Sarah Costa, executive director of the Women's Refugee Commission, has more than 25 years of experience in the fields of women's rights, reproductive health, gender and youth development, as well as global philanthropy. Throughout her career, she has worked in partnership with those closest to the issues, from government officials to local women’s organizations.
Before joining the Women's Refugee Commission, Sarah was regional director of the Global Fund for Women, a grantmaking organization that supports women’s rights organizations working on economic security, health, education and leadership. She established the organization’s New York office and represented the organization in programmatic and fundraising activities on the East Coast.
From 1994 to 2006, she worked as a program officer for the Ford Foundation in Brazil and New York, developing and managing international and national programs on gender, sexuality and reproductive health, women’s rights, HIV/AIDS and health policy.
She was Professor of Women’s Health at the National School of Public Health, Brazil from 1980 to 1994, where she taught and conducted research on women's health policy and social development. Sarah was very active in the women's movement in Brazil, where she was a member of the Advisory Committee to the National Council on Women's Rights, served on the boards of several women's organizations and was a Technical Advisor on Women's Health to the State Government of Rio de Janeiro.
She is board president elect of the Association of Women’s Rights in Development. She serves on the advisory board of the National Centers on Sexuality at San Francisco State University and of the Earth Institute's Millennium Villages project.
Sarah was born and raised in England, where she earned a Master's Degree in Demography from London University and a Ph.D. in Social Medicine from Oxford University. She has published numerous papers and articles on women's health and reproductive rights in both English and Portuguese.