Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Peter Laugharn

Peter Laugharn is the Executive Director of the Santa Cruz-based Firelight Foundation, which supports about 150 community-based organizations in Africa, all helping children and families affected by AIDS and poverty.

Previously, he was the Executive Director (2002-08) and Program Director (1999-2002) of the Bernard van Leer Foundation (BvLF) in the Netherlands, focused on enhancing opportunities for young children growing up in social and economic disadvantage in twenty countries worldwide.

Prior to joining BvLF, Peter worked for eleven years for Save The Children USA.  He then spent eight years with Save the Children based in Mali, serving initially as deputy director, then director of the field office, where he helped to develop the successful "Village Schools" model, which helped increase the number of primary schools in Malii by 20%, with an emphasis on girls’ schooling and community participation. He moved on to become West Africa area director for Save the Children, then education advisor for Africa, providing technical assistance and guidance for Save The Children's education programs in Burkina Faso, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Malawi, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique and Rwanda.

A graduate of Stanford and Georgetown Universities, he holds a Ph.D. in education from the University of London. He is the chair of the Coalition on Children Affected by AIDS, and serves on the board of the Haas Center for Public Service at Stanford, and on the global philanthropy committee of the US Council on Foundations.