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The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy is pleased to announce Sophia Murphy as IATP’s new executive director. Sophia is a leader on global food security, international trade and corporate concentration, focused on the importance of food systems that support rural communities and the environment.

An internationally recognized policy expert and advocate focused on resilient food systems, agriculture and international trade with 30 years of experience, Sophia has served as board chair, program and research director and policy analyst. A published writer, she has worked within national and international civil society organizations and with government, intergovernmental organizations and universities. Most recently, she served as a specialist on agriculture, trade and investment in the Economic Law and Policy Program at the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD).

Sophia previously worked at IATP, starting in 1997 as a policy officer working on trade, then directing the trade program from 2000 to 2006 and acting as senior advisor until 2018. Sophia possesses a deep-seated knowledge of IATP’s history, mission and vision for the future. As our world faces multiple crises simultaneously — crises resulting from systemic failures and requiring policy solutions — Sophia will lead IATP’s efforts to bring about policy reforms that repair our broken systems and are good for people and our planet.

Sophia holds a BA in politics, philosophy and economics from Oxford University, a MSc from the London School of Economics, University of London and will defend her PhD thesis from the University of British Columbia’s Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability in 2021.

The IATP board members express unanimous enthusiasm at the addition of Sophia to the IATP staff: 

IATP Board Chair Pamela Saunders: “I can’t imagine a better choice to lead IATP in the coming years. Sophia Murphy has a long and deep history with IATP, and she will hit the ground running to continue and amplify our important work on trade, agriculture and climate justice. Her work and IATP’s have been intertwined for decades, and we are thrilled Sophia will lead us in this next chapter."  

IATP Board Secretary Becky Glass: “We are extremely pleased that Sophia Murphy is joining IATP as our new executive director. She has done pathbreaking work alongside IATP for more than two decades, and is widely respected both in the U.S. and internationally for her accomplishments in the arenas of food, agriculture, climate, international trade and finance, and global governance. I can imagine no one better prepared to lead IATP through this era of transition as we face the systemic challenges ahead.” 

Pat Mooney: “IATP has never suffered from a shortage of brainpower and analytical prowess but I’ve known Sophia Murphy for many years, and she brings us an intellectual gravitas and strategic competence the food movement has never needed more.” 

Nick Levendofsky: “Sophia Murphy will be a phenomenal addition to the Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy (IATP) team. Her past work and experience with IATP, plus the work she has done in the years since speak volumes, and she is well-suited to take on this new role. This is a crucial time for any non-profit, but especially IATP and the important work being done by staff, so having someone who is familiar with the organization, its goals, purpose, mission, and vision are extremely important as we venture into the challenging issues global agriculture and trade face in both normal and not-so-normal times.” 

Daniel De La Torre Ugarte: “Sophia´s track record on knowledge-based advocacy is great asset to lead IATP in these challenging times.” 

Brian Ahlberg: “As the global food system is simultaneously and increasingly characterized by tremendous opportunity and peril, Sophia Murphy’s skills are just what’s needed at this crucial activist think tank. From production and processing to distribution and consumption, rules of trade shape important outcomes when it comes to food security vs. insecurity, the climate crisis, and the health of rural communities, not to mention fair treatment of farmers, food workers and consumers. Sophia’s experience and relationships will help IATP navigate complicated national and international issues while keeping democratic accountability and majority needs at the forefront of public discourse about food."

Hans Martin Lorenzen: "Have you ever heard of something like "Qualified Market Access" or "Eco-Fair trade standards" — applied to protect countries against unfair trade practices, which undermine ecological and social policies? That's something Sophia and I discussed in an exciting international team, 15 years ago at the "ECO-FAIR Trade dialogue". Guess what: "Qualified Market Access" and anti-dumping measures in international trade are still — or again — a hot topic, and dialogue on fair trade is more urgent than ever. Sophia joins IATP at the right moment.”

Learn more about Sophia in her introductory video:

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