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Katherine Marshall
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Katherine Marshall has worked for four decades in international development with a focus on issues facing the world’s poorest countries. She is currently a senior fellow at Georgetown’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs and Visiting Professor in the School of Foreign Service, where she enjoys the gift of working with the next generation.

Before coming to Georgetown, Marshall worked for 35 years at the World Bank. Among her many assignment she was Country Director in the World Bank’s Africa region, first for the Sahel region, then Southern Africa. Before that she was country division chief in Latin America and agriculture chief in Eastern Africa. She led the Bank’s work on social policy and governance during the East Asia crisis years. From 2000 – 2006, she was counselor to the Bank’s president on ethics, values, and faith in development.

Marshall was involved from the beginning in the creation and growth of the World Faiths Development Dialogue and is its Executive Director. She serves on two international prize committees, the Opus Prize Foundation and the Niwano Peace Prize Foundation, and chairs the board of the World Bank Community Connections Fund. She was a core group member of a World Economic Forum initiative to advance understanding between the Islamic World and the West. She serves on several other boards including AVINA Americas, a foundation working across Latin America and the Washington National Cathedral Foundation. She co-moderates the Fes Forum, part of the world renowned Fes Festival of Global Sacred Music.

Marshall writes and speaks on wide ranging development and humanitarian topics. She contributes regularly to the religion page of the Huffington Post. Her two most recent books are Global Institutions of Religion: Ancient Movers, Modern Shakers, and The World Bank: From Reconstruction to Development to Equity. From 2003 – 2009, she served as a trustee of Princeton University – her alma mater -- with an MPA from the Woodrow Wilson School. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves as a visiting professor at the University of Cambodia.
Marshall’s daughter is a physician and her son is at college, majoring in music.

Entries by Katherine Marshall

Drilling In: Health Care and Religion in South Africa and Beyond

(3) Comments | Posted August 22, 2015 | 3:54 PM

Archbishop Desmond Tutu called the HIV/AIDS pandemic a "new apartheid" on a global scale. The virus, he said, works in a close alliance with poverty, ignorance, complacency, discrimination, and inequity. Its devastating impact is felt in every country, in every...

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A Lancet Breakthrough: Publishing About Faith and Health

(0) Comments | Posted July 11, 2015 | 7:00 PM


On July 7, the renowned medical publication the Lancet launched a series of articles on faith and health, led by Ed Mills. Lancet Senior Executive Editor Bill Summerskill, made clear that this was a significant departure, a first. Speaking at the...

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Portrait of a Peacebuilder: Dr. Vinya Ariyaratne

(0) Comments | Posted June 14, 2015 | 7:44 PM


Dr. Vinya Ariyaratne leads one of the world's most admired development initiatives: the Sarvodaya Shramadana Sangamaya movement. Inspired by Buddhist principles and founded (in Sri Lanka) by his father in 1958, Sarvodaya has pioneered village level development for 57 years. Many ideas that...

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Child Poverty: a View From Sarajevo

(0) Comments | Posted June 10, 2015 | 9:55 PM

The city of Sarajevo has vivid reminders of the horrors of war and the uncomfortable fact that violent conflict is not far away in time or space. The term "ethnic cleansing" was first used in this region. In a beautiful valley, surrounded...

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Paradoxes of Women's Equality in Bangladesh

(2) Comments | Posted May 19, 2015 | 10:30 AM


Perpetually snarled traffic in Dhaka, Bangladesh's capital, symbolizes the vibrant spirit of this nation of 160 million but also the host of difficult problems it confronts. Bangladesh is in the cross-hairs of changing climate (since most of the country is near sea level)....

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Religion and Women's Rights: International Women's Day in Israel

(6) Comments | Posted March 15, 2015 | 4:47 PM

Male voices dominate many discussions about religion so two realities can be overlooked: that religion is important to many women, and that women are vital to religious institutions and practice.


I celebrated International Women's Day 2015 in Baqa al Garbiyya, Israel, with a...

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Improbable Allies: Faith and the World Bank

(0) Comments | Posted February 21, 2015 | 7:50 PM


Religion is everywhere on the map these days, fiercely debated, cajoled, maligned, and blessed. But if you wanted to pick an institution that would forge new approaches in this sensitive field, the World Bank would scarcely come to mind. In friendly quarters it...

