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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

Getting to Zero Hunger: faith in action

(0) Comments | Posted June 15, 2016 | 1:16 AM

Pope Francis greets Joshua Dubois at WFP Headquarters, Rome. Photo: WFP/Giulio d'Adamo

Zero hunger by 2030: that call, the echo of Sustainable Development Goal #2, was blessed by the General Assembly of the United Nations in September 2015. At the...

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Not in our name: the lies in simplistic narratives about sex and religion

(0) Comments | Posted May 22, 2016 | 8:01 AM

In September 2014 a group of religious leaders and scholars met for two days in New York to address what have become significant sources of tension in various United Nations settings: family, sex, reproductive health, and women's rights. The diverse group was...

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Rights, values, and religion in Denmark

(2) Comments | Posted May 5, 2016 | 3:50 PM


On a May day in Copenhagen, the sun shining brightly, the greatest security risk seems to come from bicycles speeding along the streets. But not all is calm in the state of Denmark. Immigrants and refugees have provoked a national soul-searching about human...

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Faces of health, poverty, and faith in Guatemala

(0) Comments | Posted April 16, 2016 | 7:43 PM

Children bearing burdens in a pre-Easter procession in Antigua

Washington DC faces meeting (and traffic) gridlock whenever world leaders gather. This week the "spring meetings" of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank drew officials from every corner of the world....

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Ending FGC: The Religious Factor

(0) Comments | Posted February 6, 2016 | 5:42 AM

This is a "word cloud" from a Berkley Center, Georgetown University, teaching case study on Female Genital Cutting (FGC), also called Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

Since 2012, February 6 has been marked each year as the International Day of Zero...

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Nigeria: Faith Against Corruption

(0) Comments | Posted February 1, 2016 | 12:39 PM

Martin Luther King Jr.'s life and teachings are an inspiration for anyone who fights for social justice. Shaun Casey, a theologian and savvy political analyst, serves as the first Special Representative for Religion and Global Affairs in the US State Department. At a bold and somewhat improbable meeting of Christian...

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Kenya: Faith in a Protracted Refugee Crises

(0) Comments | Posted January 27, 2016 | 5:32 AM

2016-02-01-1454321975-7754506-CoverIHHHumanitarianRelief.jpg (IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation)
News reports tell of desperate refugee journeys, as thousands flee the dangers and hopelessness of wars or hunger in leaky boats and other perilous means. Less in the news is a different face of the worldwide refugee crisis:...
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Fatima Mernissi: Great Woman, Feisty Feminist, Spiritual Inspiration

(1) Comments | Posted December 2, 2015 | 6:43 AM


Fatima Mernissi, a great woman and a dear friend, died yesterday in Morocco. She was the supreme scholar/activist, a sociologist and gifted writer and someone determined to advance the cause of the disadvantaged, and especially women. Fatima was a courageous and creative fighter,...

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World AIDS Day Religious Challenges

(1) Comments | Posted December 1, 2015 | 7:14 AM

The AIDS pandemic challenges many religious beliefs about health (and vice versa). It has changed the ways many public health and development specialists see religious leaders and institutions and their health roles; the complex experience of religious institutions working on AIDS inspired the Lancet to devote an entire...

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Lean in With Grace: Catholic Women Lead

(0) Comments | Posted October 23, 2015 | 10:39 AM

There were questions about Pope Francis' visit to the US and about women's leadership styles, but what was most riveting were the answers to a very personal question: what encounter with someone in need has most affected you?

Last night Georgetown University's...

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Faith in the Girl Child

(2) Comments | Posted October 11, 2015 | 7:24 AM

Today is the International Day of the Girl Child. The United Nations General Assembly adopted this day in December 2011, declaring by formal Resolution 66/170 that 11 October is the International Day of the Girl Child. There's a dual theme: the rights of girls, and the unique challenges...

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Peace, Stability, and Faith for Kenya

(0) Comments | Posted October 5, 2015 | 6:53 PM

This piece was written by my friend and colleague, Mike Eldon, management consultant and author, about an event in Kenya on August 4 that I helped to organize. His basic message is that the challenges facing Kenya, and many other places, demand courageous and unified leadership,...

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A Kairos Moment: Faith Calls to Action

(0) Comments | Posted September 29, 2015 | 7:24 AM

Over this six-month period, world leaders will meet time and time again. They face daunting agendas and the stakes are high. Hopefully they see starkly what seems so obvious: that the complex challenges are closely related one to another (peace and poverty, environment and political will) and that bold action...

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Praying for Peace in Tirana, Albania

(1) Comments | Posted September 9, 2015 | 2:24 AM

Among countless interreligious gatherings worldwide, one has a special allure: the "pilgrimage of peace" organized by the Rome-based Community of Sant'Egidio. For 29 years, beginning with Pope John Paul II's meeting in Assisi, each year some 300 religious leaders meet alongside political leaders and scholars, and affirm their deep commitment...

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From Tirana: The Migrant Crisis

(0) Comments | Posted September 8, 2015 | 9:40 AM

Jurgen Johannesdotter, a German Lutheran bishop, told me proudly that an American journalist congratulated him on the entry of a third German word into the international vocabulary (alongside Kindergarten and blitzkrieg): willkommenskultur, a culture that welcomes.

At the annual gathering organized by the Rome-based Community of Sant'Egidio, this year...

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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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