Michael J. Delaney has directed humanitarian aid responses to some of the world’s worst conflicts and natural disasters, helping millions of people when they needed it most.
Beginning Jan. 25, he will use that experience to bolster Perkins International’s efforts to ensure that every child who is blind around the world has access to a quality education.
As the new executive director of Perkins International, Delaney will oversee the growth of Perkins School for the Blind’s international division as it works with global partners to improve educational opportunities for an estimated 46 million children and young adults with visual impairment.
Delaney comes to Perkins International from Oxfam America, where he served for more than 15 years as the agency’s Humanitarian Division director.
In all, Delaney has more than three decades of experience in the international development and relief fields – including during recent major humanitarian responses in the Philippines, Syria, Haiti and Sudan.
“Mike brings a wealth of experience and has already begun enriching our international programs with his perspective,” said Perkins President and CEO Dave Power. “Perkins International has embarked on an ambitious growth strategy to scale up our services and employ new strategies to bring the life-changing power of education to more children and young adults with visual impairment. We know Mike Delaney will help us achieve that goal.”
At Oxfam America, known globally for combating poverty, famine and injustice, Delaney established the Humanitarian Division, growing it to one-third of the organization’s program operations and budget.
“I was the first person at Oxfam America to work specifically in the humanitarian area,” he said. “I helped grow that operation and that’s something I also hope to do at Perkins. Perkins International is already working around the world. My hope is to start from that strong foundation and expand our mission even further.”
Delaney is also the founder of Crescendo International. Launched in 2015, the initiative seeks to increase the participation and overall impact of local aid organizations in large-scale humanitarian efforts. The project has received financial support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Delaney began his career in the early 1980s working as a relief and development worker in Mexico and Central America. He first joined Oxfam America in 1990.
Delaney earned a master’s degree in economics from the State University of New York in Buffalo, New York, and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Niagara University.
He is a faculty member and academic advisor at Brandeis University, where he developed and leads a master’s level course on humanitarian response and development at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management.
Delaney previously served as a visiting professor at Boston College, and as a visiting expert lecturer at the Advanced Training Program on Humanitarian Action in Harnosand, Sweden.