NEWS RELEASE: January 1, 2018

The board of directors of the Robertson Foundation for Government (RFFG) has announced that Cynthia R. Robinson, a public service fellowship and nonprofit leader with more than 20 years of experience, became the new president of the foundation on December 4, 2017.

“Following a national search, we are excited to welcome Cynthia to this new role. We were seeking a leader with strong knowledge of U.S. Government employment training, public service fellowship programs and graduate education, nonprofit management and family foundation operations. In Cynthia we have found that, and she also brings broad networks to support our activities and partnerships, a clear commitment to the RFFG mission, and demonstrated experience evolving organizational capacity to greater scope, scale, and impact,” said Geoffrey Robertson, RFFG board chairman. “We look forward to working with Cynthia to evolve the foundation as we continue to invest in public service leadership development for government service.”

Robinson joins RFFG following 13 years at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), where she directed the Science & Technology Policy Fellowships (STPF). She led significant expansion of the program, which placed more than 1,500 predominantly early career fellows in the executive, judicial and legislative branches of the federal government over her time at STPF. Robinson brings more than two decades of senior management experience with fellowship programs. Prior to AAAS, she directed the Leopold Leadership Program, and the Pew Fellows Program in Marine Conservation.

She also has served as a trustee and board chair of the Robert & Patricia Switzer Foundation, a family foundation that provides environmental leadership scholarships and grants. She has held numerous other leadership roles, including as an overseer and trustee of the Sea Education Association, and as chair of the Public Leadership Group of the International Leadership Association.

“I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to lead RFFG to fulfill its mission to educate, develop and motivate emerging leaders to engage in the vital work of our government and to support positive foreign relations,” Robinson said. “More than ever, the nation needs citizens with a passion to engage in public service, and skills to build bridges globally.”

Robinson received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University, and a master’s degree in urban and environmental policy from Tufts University. Her commitment to international relations started when she was a high school exchange student to Turkey. She has served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand and in The Gambia, and she was a recipient of a United Nations Environment Program Environmental Management Fellowship. Robinson currently contributes as an advisor to the Canadian Science and Policy Fellowships, and she is a member of the steering committee of ESEP – Engaging Scientists and Engineers in Policy – focusing on efforts to advance evidence-informed policymaking. She recently co-authored Connecting Scientists to Policy Around the World, a report on a global landscape analysis of immersive training and public service engagement mechanisms connecting science and policy.

RFFG also announces new members of the board of directors and the new officer roster. Geoffrey Robertson has transitioned from treasurer to chairman of the board. Andrew McKibben has joined the board and has been appointed treasurer. Julia Robertson continues as secretary. April Meier has joined the board, and David Ernst and Charles Meier continue as board members.

The Robertson Foundation for Government, headquartered in Washington, DC, is a nonprofit family foundation supporting education and training for master’s level graduate students to pursue careers in government with a focus on international relations, foreign affairs and national security.


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