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Maggie Powers

Associate Director, Columbia Global Policy Initiative

Maggie Powers is the Associate Director of the Columbia Global Policy Initiative. Established by President Lee C. Bollinger and directed by Professor Michael W. Doyle, the Global Policy Initiative brings together eminent Columbia faculty members with other partners in applied research projects to directly influence public policy and solve pressing global challenges. The Initiative encompasses16 projects on issues ranging from migration and refugees, to cybersecurity, to global health.  

Ms. Powers directly oversees the International Migration Project of the Global Policy Initiative, which established a leading presence in the migration and refugee policy space. In this role, she supported the mandate of the former Special Representative of the Secretary-General for International Migration, Mr. Peter Sutherland, from 2014-2017; established partnerships with the UN Secretariat, IOM, UNHCR and others to host a Private Sector Forum on Migration and Refugees in 2016, providing a platform for major private sector pledges to be made in support of migrant and refugee protection; and co-lead the convening of a major mayors summit on migration and refugee issues with New York City in 2017. She currently convenes key stakeholders to shape policy priorities around the UN global compacts for migration and refugees.

Ms. Powers is also a Commission Member of the Model International Mobility Convention, an academic exercise led by Columbia with more than 40 international experts to create a holistic legal regime for human movement across borders that aims to close clear gaps in protection and regulation. She edited a Special Issue of the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law examining the Model Convention through 12 commentaries from eminent refugee and migration experts. She is currently developing a strategic advocacy plan to promote the Model Convention with city and regional authorities, the private sector, and human rights activists.

Her academic research focuses on mass atrocities prevention and the Responsibility to Protect. In this capacity, since 2017, she supports the mandated of the Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect, Mr. Ivan Šimonović, who is developing a new tool to track atrocity prevention efforts. Her past publications on this theme include “Responsibility to protect: dead, dying, or thriving?,” in The International Journal of Human Rights (October 2015).

Maggie is a graduate of Columbia University with an M.A. in Human Rights Studies and Loyola University Chicago with a B.A. in political science and international relations. 

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