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Interfaith Conversations at the United Nations

(1) Comments | Posted February 6, 2015 | 1:33 PM


It's interfaith harmony week. This is one of many special times that United Nations member states have agreed upon to focus on a problem or issue. Interfaith Harmony week began in 2010, a sort of middle path between more far-reaching efforts...

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Faith in Vaccines

(1) Comments | Posted February 4, 2015 | 7:39 AM

(photo credit

Good news, bad news. Since 2000, over 500 million children have been vaccinated with support from the global alliance for vaccines known as GAVI. GAVI estimates that during that period vaccinations prevented seven million deaths. Less good:...

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Faith, Hope and Charity: A German Look to 2015

(1) Comments | Posted January 4, 2015 | 2:00 PM


"Without faith, there is no hope, and without hope there is no future." During a December meeting in Berlin with a group of Christian development actors, German Parliamentary State Secretary Hans-Joachim Fuchtel of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development spoke movingly...

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Mobilizing for Toilets

(0) Comments | Posted November 19, 2014 | 9:19 AM


November 19 is World Toilet Day: a day established last year by no less than the United Nations General Assembly. It is marked because there are few topics that are as tightly linked to human welfare and human dignity as sanitation....

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Toronto's New Jewel: Beauty and Pluralism at the Ismaili Centre

(1) Comments | Posted October 26, 2014 | 11:17 AM


Ancient and modern, traditional and forward-looking, stark and ornate, spiritual and practical: Contrasting adjectives aptly describe the brand-new Ismaili Centre in Toronto. Adjacent to the Centre, its white Brazilian granite façade reflected in pools of water, is a state-of-the-art...

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Ebola: Ten Proposals to Engage Religious Actors More Proactively

(0) Comments | Posted October 8, 2014 | 11:58 AM

Networks of religious and faith-inspired actors are a resource that could magnify the impact of urgent responses and recovery plans in West Africa.

Governments and international organizations are mobilizing rapidly to respond to the Ebola epidemic in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, but the needs and speed of...

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Aha Moments: Feminism and Faith

(0) Comments | Posted September 22, 2014 | 11:51 AM

It was a puzzle: intellectual discussions about theological matters rarely engaged issues centered on women, while feminist discussions skirted spiritual dimensions of women's lives. Serene Jones, President of Union Theological Seminary, found faith and feminism intertwined in her own life but...
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What Future for Iraq? Interreligious Debates at the Sant'Egidio Meeting

(0) Comments | Posted September 12, 2014 | 5:26 AM


The crisis in Iraq begs a host of questions. What does religion have to do with the conflict? Is ISIS some abhorrent and aberrant form of religion or something else? Is it a Frankenstein monster, created and imported from outside Iraq or something...

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Boko Haram: Religious Paths Through the Tunnel

(0) Comments | Posted September 11, 2014 | 7:33 PM


Nigeria is one of the world's most religiously active and diverse countries. It was long regarded as an admirable example of a dynamic society where different faiths lived in harmony, intermarriage was common, and a robust and open marketplace of religious beliefs and...

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Peace is the Future?! Religion and Conflict in Antwerp

(0) Comments | Posted September 10, 2014 | 5:14 PM

Peace is the future: the title given to the great annual interreligious meeting organized this week in Antwerp by the lay Catholic Community of Sant'Egidio, seemed supremely ironic: a question mark seemed more appropriate than an exclamation point. Religion seems tightly associated with violence these days, both conflicts...

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Living Miracles: Celebrating Child and Maternal Survival in Washington

(0) Comments | Posted June 25, 2014 | 8:17 PM

Not such a long time ago, it was common, even expected, that many babies, children, and mothers would die. Family histories (mine included) are full of poignant stories of lives lost to a multitude of causes. Today, in our country the death of a mother or child is rare and...

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Life's journey: A Sufi Parable in Fes

(0) Comments | Posted June 24, 2014 | 8:41 PM

A band of birds of different species set out on a perilous journey through the unknown, in search of their king. That is the story of The Conference of the Birds, the twelfth century masterpiece of Persian poet Farid ud-Din Attar. Like Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, it offers an amalgam of...

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Slum Priest in Bangkok

(0) Comments | Posted June 24, 2014 | 8:36 PM


My always iconoclastic grandfather intrigued me by insisting that he wanted to go to Hell. It might be unpleasantly hot but the people there would be interesting and would have a sense of fun. The virtuous people who went to Heaven were not...

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