World Education Services Appoints Esther Benjamin as CEO

NEW YORK, April 22, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Esther Benjamin will join World Education Services (WES) as Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director on June 17th.

Benjamin comes to WES after a long career overseeing international organizations in the public, private, and civil society sectors, with a focus on global development and social impact. She will replace longtime WES Executive Director and CEO, Mariam Assefa, who announced her retirement in August 2018.

“Esther’s impressive tri-sector career, her personal history, and, most importantly, her professional values make it clear that she is well positioned to lead WES toward even greater impact,” said Hans de Wit, Chair of the WES Board of Trustees, and Director of the Center for International Higher Education at Boston College. “Esther is the ideal candidate to write the next chapter for WES. The Board looks forward to supporting her and WES senior leaders as they continue to develop innovative new programs and tools, and to empower international students and skilled immigrants.”

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to build on Mariam’s extraordinary leadership in building WES to become the leading credential evaluation service in North America. Mariam leaves a remarkable legacy of helping more than 2 million internationally educated individuals advance their academic and professional goals,” said Benjamin. “The WES mission – advocating for the recognition of international educational qualifications and enabling individuals to fully utilize their education – resonates deeply with my own experience as an immigrant. Doing this work is the opportunity of a lifetime.”

Benjamin joins WES at a pivotal moment. In 2018, the organization, long the leading credential evaluation provider in the U.S. and Canada, launched several products designed to help individuals more easily obtain and share evidence of their international qualifications with employers, academic institutions, and licensing bodies. In 2018, WES also intensified its ongoing efforts to eradicate systemic barriers that often confront internationally educated individuals once they arrive in the U.S. or Canada.

“I’m confident that under Esther’s leadership, WES will continue to grow and expand its services to our clients here and around the globe,” said Assefa. “I congratulate Esther on her appointment, and I am confident that WES will build on its firm commitment to the successful integration of skilled immigrants and international students.”

Originally from Sri Lanka, Benjamin immigrated to the U.S. with her family when her father came to the U.S. to pursue his master’s and doctorate degrees. Most recently, Benjamin worked with Laureate Education, Inc., as CEO for Africa Operations, and as CEO of Monash South Africa, Laureate’s first university in Sub-Saharan Africa, with nearly 4,000 students from throughout Africa. She was then Laureate’s Senior Vice President for Global Public Affairs, overseeing initiatives linked to the company’s status as a Public Benefit Corporation and certified B Corp.

Her career includes service in two U.S. Presidential Administrations – as the Associate Director for Global Operations of the U.S. Peace Corps, and previously as a White House Fellow. She was a member of the senior leadership of the International Youth Foundation and the International Partnership for Microbicides. Her private sector experience includes management consulting with Grant Thornton. Early in her career, she worked with the World Bank History Project, and served with the United Nations as a Humanitarian Affairs Officer.

Benjamin holds advanced degrees in applied economics and international affairs from American University, where she serves on the Board of Advisors for the School of International Service. She is a graduate of North Central College, where she serves on its Board of Trustees. She is a member of the Board of Directors of Echoing Green, the leading global organization supporting social entrepreneurs, as well as Seed Global Health, which educates health professionals and health educators to strengthen health systems.

About WES

WES is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping international students and professionals achieve their educational and professional goals in the United States and Canada. Founded in 1974, WES evaluates and advocates for the recognition of international education qualifications. For 45 years, WES has set the standard of excellence in the field of international mobility with credential evaluations, research and services, and ongoing support for international students and skilled immigrants. WES has provided credential evaluations to almost two million people worldwide. WES evaluations are widely recognized by more than 2,500 educational, business, and governmental institutions throughout the U.S. and Canada.


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