President & CEO
Salih Booker has over thirty years of experience in international affairs and US foreign policy, including leadership of several U.S. and international research and advocacy organizations.
Booker became President of the Center for International Policy on September 1, 2017. From 2015-2017, he served as the vice president of external relations at the United States Institute of Peace, and before that as an advisor to the executive secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Booker directed the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions in Geneva, Switzerland, and was executive director at Global Rights and Africa Action, both in Washington, D.C. He was also a Senior Fellow and Director of Africa Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and served twice in the U.S. Congress as professional staff for the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Earlier Booker was a program officer for the Ford Foundation in Eastern and Southern Africa, an Associate Director for Catholic Relief Services in Southern Africa and a legislative assistant at TransAfrica. He has also consulted for a range of institutions including the United Nations Development Program, The Carnegie Corporation, the Asia Society, and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
He has spent half of his career abroad and lived in Ghana, Kenya, France, Colombia, Zimbabwe, Cuba, Switzerland, Peru and Ethiopia and has traveled for work to over 50 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America. Mr. Booker was educated at the London School of Economics and Political Science, the University of Ghana and Wesleyan University.
December 17, 2020
Priorities for Progress 2021: Foreign Policy
Co-lead by Salih Booker
In the face of a global pandemic, global calls for racial justice, and the existential threat that is climate change, we have a once in a generation opportunity to reimagine a foreign policy based on universal human rights, mutual respect, acceptance of differences, and the common good. A progressive foreign policy would prioritize cooperation over competition, dignity over dehumanization, equity and equality over white supremacy and patriarchy, and solidarity over exploitation. While reversing disastrous Trump policies is a vital first step, we must go further to democratize and demilitarize U.S. foreign policy to meet the most serious challenges of the 21st century. We call upon the Congress and the next administration to:
End the endless wars and reliance on military interventionism to solve conflict; End the misallocation of national resources to the Pentagon and massively downsize the U.S. global infrastructure of violence; and Invest in diplomacy, multilateralism, development, peacebuilding, and the enforcement of international law to address the greatest challenges that face the United States and all of humanity.
December 31, 2020
U.S. begins withdrawing troops from Somalia, but regional hurdles remain
Salih Booker Interviewed
"The military victory is out of the reach of the federal government. It's out of the reach of the U.S. government. But it's also unlikely that Al-Shabaab can achieve a decisive military victory. And, therefore, it's time to change the strategic goal to one of political reconciliation and peace negotiations."
September 28, 2020
On International Safe Abortion Day: Why We Must Dismantle Laws and Policies That Deny People Access to Essential Abortion Services
Salih Booker quoted
“The Helms amendment combines the racism and sex-based discrimination that is inherent in United States policy and inflicts the combined harm of both on women of color around the world that are reliant on health services funded by the US through limiting women's access to full reproductive healthcare. The goal of the Helms amendment, much like that of the Hyde amendment, is to advance an agenda that limits personal freedom and control of one's health — especially the freedom and health of women of color. Every woman, regardless of color and country, has the right to freedom of choice and to safe healthcare. Any attempt to undermine that freedom is nothing other than a cruel, racist, and sexist act seeking to continue global domination by a white, Western patriarchy.”
October 19, 2020
Race and Foreign Policy – Militarized Foreign Policy
Salih Booker on the panel
As our country undertakes a sustained national conversation about police brutality against Black Americans, we must also explore the way in which the U.S. perceives and responds to challenges emanating from communities of color abroad. This discussion, hosted by Foreign Policy for America, Colombe Foundation, and Women of Color Advancing Peace, Security, and Conflict Transformation (WCAPS), will convene a panel of distinguished leaders to discuss the patterns and consequences of systemic racism in American foreign policy.
September 15, 2020
Virtual Palestine Advocacy Days - Day 2
Salih Booker on the panel
As part of American Muslims for Palestine's first-ever Virtual Palestine Advocacy Days, six members of congress spoke to our audience: Reps. Betty McCollum, Rashida Tlaib, Donald Payne, Jr., Debbie Dingell, Judy Chu, and André Carson; along with an amazing lineup of speakers, including Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, Ahmed Shihab-Eldin, Rasha Mubarak, Salih Booker, Josh Ruebner, and our very own Dr. Osama Abuirshaid and Dr. Hatem Bazian.