Judith Diers, program officer in the Office of the Vice President for International Programs, is advancing Ford’s work in adolescent development and rights with the goal of transforming how the developmental science and youth-servicing systems are responsive to the lived experience of adolescents. Her work focuses on an assets-based approach to empowering the most excluded young people, both in the US and abroad, to reach their fullest potential, leading and advocating for their rights. Judy brings a critical gender lens throughout her work, supporting a critique of the power structures that keep girls from being seen, valued, and fully engaged in their communities.
Prior to joining Ford, Judy served as UNICEF’s chief of Adolescent Development and Participation, setting the global strategic direction for the organization’s adolescent-focused programs and policies. Before that, she held several positions at the Population Council, including deputy to the director of the Poverty, Gender, and Youth program, where she coordinated an innovative multicountry research project, Transitions to Adulthood, focused on interventions that respond to the diversity of adolescents’ lives, experiences, and challenges as they approach adulthood. Judy serves as a commissioner for the Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health and Wellbeing and as a member of the Institutional Review Board for the Population Council. She also serves as a reviewer for several journals and writes and speaks widely on adolescent development and participation.
Judy is a graduate of St. Olaf College in Minnesota and holds a master’s degree in theology and ethics from Union Theological Seminary in New York, as well as a master’s and doctorate in public policy and demography from Princeton University.