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Mary Ellsberg, vice president for research and programs at the International Center for Research on Women, will lead GW's Global Women's Institute in the fall. Photo courtesy of the Office of Media Relations

An expert in research on gender and sexual health will head GW’s Global Women’s Institute, the University announced Thursday.

After a yearlong search, Mary Ellsberg was tapped to lead the University’s first institute on gender issues when it launches this fall. She will come to GW Aug. 1 after serving as vice president for research and programs at the nonprofit International Center for Research on Women.

“GW has such an impressive track record of research, education and policy engagement, as well as distinguished and deeply committed faculty to global women’s issues,” Ellsberg said in a release. “I am honored to have the opportunity to contribute to shaping the agenda of the new Global Women’s Institute.”

Through research and teaching on women’s health, education, rights and security, the institute will look to push gender equality as a top University research initiative.

University President Steven Knapp sparked the creation of the center after seeing women’s rights oppression during a trip to Saudi Arabia in 2009.

A University-wide task force brought together various women’s rights efforts to create the institute. Barbara Miller, associate dean for faculty affairs in the Elliott School of International Affairs, led the search committee for the new institute’s leader with the help of professional search firm Isaacson, Miller.

Administrators picked Ellsberg to lead the center for her research clout, Provost Steven Lerman said in a release. Ellsberg oversees the International Center for Research on Women portfolio on economic development, gender, violence and rights, gender and HIV and gender, stigma and discrimination.

“Mary has demonstrated how research can be employed to advance women’s rights and well-being, and I am confident that she will ensure that the work of our students and scholars has an impact in ensuring equality,” Lerman said.

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