Lief Strategies


What I Do

I am an independent consultant to philanthropy, non-profits and media. My focus areas include civic engagement, collaborative approaches, philanthropy, citizen and community science, environment, environmental justice, data justice, participatory research, media and investigations. The work often centers on
communities that have been marginalized and underserved, and solutions-oriented strategies that can help them advance to accomplish their goals. My services include project work and publications.

I apply decades of experience as a reporter skilled in investigations to help organizations understand when, how and why successful change occurs in their field, and to identify and implement lessons their organization can use.

Some questions I ask: what methodologies worked, which didn’t, and why? How
did organizations address challenges that arose? How did they identify problems and make course corrections when necessary? As part of this work, I seek to identify exemplars who have successfully implemented approaches and achieved concrete results.

Often, systemic barriers block progress. When appropriate, I also address policy and systems changes that can remove obstacles, and what occurs when such roadblocks are removed.

My Background

As founding deputy director of the International Reporting Project (formerly the Pew International Journalism Program) at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies,  a former public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and former scholar-in-residence at American University’s School of Communication, I launched initiatives that delved into the changing information landscape and emerging digital tools, pioneered new interdisciplinary approaches, and published in leading publications including the Wilson Quarterly, Aspen Journal of Ideas and Columbia Journalism Review. Several of my articles were cited by the Aspen Institute’s “Five Best Ideas of the Day.”

I have designed and led numerous conferences, workshops, seminars, and high-level overseas fact-finding trips, and have served on several  institutional advisory panels to evaluate projects and proposals.

At the Wilson Center I founded the Science and the Media Project to enable scientific institutions and non-science media to engage more effectively. I designed successful pilot programs together with the American Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian Institution, two of the nation’s top scientific establishments.

Previously, for over three decades I specialized in  international reporting, first based in Cairo, then in Paris, and finally in Washington DC.  I was an award-winning writer and producer for top US news organizations including the New York Times, CBS News ’60 Minutes,’ and U.S. News and World Report. I have traveled to over 70 countries,  worked on five continents, and speak French, Arabic, Hebrew and Spanish.

My extensive international experience has helped me identify novel, alternative approaches to problem-solving, and the many ways  in which diverse outlooks contribute to identifying winning strategies.

I am a graduate of Yale University, and have a certificate in Arabic language studies from the American University in Cairo.

My Expertise

My focus areas include civic engagement and collaborative approaches, philanthropy, citizen and community science, environment, environmental justice, data justice, participatory research, media and investigations.

Want to discuss a project or publication?

Lief Strategies

Helping institutions and communities work together to solve problems, lead healthier, happier lives, and protect the planet.

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