Ahmed Hassoon is a public health consultant with more than seven years of experience serving vulnerable groups at different capacity for multiple sectors in Iraq. Ahmed earned a degree in General Medicine and Surgery from Baghdad School of Medicine in Iraq. He studied International Health & Development at Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in the United States, and is an internationally certified Project Manager (PMP) by the Project Management Institute. His certifications include: Disaster Planning, Global Development & Social Justice, International Development, Monitoring and Evaluation from Tulane University, Emory University, the United State Government, and USAID, respectively.
While working at the Iraqi Ministry of Health and several major international organizations, he helped during the conflict and post-conflict transition after the 2003 war by focusing on health services for war victims, internally displaced persons, returnees, women, and children. Ahmed currently works for International Relief and Development as a Health Consultant. He also worked as the Iraq Operations Manager for International Rescue Committee, Capacity Building Coordinator for the Iraqi Ministry of Health, IDP’s Clinic Manager for INTERSOS, and Foundation House Officer for the Iraqi Ministry of Health in several Iraqi Hospitals. Through his field work and education, Ahmed developed a wide experience in public health program design, proposal writing, project management, operations, coordination, business development, and grant management. Ahmed has been awarded the prestigious Hubert Humphrey Fellowship (2010) by the United States Department of State for his dedication to public service in Iraq. Ahmed is fluent in English and Arabic.
Describe the impact on foreign policy you have made in your current/past positions.
As an Iraqi physician/public health professional serving in the U.S. at International Relief and Development (Atlas Fellow), I share my firsthand experience from Iraq and its possible application in other states that suffer from conflict or post-conflict situations worldwide. In my service I take a personal risk in traveling to fragile places for assessing health situations, and taking risk and responsibility to represent a major global development partner and U.S. foreign assistance to those states. In our line of service we participate and recommend on how to design and sustain an effective foreign aid policy.
I am currently assisting in managing a child survival program in Cambodia, a health program in Yemen, assistance for Iraqi refugees programs in the Middle East, and designing several health programs in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Eastern Europe.
What personal contribution to foreign policy are you most proud of?
Generally throughout my career service I took risky decisions to join the effort of saving lives in my home country (Iraq) and other fragile states. I had my tragic and good experiences. I was shot and kidnapped; my office was bombed; and I received several threats for standing with the most vulnerable people and their right to survive. On the good side, saving one child’s life is worth all the risk.
On specific contributions, I have assisted in implementing several health programs in Iraq and globally; these programs were successfully adopted and transitioned to be standard services for the citizens of those states. The one that is still running, according to the most recent evaluation, will likely be adopted by the local government as a standard health services. For example, in Cambodia, the success of new innovative approaches to reduce child mortality will facilitate the transition those services to the public by the local government after the program ends. I am very proud of where we are now, and I can see a successful reduction in child mortality in the area of implementation. This represents a success for a foreign policy that has purely emerged purely from the actual need to save lives.
What is your vision of foreign policy in the 21st Century?
I hope for and envision a more generous expansion of harmonized, effective, need-based, and evidence-based foreign aid. Better policies that further enable communities and individuals to be active participants in implementing and shaping foreign aid are also needed.
What challenges need to be overcome to create better foreign policy? What leadership traits are needed for this?
It is a switch from focusing on national interest, primarily, to hoping to achieve a secondary global interest—to focus on global interest first in order to achieve one’s own national interest.
Cultural understanding and the listening part of communication safeguarded by moral responsibilities will be the most important leadership trait needed.
The views in all interviews published in the Top 99 Under 33 feature represent those of their respective owners and not of their place of employment or the U.S. government.