Shanna Tova O’Reilly has more than 15 years of experience in stabilization and citizen security, working with the U.S. Agency for International Development, Department of Defense, and other donors in fragile states in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Prior to joining DAI, she led two complex justice reform efforts—the first strengthened police and citizen relations through community policing in Bangladesh, and the second enhanced crime prevention by justice officials working with at-risk Caribbean youth. However, her true passion for development began while living with and learning from indigenous communities in the rural villages of Mexico’s sparsely governed northern border. Many of the projects she launched at the time laid a foundation for strengthening citizen engagement in an environment of increasing violence, resulting from the escalating drug war and trafficking taking place across the region.
Shanna’s current efforts focuses on new business and the technical oversight of DAI’s work on countering violent extremism, violence prevention through a public health lens, the rule of law, and police and justice reform. She grounds her passion for bridging the gap between communities and much-needed services by incorporating holistic, evidence-based approaches to address safety and empower citizens.
Shanna is fluent in Spanish, and has limited French skills as well. In her free time, she loves to read and write, and has become active in supporting asylum seekers with assistance in the Washington, D.C., area.
M.A., international development and economics, Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies
B.S., natural resource management, Ohio State University