I provided advice to the Office of Public Engagement on the needs and development priorities of transgender persons in developing countries, leading to increased awareness across the US Government of this population; and
  • Established an in-house human rights blog, which I wrote entries to every two weeks.

Independent Consultant                           October 2009-October 2010

Metropolitan Washington, DC area                                                                                                                                                                             2009

While engaged in the application process for a political appointment under the Obama Administration, I provided development program design and implementation advice in the crafting of several successful proposals by incorporating appropriate inputs on LGBTI issues, gender equality, GIS-based monitoring & evaluation, and development ethics. Most proposal assignments were with the Urban Institute and with IBTCI, including team leadership on the innovative successful design and implementation of a GIS “clearing house” for monitoring and evaluation services for the USAID Mission in Yemen.

Adjunct Faculty Appointments                                                                                       

School of Public Policy, University of MarylandTeaching “Moral Dimensions of Public Policy” (graduate students). 2008-2011, 2016    College Park, MD
Georgetown University, Public Policy Institute (McCourt School)Teaching “Ethics and Globalization”, “Ethics and Public Policy” and “Ethics in a Globalized World” (graduate students). 2003-present  Washington, DC 
School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), The Johns Hopkins UniversityTeaching “Urban Issues in Developing Countries” and “Ethical Perspectives in International Development” (graduate students). 2001-2012        Washington, DC 


 Senior Associate/Team Leader for Civil Society & Governance July 2007-September 2009
Creative Associates International Inc. Washington, DC

I led colleagues in new project development, contract management, client liaison, team recruitment, quality assurance, and logistical support for assignments in the areas of anti-corruption, gender equality, democracy and governance, leadership training, procurement, civil society strengthening, government integrity, and applied ethics. I successfully managed the World Bank funded Professional Leadership in Ethics and Integrity in Eastern Africa program, and the DFID funded Pro-Poor Integrity program working in seven countries in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, achieving all stated implementation objectives.


Independent Consultant August 2006-June 2007 October 2009 to October 2010
  Metropolitan Washington, DC

While also active as an academic, I carried out a variety of practitioner assignments, with illustrative examples including:

  • I designed sophisticated, integrated monitoring and evaluation methodologies for proposals for USAID projects in Yemen, Afghanistan, Lebanon, and India, empowering USAID Missions in their analytical and reporting activities by embracing both management information systems (MIS) and new geographic information systems (GIS) technologies.
  • As part of a marketing expansion initiative, I organized a new practice area on Gender and Development (GAD) for a leading Washington DC development consulting firm, ensuring that they became sufficiently conversant with the latest state of literature, theory, and practice in this field of GAD in the context of USAID. Client: Creative Associates International, December 2009.
  • I designed new projects and directed training activities in strengthening integrity in local governance, for a DFID-funded five year program, resulting in measurable improvements in integrity in local governments in seven countries in Africa and Central Asia, with workshops in Palestine (July 2009), Armenia (November 2009), and Kenya (January 2010). Client: TIRI
  • As Senior Advisor at the Inter-American Development Bank’s Initiative on Social Capital and the Ethics of Development, I drafting a new Conceptual Framework for the activities of this unit, provided completely new ethics-based peer review on proposed Bank projects, and authored a comprehensive new manual on codes of ethics for public institutions that is now widely used throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Client: IADB
  • In what became the foundation for a successful continent-wide training program, I designed and directed a team of trainers for a two-week training course in the ethics of leadership for 26 young African leaders from seven countries, held in Mombasa, Kenya in December 2006. Client: Freedom House.
  • As Lead Consultant on a World Bank funded project to evaluate World Bank procurement practices in sub-Saharan Africa, including extensive field research in countries I know well – Kenya and South Africa – I recommended new methods to improve the integrity of consultants contracted on Bank loan projects. Client: The Centre for Applied Ethics, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
  • As the keynote speaker on leadership at a 3 day Financial Management Workshop for senior ministers of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, I offered a provocative and practical model of ethical leadership. Workshop held in Nairobi, Kenya. Client: World Bank/PREM
  • As the plenary presenter at the Global Ethics Conference at Keble College, Oxford University. Paper: Leadership for Africa: A Role for Transformational Virtue? I articulated important but often ignored perspectives on African leadership. Client: World Bank/PREM
  • As Advisor to the Office of the President of Kenya, Public Service Reform and Development Secretariat [PSR&DS], I designed and led workshops and prepared draft codes of ethics for the Ministries of Health, Agriculture, and Local Governance, emphasizing results-based management.


Visiting Professor, Fulbright Senior Scholar Program, July 2005-August 2006                                                                      July 2005-August 2006                July 2005-August 2006
Ethics and Public Management Program, Department of Philosophy,
Faculty of Arts, Makerere University,
Kampala, Uganda

While carrying out research and writing my first book, I also taught graduate courses in public policy and governance, advised Master’s students on their thesis work, and led the Philosophy Department in organizing a highly acclaimed international conference on development ethics in July 2006.

Technical Director July 2000-July 2005
Management Systems International Washington, DC

I successfully carried out contract management, client liaison, team recruitment, quality assurance, and logistical support for MSI’s Civil Society IQC and for the firm’s major conflict-related project – the Greater Horn of Africa Peace Building Project.  I also provided senior-level technical assistance in winning and then successfully implementing projects and task orders in anti-corruption, civil society strengthening, democracy and governance, and human rights.

