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Sophie Rutenbar

Sophie Rutenbar is a Visiting Scholar at New York University’s Center on International Cooperation (CIC) and a Foreign Policy Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution. She brings conflict prevention and peacebuilding expertise to both roles, supported by a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellowship.

Her current focus lies on understanding Haiti’s intricate socio-political landscape, exploring the interplay between economic and political elites shaping the nation’s trajectory. Her deep understanding of how these dynamics affect the wielding of political power and contribute to political stalemate is informed by more than three years living in Port-au-Prince. Working with the United Nations (UN) Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH), she served as the strategic planner for the office of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General. In her research, she delves into the nuanced fabric of Haitian society, including the often-misunderstood influence of gangs as pivotal in the country’s political and economic realms.

Her tenure at the UN includes contributing to the Policy Planning Team of the UN Department of Peace Operations (DPO), 2017-19, where she worked extensively on UN peacekeeping and peace and security reform processes. She also distinguished herself as the inaugural US-sponsored associate expert/junior professional officer within the UN Secretariat from 2013 to 2015, working with the policy planning team for the Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support.

Before the UN, Sophie’s career took her to Sudan and South Sudan, including observing the 2011 referendum process on independence for South Sudan with the Carter Center and working for USAID’s Sudan and South Sudan Transition and Conflict Mitigation Program. She also has experience in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, and Thailand, where she honed her ability to drive positive change amidst challenging environments. 

A recipient of the Marshall Scholarship, Sophie received master’s degrees in Conflict, Security, and Development from King’s College London and Human Rights from the London School of Economics (LSE). She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Texas at Dallas, where she studied global politics as a Eugene McDermott Scholar and was selected as the university’s first-ever Truman Scholar. 

Her commitment to leadership and security issues is demonstrated by her current service as a Security Fellow with the Truman National Security Project, where she continues to leverage her expertise to advocate for effective US foreign policy and promote peace.

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