This spring, Open Society Institute-Baltimore Director Diana Morris will go on a four-month sabbatical as part of Open Society Foundations’ (OSF) sabbatical program. The program allows all full-time employees who have worked for the organization for at least five years to apply and be considered for a four-month leave of absence to pursue projects of professional and personal interest.
Morris, who has been with OSF as the director of OSI-Baltimore for more than 20 years, is one of 12 OSF employees whose sabbaticals were approved for the first half of 2019. She is also the director of OSF’s Open Places Initiative and has served as the acting director of U.S. Programs. Current and former OSI-Baltimore staff members Priscilla Newton, Monique Dixon, and Jane Sundius have participated in the program in the past.
Morris will split her sabbatical between two initiatives. In the United States, she will work with two OSI-Baltimore Community Fellows using urban agriculture to address food deserts in Baltimore. In Lesotho or Rwanda, she will work with Partners in Health, consulting with staff and government officials to develop comprehensive countrywide health plans and mentoring staff on advocacy, which will bolster the organization’s nascent efforts to create policy positions in each country.
“This is a wonderful opportunity to refresh and gain a wider perspective on our important work in Baltimore and Maryland,” Morris says. “It will give me a concrete sense of the many connections between the local and the global.”
Before coming to OSF, Morris was executive director of the Blaustein Philanthropic Group, a set of eight family foundations based in Baltimore which awards local, national, and international grants. Earlier in her career, Morris was a program officer at the Ford Foundation, first for refugee and migrant rights in the U.S. and globally, and then for human rights and social justice for Eastern and Southern Africa. She began her career as an attorney-adviser for human rights and refugee matters in the Office of the Legal Adviser at the Department of State.
As a result of Diana’s leadership, we have a visionary and professional staff and Advisory Board in place to carry on the work in her absence. We don’t plan to miss a beat.