January 5, 2023

EDC Names Liesbet Steer as President and CEO

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  • Dr. Liesbet Steer, Executive Director of the Education Commission, will join and lead EDC as its next president and CEO, effective March 2023.
  • Steer brings 20 years of experience in international development, education reform, and financing to EDC, having served with the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Asia Foundation, the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), and The Brookings Institution.
  • The appointment coincides with the upcoming retirement of President and CEO Dave Offensend, who has led EDC since 2015.

Waltham, MA | The Board of Trustees for Education Development Center (EDC), a global nonprofit advancing solutions at the intersection of education, health, and economic opportunity, announced today the selection of Liesbet Steer as its next president and CEO. She comes to EDC from the Education Commission, a global initiative encouraging greater progress on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal for inclusive and equitable quality education, and she brings more than 20 years of international development and finance experience to her EDC role. She will take office on March 1, 2023.

“On behalf of our Board of Trustees and EDC staff across the globe, I am thrilled to officially welcome Liesbet Steer as our next president and CEO,” said Ciara Burnham, Chair of EDC’s Board of Trustees. “Our comprehensive search yielded the best possible result: a proven leader and researcher with the right mindset and experience to build on EDC’s six decades of improving opportunities worldwide, especially for those who are most vulnerable.”

Over two decades, Steer has served in numerous development, education, and finance roles. As a fellow at The Brookings Institution, she authored a flagship report on education investment, which led to the creation of the Education Commission, chaired by former UK Prime Minister and UN Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown. As executive director of the Commission since 2015, she has led global work on multiple key education transformations, including learning models, the education workforce, service delivery, financing, and cross-sectoral action. Prior to this, she served in policy and research roles, including as director of the ODI flagship Development Progress program, which evaluated what works in development across the world. Earlier, Steer lived for a decade in East Asia working for the World Bank and IFC in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia and also as director of economics of the Asia Foundation in Indonesia.

“It is a huge privilege to join an organization of EDC’s legacy and potential,” said Steer. “With its world-class research and analysis, and extensive delivery on-the-ground, across the globe, EDC is uniquely positioned to advance systems-level change that is necessary to tackle the world’s most pressing challenges. As we approach the half-way point towards the world’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, it is more important than ever to innovate and turn ideas into action at scale. I look forward to joining EDC’s superb team of experts who are delivering on this agenda every day.”

In her role as president and CEO of EDC, Steer will lead a team of 1,400 professionals working on learning, health, and youth and workforce development, helping to drive the organization’s strategy, growth, diversification, and impact in the United States and around the globe.

“Globally, our future relies on creating equitable access to quality education, healthcare, and economic opportunity—precisely the objective of EDC,” added Gordon Brown, United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education and former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. “Through her work at the Education Commission, Liesbet has been a leading advocate for change at scale, and I am delighted she will be able to extend the Commission’s agenda through EDC and its network of partners.”

Steer’s appointment follows the retirement announcement for Dave Offensend, who has successfully led EDC for the past seven years, guiding the organization through the pandemic and increasing EDC’s growth and impact globally. Offensend joined EDC in 2015 as president and CEO following his role as the chief operating officer at the New York Public Library.

“There is no one better suited to take over as president and CEO,” added Offensend. “EDC’s next leader not only must possess deep expertise but also embody the values necessary to effectively champion our work. We found this leader in Liesbet and are grateful to have her join our team, knowing she holds dear the same mission and vision for a healthier and more equitable future which has defined EDC since its founding.”