Name: Laura Dillon
Organisation: Communications Expert
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With more than 15 years experience in strategic communications and advocacy, my work has focused on policy reform, human rights, sustainable economic development, poverty, gender equity, women’s empowerment, HIV/AIDS, population growth, biodiversity, environmental protection, climate change, and illegal drug-use. At Abt Associates, I serve as Communications Manager for the International Economic Growth Division, supervising the communications work of 15 projects in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America. I am skilled at raising the profile of an organization and securing donor and client support. I develop communication strategies for projects taking into account a country’s cultural, political and environmental situation as well as its outreach capacity. Through field visits and in-depth interviews with project beneficiaries, I identify barriers to change and measures for success. At the United Nations in Vietnam, I crafted UNDP’s communication strategy, helping to define to the media, donors and public at large the UN’s success in reducing poverty in a politically-sensitive and fast-changing economic environment. During my tenure at the UN, I designed a multi-media campaign that brought worldwide attention to the UN’s support of an herbal alternative to overcoming heroine addiction. In 1997, my work was praised by UNDP Administrator James Speth. I’ve led journalist trips that have resulted in coverage by BBC TV, Time Magazine, the Financial Times, Reuters, and many others. I served on the US Network for Cairo for the UN International Conference on Population and Development to solidify messages from the NGO community and helped influence the policy agenda. My writing and reporting for magazines has helped to educate U.S. lawmakers on critical environmental issues, such as the Endangered Species Act and the opening of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. Prior to my advocacy work, I was a journalist for newspapers and magazines. I have lived in Vietnam and Laos and have experience in more than 30 countries.