Representative project experience at MSI includes:

  • Author of Cross-Sector Analysis of Corruption: Summary Report, January 2003 for USAID, later published as a chapter in a book.
  • For USAID, I was Team Leader for a rare and well-received comparative multi-country assessment of Local Government Programs in Albania, Poland, Romania and Ukraine.
  • In Tanzania, as good governance specialist and the first ever development ethicist for the World Bank funded Good Governance, Integrity, and Ethics program; for the National Board of Accountants and Auditors.
  • Co-author and Lead Analyst for the annual Development Effectiveness Report 2001 for the United Nations Development Program.
Managing Director 1995-1998
Siyakhana Consulting Company (Pty.) Ltd. Durban, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa

As a pioneer in US-South Africa joint ventures, I established this South Africa branch office of the Louis Berger Group and successfully directed staff in the operations, management, marketing, project development, formulation of town and regional planning and local governance methodologies, project supervision, and quality assurance for all Siyakhana activities throughout Africa. I was the only non-South African senior advisor to the national government in Pretoria on integrated development. I successfully designed and led projects in South Africa, Mozambique, and Tanzania. Representative project experience included overcoming physical legacies of apartheid through leading teams in the Integrated Development Planning for the North Local Council (Durban Metropolitan Area), South Africa, and the Integrated Development Plan: Regional Development Plan for the Zululand Regional Council.

Director of Planning and Urban Development 1992-1995
Louis Berger International, Inc. Washington, DC

In reinvigorating this practice area, I led the organization, co-ordination, technical direction, and quality assurance of multi-disciplinary teams involved in integrated urban and rural development projects worldwide. I proposed and won a major contract in the Gaza Strip, and supervised teams to successfully complete major projects in Gaza and Qatar, and short-term assignments in Indonesia, Bangladesh, and the Philippines. The Qatar project remains the largest GIS-based application in the world.

 Director of London Architectural Office, RPS Clouston plc   1989-1990
  London, England

Through extensive marketing in southern England, France, Portugal, and several African countries, and through introducing new IT approaches, I positioned the new architectural and planning London office of this large countrywide British firm to take maximum advantage of a successful IPO. In addition to marketing, I managed office staff, finances, and project quality assurance.

Managing Director and Co-Founder 1982-1989
Landplan Group Africa Nairobi, Kenya; Kampala, Uganda;Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; Harare, Zimbabwe

Together with one other person, I established and led the successful expansion to 4 countries of the only American architectural and planning firm in Africa. I managed 42 professional and technical staff and oversaw project quality assurance and financial control for four offices in separate African countries.  Projects were carried out in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Somalia, Sudan, Comoros, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Cote d’Ivoire, Botswana, and Seychelles, combining the best of American design with a pragmatic grasp of local construction realities, resulting in significant cost and time savings.

Project Manager 1980-1982
Office of Foreign Buildings Operations, U.S. Department of State Nairobi, Kenya

I successfully oversaw the construction of the new United States Embassy in Nairobi (the object of a terrorist bombing in 1998), and was responsible for inspection and approval of all of the contractor’s work, technical review of all aspects of the construction, and architectural detail design.  I also successfully managed State Department building construction projects in Sudan, South Sudan Botswana, Tanzania and Somalia – including the compound that now serves as our Embassy in Juba, South Sudan.

Note: I was engaged in earlier architecture employment from 1976 to 1979 – details upon request.


2002    Ph.D., Policy Studies, School of Public Policy, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland

1992    Masters, International Affairs, Georgetown University, Washington, DC

1976    Post-graduate Studies, Urban Planning, Architectural Association School of Architecture, London, England

1974    B.A., History of Architecture, Syracuse University

1974    B.A., Architecture (5 year degree), Syracuse University



2015 – present Co-Chair and Member of the Board of Alturi

2014 – present    Member of the Board of Advisors for World Learning, a nonprofit organization advancing leadership in more than 60 countries

2014 – present    Member of the Board of the Washington Chapter of the Society for International Development

2013    Alumna of the Year, School of Public Policy, University of Maryland

2013    National Public Service Award, National Center for Transgender Equality

2012    Meritorious Honor Group Award, USAID, for service on the Policy Task Team for the drafting of the new Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance Strategy

2011    Member of the Ethics Review Panel of the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW)



Book publications pending:

Self-ish: a Transgender Journey toward Wholeness, Los Angeles, CA: Red Hen Press (2017)

Upcoming chapter publications in edited books:

  • Bewitched or Deranged: Access to Health Care for Transgender Persons”, chapter 13 in Global Health & Security: Critical Feminist Perspectives, O’Manique, C. And Fourie, P. (eds.); London: Routledge (2017)
  • “Expanding a Constricted Moral Lens – LGBTI Persons”, chapter in Agency, Democracy and Participation in Global Development, Kosko, S. and Keleher, L. (eds.); Cambridge University Press (2017)

Previous publications:

“An American’s view of trans*emergence and feminism’s response in Africa”, chapter 12 in Bodies in Resistance: gender politics in the age of neoliberalism, Palgrave Macmillan, UK. 2015

“The Provocative Human Right to Be”, the LGBTQ Policy Journal at the Harvard Kennedy School, Cambridge, MA. 2013

“A Threshold of Moral Tolerance: Accommodating LGBT Human Rights in Contemporary Uganda”, co-authored with Prof. Byaruhanga Rukooko, Kampala, Uganda, paper presented at the 52ndInternational Studies Association 2012, San Diego, California, April 3, 2012

“Defending the Moral Claims of Transgender Persons in Less Developed Countries”, paper presented at Ninth International Conference of the International Development Ethics Association, Gender Justice and Development: Local and Global at Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, June 9, 2011

White Paper for the Annual Conference of the International Center for Media Studies (October 2009), “Development Ethics in Africa: The Human Dignity Threshold”; September 13, 2009

Reclaiming Value in International Development: The Moral Dimensions of Development Policy and Practice in Poor Countries; Westport, CT: Praeger Press, December 2008