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Rinku Sen is the President and Executive Director of Race Forward: The Center for Racial Justice Innovation and the Publisher of the award-winning news site Colorlines. Race Forward brings systemic analysis and an innovative approach to complex race issues to help people take effective action toward racial equity through research, media, and practice.
Under Sen’s leadership, Race Forward has generated some of the most impactful racial justice successes. One example is the groundbreaking Shattered Families report, which changed the immigration debate with investigative research on how record deportations of parents were leading to the placement of thousands of children in foster care, often separating them permanently and legally from their families. Sen was the architect of Drop the I-Word, a campaign for media outlets to stop referring to immigrants as “illegal,” resulting in the Associated Press, USA Today, LA Times, and many more outlets dropping the i-word, affecting millions of readers every day.
A visionary and a pragmatist, Sen is one of the leading voices in the racial justice movement, building upon the legacy of civil rights by transforming the way we talk about race, from something that is individual, intentional, and overt to something that is systemic, unconscious, and hidden. Prior to her work at Race Forward, Rinku served in leadership roles for over a decade at the Center for Third World Organizing (CTWO), where she trained new organizers of color and crafted public policy campaigns. Sen’s cutting edge book Stir it Up, read widely by community organizers and taught on campuses across the country, theorized a model of community organizing that integrates a political analysis of race, gender, class, poverty, sexuality, and other issues.
Sen’s second book The Accidental American: Immigration and Citizenship in the Age of Globalization told the story of Moroccan immigrant Fekkak Mamdouh, who co-founded the Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York in the aftermath of September 11. Sen received a B.A. in Women's Studies from Brown University and an M.S. in Journalism at Columbia University. A native of India, Rinku grew up in northeastern factory towns, and learned to speak English in a two-room schoolhouse.
Executive Director and CEO of NAFSA: Association of International Educators
AIEA Association Breakfast Speaker
Esther Brimmer currently serves as the Executive Director and chief executive officer of NAFSA: Association of International Educators.
Dr. Brimmer’s distinguished career includes three appointments within the U.S. Department of State, serving most recently as the assistant secretary for International Organization Affairs from April 2009 to 2013.
Prior to joining NAFSA, Dr. Brimmer was professor of practice of international affairs at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs where she served a two-year term as the J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Professor. She was also an adjunct senior fellow for international institutions at the Council on Foreign Relations, and a senior advisor at McLarty Associates.
She was previously deputy director and director of research at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at the Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) from 2001-2009, and was a member of the SAIS faculty. She also taught at the College of Europe in Belgium, and from 1995-1999, she was a senior associate at the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict. Earlier, she served on Capitol Hill as a legislative analyst for the Democratic Study Group in the U.S. House of Representatives. Immediately after earning her doctorate from Oxford University, she spent two years as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company.