Rima Kawas is the Director of Governance and Collaborative learning at IRI, overseeing the development and coordination of the global democratic governance programs designed to strengthen the ability of governments to implement transparent and accountable governing practices, while promoting citizen engagement in policy development and government oversight.

Prior to her work with IRI, Rima worked in the private sector at Target Corporation, a Fortune 35 company, as a Government Affairs Manager. In that role, she advised company leaders on key policy priorities such as sustainability, product, public safety, and food public policy.

In addition to her private sector experience, Rima has extensive government experience working both at the state and local level of government including as the Director of Legislative Affairs and Strategic Planning for the Minnesota Department of Public Safety and as a Senior Policy Advisor to former Governor Tim Pawlenty.

Rima has a master’s of public affairs from the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs and was named a Swain Fellow; the scholarship was granted to three students who exemplified leadership. In 2009-2010, she was a Humphrey School Policy Fellow, granted to emerging leaders and focused on building leadership skills in public affairs.

Rima is passionate about civic engagement both in her local and global community and serves on the American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL) Board of Trustees. She has participated in 3 ACYPL American delegations, traveling to Algeria, Jordan and Peru. In addition she served as the American mentor to the 2015 YSEALI Professional Fellows from Burma and as state host for visiting international delegations from Japan, Peru and the Middle East and North Africa. In addition, she was an active volunteer with Habitat for Humanity Global Village, volunteering in Cambodia and Chile and as a group leader to Bangladesh.