We have had a lengthy and thoughtful search process for a new Executive Director, and are excited to announce and welcome Maggie Mitchell Salem! The IRIS Board of Directors are confident that Maggie’s experience and expertise are perfectly suited for this leadership role.
Maggie joins IRIS from Tunisia, where she has been Senior Resident Director for the National Democratic Institute (NDI) since November 2020, leading a team dedicated to improving inclusive, representative governance that addresses citizens’ priorities. She spent most of 2020 supporting refugee resettlement organizations in Baltimore – Lutheran Immigrant & Refugee Services (LIRS) – and Fugees Family in Columbus, Ohio.
From 2009-2019, Maggie was the founding Executive Director of Qatar Foundation International (QFI) based in Washington, D.C. Maggie and a dedicated team created a vision, mission, and programs focused on providing K-12 students and teachers in public schools across the U.S., Brazil, the United Kingdom, and Germany access to quality Arabic language instruction and cultural resources including exchange trips.
As Maggie put it herself, “I’m excited about joining IRIS and an exceptionally dedicated, mission-driven team. I’m looking forward to getting to know our clients, the team, and our incredible community of sponsors, volunteers, and donors. I have to recognize the big shoes I’m filling. Chris George has transformed IRIS over this 18-year tenure. His contributions to refugee resettlement in Connecticut have impacted thousands of immigrants, and his innovative approach to sponsorship has also been recognized nationally through the Welcome Corps program. I’m in awe of all he’s accomplished.”
Maggie will join us full-time at the start of the new year. We will invite you to get to know Maggie as well as celebrate Chris George’s immense accomplishments at IRIS over the years.
Here’s to new beginnings and a continued commitment to serve persecuted people from all over the world.
Michael Van Leesten
IRIS Board Chair