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Katherine Marshall headshot

Katherine Marshall

Senior Fellow

Walsh School of Foreign Service, Executive Director of the World Faiths Development Dialogue

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September 19, 2023

Katherine Marshall on Faith in Action in a Fragmented World

As part of the World Economic Forum’s Sustainable Development Impact Meetings, Senior Fellow Katherine Marshall spoke on a September 19 panel about how religious leaders and communities can inspire change and mobilize action against a backdrop of humanitarian crises, socioeconomic pressures, and environmental risks.


Katherine Marshall, a senior fellow at Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, leads the center’s work on religion and global development. She is also a professor of the practice of development, conflict, and religion in the Walsh School of Foreign Service, teaching diverse courses on the ethics of development work and mentoring students at many levels. She helped to create and now serves as the executive director of the World Faiths Development Dialogue, an NGO that works to enhance bridges between different sectors and institutions. In September 2022, she was appointed as a member of the Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid at the U.S. Agency for International Development. Marshall has five decades of experience on a variety of development issues in Africa, Latin America, East Asia, and the Middle East, particularly those facing the world’s poorest countries. She was a World Bank officer from 1971 to 2006, and she led the World Bank’s faith and ethics initiative between 2000 and 2006.

Katherine Marshall has written, spoken, and published extensively, including for the Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSiS), on wide-ranging topics that include inclusive societies and human rights. Her most recent book, co-edited with Susan Hayward, is Women, Religion, and Peacebuilding: Illuminating the Unseen (United States Institute of Peace, 2015). Her book Global Institutions of Religion: Ancient Movers, Modern Shakers (Routledge, 2013) explores relationships between religious institutions and current world affairs. She also writes on many facets of international development, including The World Bank: from Reconstruction to Development to Equity (Routledge, 2008); Development and Faith: Where Mind, Heart and Soul Work Together, co-authored with Marisa Van Saanen (World Bank, 2007); and Mind, Heart and Soul in the Fight against Poverty, co-authored with Lucy Keough (World Bank, 2004).

As vice president of the G20 Interfaith Association, Katherine Marshall devotes much attention to supporting positive religious engagement on global agendas. She serves on the boards of several NGOs, on advisory groups, and on prize selection committees, including AVINA Americas, the International Shinto Foundation, and the International Anti-Corruption Conference. She spent several years as a core group member of the Council of 100, a World Economic Forum initiative to advance understanding between the Islamic world and the West. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a previous trustee of Princeton University. She has served as co-moderator of the Fes Forum, part of the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music, since its inception. Marshall holds a B.A. from Wellesley College, an MPA from Princeton’s School of Public and International Affairs, and an honorary doctorate from the University of Cambodia.

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