Aubrey McCutcheon is the Senior Resident Director for the National Democratic Institute (NDI) in Ethiopia. He is the former Chief of Party for the Protecting Human Rights (PHR) Program of Plan International in Bangladesh and most recently served as NDI’s Senior Resident Director in Nigeria and earlier in Liberia.
McCutcheon has had a diverse set of professional experiences over the past three decades in the U.S. and abroad. He has experience and expertise in the fields of international development, human rights, democratization and governance, philanthropy, legislative and congressional office management, access to justice and public interest law. His work has included senior management and program development roles, project evaluations, community organizing and advocacy, university teaching, legislative lobbying, and NGO management and capacity building.
Immediately after completing his first law degree, he served as a congressional staff director and as a legislative aide for two members of the U.S. Congress. He has also been a board member or staff member for several NGOs, including posts as Executive Director of the Washington Office on Africa and Director of Legislative and Political Affairs for Sane/Freeze, an arms control and disarmament organization.
Prior to his work with NDI and Plan International, McCutcheon served as the Deputy Executive Director and Director of Programs for Global Rights: Partners for Justice at its international headquarters in Washington, D.C. Before that he worked for many years with the Ford Foundation in South Africa, Namibia, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. In Southern Africa, during the transition toward the end of apartheid, he worked with governmental and non-governmental organizations and the academic community, designing grant programs to support human rights and social justice initiatives and the law reform and legal service sectors. In South Asia, his portfolio included dalits’ and women’s rights, with a focus on promoting economic and social rights and combating violence against women, among other human rights and development goals. On shorter assignments, McCutcheon has experience as a consultant in several other parts of the world working to support and evaluate civil society groups and other institutions.
A native of Detroit, Michigan, Aubrey earned a Master’s degree in Social Policy, Planning and Participation in Developing Countries from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). He also holds a Master’s in Law and Development from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London. He returned to school to pursue those two fields of study after many years of field experience. He had earlier earned a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University’s Law Center and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Yale University.