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WRC Announces New VP of External Relations

The Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) today announced the appointment of Gayatri Patel as vice president of external relations. She will lead the organization’s advocacy efforts and oversee both advocacy and communications. Patel previously served as director of gender advocacy at CARE USA, where she led U.S. government advocacy on women’s economic empowerment, gender-based violence, gender in humanitarian emergencies, and child marriage and issues affecting adolescent girls. Additionally, she chaired various gender-focused advocacy coalitions to push for strong policies and resources to advance gender equality globally.

“We are thrilled to welcome Gayatri to the Women’s Refugee Commission at such a critical time for the organization,” said WRC Executive Director Sarah Costa. “She brings with her more than two decades of experience in advocating for women’s rights and gender equality – both of which are core tenets at WRC.”

In addition to serving in leading advocacy roles at CARE and other nongovernmental organizations, Patel spent nearly 10 years advising the U.S. State Department on a variety of human rights and humanitarian issues, including spearheading a multistakeholder strategy in the U.S. Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration to improve protection for migrants caught in countries in crisis. She also coauthored the annual U.S. Trafficking in Persons Report and managed the UN Human Rights Council and UN Universal Periodic Review portfolios.

“I have long admired the Women’s Refugee Commission and its work on behalf of displaced women, children, and youth,” said Patel. “I am honored and excited to step into this role, especially right now. As we have seen in just the first 100 days, the Biden administration has made positive steps in reversing the damage done over the past four years. From renewing U.S. commitment to gender equality and ending gender-based violence to advancing the sexual and reproductive health and rights of displaced women to reversing the Trump era attacks on families seeking safety at the U.S. border, the administration is headed in the right direction. However, there is much more to be done to advance the rights of refugee women, children, and youth and ensure resources to support their leadership and resilience in emergencies.”

In January, WRC released its 100 Days Priority Recommendations for the Biden administration, highlighting the need to restore U.S. leadership globally and advance the rights and respect the dignity of displaced people in search of protection and opportunity.

“As the U.S. re-engages with global partners and donor governments, it is paramount that displaced persons and those impacted by humanitarian crises are at the center of the Biden administration’s humanitarian policies and actions,” said Patel. “WRC looks forward to robust engagement with the administration to support displaced women and girls and to promote their resilience and leadership.”